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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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cheliraro, v.r.s.hanging; dangling.
cheliraro a telecherakl; ulekebekabes; mla mechiraro; mekebekabes, tuu a ulekabes, tuu a cheliraro.
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telab, v.r.s.(ear, nose) pierced for ring etc.
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telechui, v.r.s.(anus) wiped.
telechui a seluld; mla metechui a btil a ngalek, tuchui, melechui, techiul.
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ulekbeches, v.r.s.renovated; repaired.
ulekbeches a mle mechut e meruul el mo beches; blimam a mla mukbeches; mla mekbechesur, mla mo diak el mechut; ukbechesul.
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ulengeseu, v.r.s.helped; assisted.
ulengeseu a a ngeso; mla mongeseu er a udoud; olengeseu er a chim; ulengeseu er a chelebuul; ulengeseuil.
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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:

bekesengchall, v.a.s.is to be forced open/pulled apart by force.
bekesengchall a kirel el obekesangch, obok, mekesengchii a chesimer, mekengii, bekesengchel.
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chiuertall, v.a.s.is to be beaten (with stick, club, etc.).
chiuertall a chelebodel; kirel el mechiuert,mechelebed, choiuertii, mekull el diak le chiuertall a chad.
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dengechel, v.a.s.is to be set aside, recognized, distinguished or to be mounded.
dengechel a kirel el medangch; omuut a chutem er a uchul a iedel; dongchii a tuu er a chutem.
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dikesall, v.a.s.(food) is to be divided or shared.
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kesiil, v.a.s.(coconut or taro) is to be grated or scraped.
kesiil a kirel el mekes; menges a lius, kesiil a kles er a klechedaol, kosir, kmes a kles, kesil.
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kiokl, v.a.s.is to be dug; is to be opened or unlocked; (clock, watch) is to be wound.
kiokl a kirel el mekiis; kiesii el mo delluchel, kmiis a chutem, mengiis er ngii, mesib.
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otemengall, v.a.s.is to be poked/stuck out.
otemengall a kirel el motom; olecholt, otom a mederir er a urreor, otom a mederir er a mechesang, otemeel.
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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
chermallhibiscus (bark used as a rope; leaves used as mulch for taro).chermallPalauan money in form of green or blue glass beads.
smuuchscorpion fish (hardly moves in water).smuuch(person) calm, placid, or unperturbed by problems or challenging circumstances.
meduumale genitals (large).meduu(testicles) swollen; (pig) having testicles/uncastrated.
dechuswart; mole.dechusplant in nettle family.
choalechsea urchin.choalechsea urchin.
tedobech(one) half.tedobechhalf-filled; crazy; irrational.
techiirhandnet with handle; cloth or screen for pressing coconut milk; sheath at base of coconut frond (used for pressing coconut milk).mekudem a techerel(person who) understands or catches everything.

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
moalech a renguldisappointed; dismayed.
klurt a rengul(feelings) hurt.
temetel a rengulpleasing of one's heart.
mengedidai er a rengul act stubbornly, scornfully or condescendingly.
meleolt a rengul(person) carefree or nonchalant; (person) not easily disturbed or content to let things happen as they may.
sisiokel a rengulfastidious; particular.
kikiongel a rengul(person is) obstinate/uncooperative; sullen.

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