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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:

cheltakl, v.r.s.held/led by the hand.
cheltakl a mla mechetakl; chotakl, choteklii a til, mengetakl a ngikel, cheteklel.
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chelterbis, v.r.s.spun around.
chelterbis a mla mecheterebis mengeterebis, choterebisur a mesil, cheterebisul a mesil.
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cheltiot, v.r.s.(point of knife, spear, etc.) broken or bent.
cheltiot a mla mechetiot; tmurk, obibais, telirm; choititii, chotiot a oles, chetitiel.
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cheluml, v.r.s.(fire) started up or kindled.
cheluml a mla mechuml; ngau a mla kmard.
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selloakl, v.r.s.grabbed at and shaken or stirred.
selloakl a mla meseloakl; mla mesalo; rrutech er a betok el chim; selloakl el kall a olsecher; soleueklii; solouakl.
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telom, v.r.s.dropped accidentally.
telom a dimlak a le ngai; mla metom mlo er a chei e diak a cheldil; temeel.
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uldaoch, v.r.s.(sea) beaten with pole; (fruit) knocked down with pole.
uldaoch a mla mudaoch; mengai, iedel a uldaoch; medochii; medaoch, bedochel.
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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:

bedkall, v.a.s.is to be trapped or ensnared.
bedkall a kirel el obedikl; medeklii a malk, medikl a beab, bedeklel.
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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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dikesall, v.a.s.(food) is to be divided or shared.
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ochebiil, v.a.s.is to be deflected or avoided; (teeth of saw) are to be restored.
ochebiil a kirel el mochib; diak msbechii er ngii; oiur, olechib er ngii; imiit er ngii; ochebir a uetech.
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okedeldaol, v.a.s.is to be carried or transmitted with care; fragile; (person, thing, matter, problem) delicate; (person, situation) requiring special care.
okedeldaol a kirel el kerekikl er ngii; mukedelad; meringel kedmekill; ngalek a okedeldaol, mekedeldar, mekedelad, okedeldal a ngalek.
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sebechekill, v.a.s.is to be defended or helped.
sebechekill a kirel el mesebechakl, sobecheklii, odesebii, ngoseuir, buik a sebechekill, sebecheklel.
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udiuul, v.a.s.is to be pulled in.
udiuul a kirel el mudai; mengurs er ngii el oba udai; omdai er ngii; telemall el ert a udiuul.
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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.

chelechedsmall sea crab.chelechedsmall sea crab.
otordblunt-headed parrot fish.otord(person) having protruding forehead.
ngulasthma.ngulasthmatic; suffering from a bout of asthma.
rubakelder; old man; chief; foreign man; boyfriend; husband.bekerubaksmell like an old man.
kurstwitching (nervous disorder) .kurstwitching.
ureorwork; job; task.bekureorwork a lot; hard-working; diligent.

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:

klsbengel a rengulanger.
chebosech a rengulboring; dull; poor at speaking.
seselkang a rengulbecoming bored or impatient.
ngar er a eou a rengul(person is) humble/respectful.
melamet er a renguldo things as one pleases.
kesib a rengulangry.
doaoch a rengulindecisive; fickle; inconsistent; prone to changing one's mind.

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