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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:

blor, v.r.s.(hands, chest) laid or put on or against something.
blor a mla obor; bereked, ngalek a omor er a ulul er a ulaol.
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cheluum, v.r.s.wrapped in leaves or betel nut fiber and baked.
cheluum a cheluomel el ngikel.
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cherroakl, v.r.s.(ankle) twisted or sprained.
cherroakl a mla mocheroakl; ulechoid a ulengeruaol er a ochil, ulecheroakl.
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klikai, v.r.s.(distance or course) swum.
klikai a mla mekikai; klikai a meteu el toachel; koikai, kikiul a cheroid.
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nglabek, v.r.s.ironed; planed.
nglabek a mla mengabek; nglabek a bedengel el meringel; nglabek a bail, ngobekii.
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selamk, v.r.s.husked by hand.
selamk a mla mesamk; mla mengai a semkel; kukau a selamk, somkii, suamk a lius; semkel.
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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:

chesechesall, v.a.s.is to be locked or latched.
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chesmall, v.a.s.is to be tapped or rapped on; is to be rung.
chesmall a kirel el mechosm; chesmoll, chosmii, chuosm a kambalang, mengosm, chesmel.
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chesuerngall, v.a.s.(face) is to be slapped; is to be slapped in the face.
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chietall, v.a.s.(food) is to have squeezed coconut milk added to it.
chietall a chiotel; kirel el mechuit; chemuit a odoim, menguit, morengii a chuit, chietel.
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ochuill, v.a.s.(someone's glance or attention) is to be attracted; is to be called out to.
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otutekiil, v.a.s.is to be told on or accused.
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urdechall, v.a.s.is to be buttoned/inlaid.
urdechall a kirel el murodech; locha urdechel; merdechii, mrodech a bail; urdechel.
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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
chelsebengoshandsomeness.chesbengoshandsome; beautiful.
bobaipapaya tree (including fruit).bobaipapaya tree (including fruit).
daktfear; awe.bedektallfearful; shy.
cheremrumtype of sea cucumber; trepang.bekecheremrumsmell of sea cucumber.
burekswelling.oburekswollen.
beraomfish kept until slightly spoiled and then wrapped and barbequed.beraomfish kept until slightly spoiled and then wrapped and barbequed.
tebullswelling; earth mound.tebullswelling; earth mound.

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
moded a rengul(person is) easygoing/even-tempered.
mekngit er a rengulnot good for; not all right with.
ungil er a rengulfine or all right with.
mesbeda a rengul(person) come to realize or accept (fact, etc.).
mesmesim a rengulunstable; changing one's mind easily.
betachel a rengulis to be pleased/satisfied/appeased; content.
songerenger a rengulhave a strong desire for; lust after.

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