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Palauan Adjectives

The following is a brief discussion about Palauan adjectives. For a longer exploration, please refer to discussions of state verbs in the Joseph Handbooks. According to the official Lewis Joseph grammar book of Palauan, there are no Palauan parts of speech called adjectives. However, Palauan does, of course, have words used to describe other words. In English, we call these words adjectives. Examples of English adjectives are dangerous, beautiful, and hot.

Palauan Resulting State Verbs

In Palauan, words corresponding to English adjectives are called state verbs. There are several types of Palauan state verbs. The most common are resulting state verbs which occur as a result of a verb. Some examples:

Here is a list of seven random Palauan verbs and their resulting state verbs:

bluit, v.r.s.(sugar cane) cut.
bluit a bliatel, mla obuit; mitii, muit, deb a nglai, bitel a deb.
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cheleseb, v.r.s.(taro tubers) cut.
cheleseb a mla mecheseb, chosebii, cheleseb el dait a ileakl er a kukau, mla medebes.
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chellungel, v.r.s.carried (off) on the shoulders; carrying someone or something on the shoulders.
chellungel a chelol; mla mechol; mengol a beras; chellungel a idungel, chelngel.
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delasech, v.r.s.carved; built.
delasech a mla medasech; blai a delsachel, melasech, dosechii, dmasech, desechel.
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ngliik, v.r.s.(excrement) removed.
ngliik a mla mengiik; nglai a dach er ngii, ngikel a dach.
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ulekdelid, v.r.s.inherited.
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ulengkongk, v.r.s.pushed down; made to fall; torn down.
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Palauan Anticipating State Verbs

Anticipating state verbs in Palauan are like resulting state verbs. However, instead of describing the state of something after a verb has modified it, these describe the state of something before a verb is anticipated to modify it. Here's seven random Anticipating State Verbs:

besengall, v.a.s.is to be tied into bundle; is to be pulled vigorously or grabbed.
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chioll, v.a.s.is to be waited for.
chioll a kirel el mechiil; merreder a chioll er a cheldecheduch, choielii., olsingch er ngii.
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dekull, v.a.s.is to be buried.
dekull a kirel el medakl; doklii, dmakl, ulekoad a dekull, melakl er ngii er a chutem; deklel.
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ongbesall, v.a.s.is to be tempted, teased or seduced.
ongbesall a kirel el mongibes; rebis a ongbesall er a klebokel el ngloik, mo sorir; nguibes er a ungil el dil, ongbesel.
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rebekall, v.a.s.is to be groped at.
rebekall a kirel el merebek; ochab er a chemang a rebekall; robekii el oba orebek; ruebek, rebekel.
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redall, v.a.s.(child) is to be adopted; (pot) is to be lifted from fire.
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sedelall, v.a.s.is to be torn or dismembered.
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State Verbs with Related Nouns

In English, a common thing to do is to ask 'how XXXX is something,' where XXXX is an adjective. For example, 'how hot is that,' or 'how dangerous is that,' are common English expressions.

This is true in Palauan as well in a form like, 'ng uangarang a kleldelel,' which translates literally perhaps to something like, 'it is like what, its heat,' or figuratively as, 'how hot is it.' The word kleldelel is a possessed noun meaning 'its heat.' See the nouns page for a longer explanation of possessed nouns.

Many of these Palauan nouns have related state verbs which translate to, and are used as, English adjectives. Here is a list of seven random Palauan nouns along with their corresponding state verbs.

Palauan_NounEngish_NounPalauan_AdjEnglish_Adj
klukuktomorrow; the next or following day.klukuktomorrow; the next or following day.
bukcorner; angle; joint; node.bkebkuulhaving many nodes; rough-edged; (shin of leg) have bumpy surface.
chelechedsmall sea crab.chelechedhusked.
kelebusjail, prison.kelebusjail, prison.
chetaubrief rain squall.chetau (skin) dark.
katuucat.bekekatuusmell of a cat.
rekungland crab.bekerekungsmell of crabs (after cooking or eating crabs, etc.).

Reng Idioms as Adjectives

There are many Palauan expressions which use a state verb to describe the Palauan word reng which means spirit or heart. These are idioms which mean their literal and figurative meanings are not the same. Typically, but not always, the figurative meaning describes an emotion. An example is kesib a reng, which literally means a sweaty heart but figuratively it means to be angry. Here is a list of seven random examples of these reng idioms:

PalauanEnglish
ungil a rengulhappy; glad; kind.
bebeot a rengulrather undecided about something; not taking something too seriously.
durengulintention.
dmolech a rengulwise; prudent; careful in planning ahead.
berngel a rengulanything discouraging to one's spirit.
omsa a llechul a rengulteach (someone) a lesson.
melaok a renguladulterous; acquisitive.

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