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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:

chellungel, v.r.s.carried (off) on the shoulders; carrying someone or something on the shoulders.
chellungel a chelol; mla mechol; mengol a beras; chellungel a idungel, chelngel.
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chelsuar, v.r.s.(face) slapped; slapped in the face.
chelsuar a chelsbad, chellebed a medal, mla mechesuar.
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kladikm, v.r.s.right-handed; graceful (esp., in dance).
kladikm a meduch e klebokel; ungil el meloik e oungelakel, kladikm er a tekoi me a cheldecheduch.
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telikak, v.r.s.(legs) spread apart.
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ulseked, v.r.s.squeezed in; crowded out.
ulseked a mla moseked; ngar a delongelel a eru el klalo el meseked; diak le medidai; ulseked er a delongelel a mlai; osekedel.
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urrirech, v.r.s.taken; snatched.
urrirech a mla morirech; mla motitech; mla moribech er a chetemel, orribech a diak el chetemel, orirechel.
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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:

chisisall, v.a.s.are to be piled up one on top of the other.
chisisall a meleket; kirel el mechisois; choisisii, choisois a babier, mengisois er a blil, chisisel a blai.
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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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ongengall, v.a.s.is to be stared at.
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ongokall, v.a.s.is to be whistled to.
ongokall a kirel el mongaok ongaok a ngaok, ongokel.
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rengetall, v.a.s.is to be chewed or crushed.
rengetall a kirel el meringet; ringetii a kall, rengotel, reminget; rengetel.
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riomel, v.a.s.is to be collected or gathered and transported.
riomel a kirel el meriim; kloleklel a riomel, riemii, reuiim; ngmai el rokui el otobed; riemel.
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tekiungel, v.a.s.needs to be talked to; (person) is being talked about (because of bad behavior, etc.).
tekiungel a kirel el mo er ngii a tekoi; soadel er a beluu, tekiungel er a beluu er a omengubs.el sers.
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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
chadman; person; human being; living being; someone; somebody; anyone; anybody.chadalive; living.
bobaipapaya tree (including fruit).bobaidull; slow-witted.
kemangetlength (of string, etc.) which exceeds what is needed or expected.kemangetlength (of string, etc.) which exceeds what is needed or expected.
hambunghalf.hambunghalf-witted; simple-minded.
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.
kerasuschigger.kerasusbitten by chiggers.
cheisechpermanent stain.cheisechpermanent stain.

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
bltkil a rengulone's affection/concern for.
klikiid a renguluninvolved.
mechitechut a rengulweak willed; unmotivated; easily discouraged.
songerenger a rengulhave a strong desire for; lust after.
mengelengalek a rengul(person) mean-spirited; unfriendly; unpleasant; nasty; vengeful.
komeklii a rengul(person) controlling themselves; (person) holding their tongue.
medul a renguldisgusted with.

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