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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:

delebusech, v.r.s.(conch shell or horn) blown.
delebusech a mla medebusech; debusech; melebusech el mesubed er a eolt, dubsechii, debsechel a eolt.
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kliai, v.r.s.raised just above surface (but not touching); levitating.
kliai a mla mekiai; mengellael; di telkib el cheroid er a chutem a ochil; kiei el kliai a ochil er a ulaol.
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selaur, v.r.s.tied together/into a bunch; bundled
selaur a mla mesaur; mla melechet, mla mesemosem, chelais a selaur; sourii, rraud, surel.
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seliik, v.r.s.(object or person) looked for or searched for or having been sought after.
seliik a mla mesiik; mla metik, rrechorech el udoud a seliik; smiik; skel.
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selongd, v.r.s.combed; (chain, cord, etc.) broken.
selongd a mla mesongd; songdii; smongd; bdelul a ungil el selongd, sengdel.
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ulekngeltengat, v.r.s.blessed.
ulekngeltengat a uleklusech; mla mukngeltengat; ngeltengat; ngeltengeteel.
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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:

chertemall, v.a.s.is to have a sticky substance applied.
chertemall a kirel el mecheritem; chirtemii er a kar; chiritem, mengilt.
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deromel, v.a.s.is to be sharpened.
deromel a kirel el medorm; doremii a oles; duorem a oluches, merorem, deremel.
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kedidiull, v.a.s.is to be made higher/piled up.
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osengerengerall, v.a.s.is to be allowed to go hungry.
osengerengerall a kirel el mosengerenger; uasech a osengerengerall el mo urrekerek; osengerengerel.
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otutall, v.a.s.(spear, gun, etc.) is to be aimed at target; (law) is to be enforced; (fire) is to be lighted; (job) is to be started; is to be hooked.
otutall a kirel el motaut; otaut a llechul a rael, otutii a ngau, llechul a rael a otutall; otutel.
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otuull, v.a.s.is to be carried on the back or held behind the back.
otuull a kirel el motour; oturii a ngalek, otour a babier, ngalek a otuull, oturel.
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techemekill, v.a.s.is to be stuffed or crammed.
techemekill a okekael; kirel el mo mui; metechemakl; mekekii, mekeek, techemekill a kliokl el chutem.
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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
mechasold woman; titled woman; foreign woman; male's father's sisters; girlfriend; wife.mechashaving the qualities of an old woman.
chetaubrief rain squall.chetaubrief rain squall.
riamelfootball fruit (Pangi; Payan).bekeriamelsmell like football fruit; sweaty; have a strong body odor (especially, as result of diet or poor hygiene).
kldolsfatness; thickness.kedols(round object) fat, thick or wide. Commonly used to describe betelnuts and coconuts.
cheisechpermanent stain.cheisechstained (permanently from betel nut juice; banana juice; etc.).
kamangsickle.kamangsickle.
kosuiperfume.bekekosuismell strongly of perfume.

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
mengedecheduch er a rengulthink; say to oneself.
melekoi a renguldetermined; well-motivated; make rasping or humming sound in the lungs; make humming moise while sleeping; (cat) purr.
cheldeng a rengulconfused; surprised; stubborn; dull-witted; slow (in understanding).
omak er a rengul(person) takes the edge off (his/her) hunger.
omai er a rengulhesitate; be unsure about.
komeklii a rengul(person) controlling themselves; (person) holding their tongue.
ultebechel a rengulhonest; mature and responsible.

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