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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:

blekesangch, v.r.s.forced open; pulled apart by force.
blekesangch a mla obekesangch, obok, mekesengchii a chesimer.
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klemodel, v.r.s.sewn up; (eyes) narrow or slit.
klemodel a klemed; klemodel a medal a mad el chisiabal.
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kluld, v.r.s.pinched (with fingernails).
kluld a mla mekuld er a kuk; kmuld; ulsiu a kekul er a bedengel a chad.
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nglukl, v.r.s.transported; moved; hit; smashed into or against.
nglukl a mla mengukl; nglai el mo er a kuk ngodech; blai a nglukl el mo er a cheroid; nguklii; ngklel.
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ulengelt, v.r.s.sunk (into soft ground).
ulengelt a mla mongelt; ngar er a chelsel a chutem; mechas a ulengelt er a mesei, ongeltii, olengelt, ongeltel.
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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:

chemachel, v.a.s.(betel nut) is to be chewed; (tobacco) is to be smoked.
chemachel a redil el ourrot er a blil el motobed er a ocheraolbai me a klomengelungel, oungerachel a udoud me a rokui el tekoi.
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chesmerall, v.a.s.is to be closed, confined or locked in (e.g. as punishment).
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delemekill, v.a.s.(post, stick, etc.) is to be driven into ground.
delemekill a kirel el medelemakl; kirel mukedechor; dolemeklii er a chutem; dolemakl a smengtel a chutem, mellemakl, delemeklel.
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denguoll, v.a.s.is to be ridiculed (usually for incest).
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odkelall, v.a.s.is to be made to move; (person) is to be made active.
odkelall a kirel el modikel; mesaik a odkelall, odkelii; rullii el mo ouedikel; odkelel.
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otematel, v.a.s.is to be pulled at; is to be drawn tight/taut.
otematel a kirel el motamet, kirel el mekurs; oltamet a kerrekar, kursii, otemetii a chimal, otemetel.
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semikel, v.a.s.is to be husked by hand.
semikel a kirel el mesamk; mengai a semkel; kukau a semikel; semikel a klalo el betok a semkel; semsemikel.
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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
tutkwart on sole of foot; disease of kebui leaves.tutkwart on sole of foot; disease of kebui leaves.
uidfruit that has fallen off the tree on its own.udallis to be glued or pasted.
chudelgrass.chudelmarijuana.
kerasuschigger.kerasusbitten by chiggers.
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.
cheballwhite-leafed taro (yautia); gray/white hair.cheballwhite-leafed taro (yautia); gray/white hair.
bengtpurple colored sweet potato.bengtpurple colored sweet potato.

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
mekngit a rengulfeel sorry/sad about; mean; inconsiderate.
blekebek a rengulpleasant/nice (in personality); congenial.
olturk a rengulsatiate; make someone give up (from fatigue); get one's fill of; insult continuously or mercilessly; let someone really have it.
kersos a rengulyearning; anxious (to see).
beltik a rengulbetik a rengul
berngel a rengulanything discouraging to one's spirit.
ilkelkel a rengulhis stupidity.

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