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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:

bletech, v.r.s.having gotten thrown at; pounded; cracked.
bletech a uletech; mla obetech, mouetech, metechii a blai, metech, betechel a blai.
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cheleld, v.r.s.knocked out of breath.
cheleld a mla mecheld, chad el ruebet el metilech me ng meengel a telil; mo kedeb a telil.
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chelsimer, v.r.s.closed; confined; locked in (e.g., as punishment).
chelsimer a telengetongel, diak le belkais, diak le nglai a chesmerel; blutek, mla mechesimer; chosmerii er a kelebus, chesmerel.
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kler, v.r.s.asked; inquired.
kler a mla meker; mla korir, mla kmer a tekoi, keril a secher.
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klom, v.r.s.(branch of tree, betel nut, etc.) cut off.
klom a delebes; teluk, delebokl a chimal; klom a chimal.
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telik, v.r.s.struck with the fist.
telik a mla metik; tikir a kboub, tmik, melik, tkil a kboub.
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ulekedurs, v.r.s.laid, put or knocked down; put to bed.
ulekedurs a mla mokedurs; mla mo mechiuaiu; rengalek a ulekedurs er a blai.
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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:

bedachel, v.a.s.(canoe, boat, etc.) is to have curve made in it.
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bedechall, v.a.s.is to be picked up with fingers.
bedechall a kirel el obodech, medechii a odoim, modech a kall el olab a cheldingel.
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kekesuul, v.a.s.is to be scratched (because itchy).
kekesuul a kirel el mekekas; mengkas er ngii, kukesur a mekekad, kokas a bedengel, kekesul a bedengel.
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ocheduall, v.a.s.is to be cut with scissors; is to be picked up with tongs.
ocheduall a kirel el mochadu; bail a ocheduall; omechadu er ngii.
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orsersall, v.a.s.is to be drowned or made to sink.
orsersall a kirel el morsors, locha er a bertakl; orsersii a mechut el diall, orechorech, orsersel.
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rtachel, v.a.s.is to be touched.
rtachel a mo rutechii; kirel el merutech; delenguchel a rtachel er a rurt; rutechii; rtechel.
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tingechall, v.a.s.is to be scraped (taro etc.).
tingechall a kirel metngoech; merort a kukau; tingoech a kukau; tingechel.
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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
cheluchcoconut oil; fuel (e.g. gasoline, kerosene, diesel oil, etc.); grease (from meat being cooked).bekecheluchsmell of coconut oil.
kesaiinsufficient quantity.kesaiinsufficient quantity.
rirfallen leaves of kebui.merirthe color yellow.
kemangetlength (of string, etc.) which exceeds what is needed or expected.kemangetlength (of string, etc.) which exceeds what is needed or expected.
meduumale genitals (large).meduu(testicles) swollen; (pig) having testicles/uncastrated.
diablongdevil.diablongterrible; awful; (person) evil.
temamuuimaginary ghost with ugly face.temamuubald-headed.

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
olsiich er a rengultake pleasure in someone else's pain, difficulties, problems, etc.
omerteret a rengulfed up or exasperated with.
keremerem a rengulstupid; ignorant.
olsarech er a rengulhold in or control emotions, anger etc.
meleolt a rengul(person) carefree or nonchalant; (person) not easily disturbed or content to let things happen as they may.
seitak a rengul(person is) very choosy; picky.
mechedeng a rengulget surprised, puzzled or perplexed (by someone's behavior, etc.).

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