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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:

chelisb, v.r.s.(food, liquid, dirt, etc.) having been scooped or spooned out.
chelisb a mla mechisb; nglai er a ongisb, chisbii, chuisb a kall, chesbel.
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cherrechar, v.r.s.(liquid, etc.) stirred up or agitated.
cherrechar a mla mecherechar; churecherur, chorechar a ralm, diak el mechellings; cherecherul.
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derreder, v.r.s.headed; ruled; governed.
derreder a ulekrael; cheldereder, mla medereder; mechedereder, mosisechakl, derreder me te meduch a urreor.
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ilild, v.r.s.(fruit, tapioca, taro, etc.) peeled.
ilild a nglai a budel; mla meild, ildii a diokang, imild a diokang, ildel.
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rrodel, v.r.s.(child) adopted; (pot) lifted from fire.
rrodel a mlengai el mo ngelekel a ngodech; mla merodel; rirdelii, rrodel el ngalek.
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telboech, v.r.s.touched or cooked lightly.
telboech a mla metboech; tibechii a sechelil; melboech er ngii.
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uleong, v.r.s.jumped or vaulted over.
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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:

chemuul, v.a.s.about to be broken in two.
chemuul a kirel el mecham; kerrekar a chemuul; chomur, chuam a sengsongd, chemul.
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kesadel, v.a.s.is to be decreased or reduced.
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ksomel, v.a.s.is to be chopped with clam-shell ax.
ksomel a kirel el mekisem; mecheduib, mengisem er ngii; ksemel.
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otekuul, v.a.s.is to be held in lap; (house) is to be supported (by foundation; etc.).
otekuul a kirel el motekau; oltekau, ngalek a otekuul; otekul a ngalek.
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oterechall, v.a.s.is to be made to slip.
oterechall a rullii el mo ketiterachel; kirel el motorech; diak el oterechall a rael; otorech, oterechel.
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rsachel, v.a.s.(food, betel nut, medicine) is to be pounded; is to be punched.
rsachel a kirel el merusech; kukau a rsachel; remusech a belsiich.
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techetechall, v.a.s.is to be pounded.
techetechall a kirel el metechotech; melechotech er a chemang; omeu er ngii.
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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
bausmell; odor; scent.bekebau(cooked meat or fish, cooking pot, etc.) foul-smelling.
chedechuulknack/magical power for doing things; blueprint; plan (for house, bai, etc).chedechuulknack/magical power for doing things; blueprint; plan (for house, bai, etc).
iluodelstones, coconut shells, or similar objects used as support for cooking pot during serving.iluodel(people) sitting, standing or arranged in a circle; (stone platform) built circular.
cherollbirth; birthday.ulemcheroll(woman) having already borne children.
telengtungdwild tamarind; lead tree.telengtungdwoven with small weave.
chullrain; rainy season.chullrainy.
hambunghalf.hambunghalf.

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
bekesbesebek a renguleasily worried; worrisome.
meses a rengulindustrious; diligent.
mesubed a rengulaccept; be resigned to; learn a lesson; learn from experience.
melemedem er a rengulcool down one's anger.
obais a rengulget fed up with; become unable to cope with.
kikiongel a rengul(person is) obstinate/uncooperative; sullen.
melai er a rengulpersuade.

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