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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:

blikel, v.r.s.raised; outstretched.
blikel a mla obikel el mo bedul bab a tedobech; mikelii, mikel a chimal, omikel a ochil.
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chelisb, v.r.s.(food, liquid, dirt, etc.) having been scooped or spooned out.
chelisb a mla mechisb; nglai er a ongisb, chisbii, chuisb a kall, chesbel.
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chelisngekl, v.r.s.(head) turned to look.
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kellulau, v.r.s.whispered to.
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kldibel, v.r.s.(persons) called together or assembled (typically for the purpose of a meeting or sermon).
kldibel a klideb; cheldull; chelludel.
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klikai, v.r.s.(distance or course) swum.
klikai a mla mekikai; klikai a meteu el toachel; koikai, kikiul a cheroid.
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ulsiu, v.r.s.(drawer, suitcase, etc.) closed; (clothes) have seam sewn; (fire) fed; (people) incited to fight.
ulsiu a ulsikm; blutek; mla mosiu; ulsiu a berdel a ngerel.
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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:

bdechall, v.a.s.is to be vomited on.
bdechall a kirel el obudech, otobed a kllel, mudech a kllel, mdechii; kirel el omudech; mdechel.
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bungall, v.a.s.(round object) is to be broken, smashed or shattered; (bomb) is to be exploded.
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cheklechelall, v.a.s.is to be cleaned by shaking with water inside; is to be shaken.
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cheromel, v.a.s.is to be tasted.
cheromel a dellomel el soal a charem el mengang, chemutii a cheromel
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oskeskall, v.a.s.is to be pushed vigorously.
oskeskall a kirel el moskosk; kirel elmodubech; oskeskii a cheltelaol el otebedii, cheltelaol a oskeskall; oskeskel.
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techull, v.a.s.is to be carried on the head.
techull a kirel el metuchel; kukau a techull er a mesei; tuchelii a kall; tmuchel, meluchel, techelel.
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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
semumtrochus.semumtrochus.
bausmell; odor; scent.bekebau(cooked meat or fish, cooking pot, etc.) foul-smelling.
siktcluster/bunch of fruit.mesiktbe in a cluster (used only in mesikt el btuch).
chetaubrief rain squall.chetau (skin) dark.
tebullswelling; earth mound.tebull a medalangry-looking.
kullcyst; tumor.kull having a cyst or tumor.
bisechwild taro (makes mouth itchy).bisechwild taro (makes mouth itchy).

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
ouuchel er a rengulregret.
omatek er a rengul restrain ones desire to do something; keep ones desire(s) to oneself.
klou er a renguldetermined.
oba a rengulindependent; self-willed.
omichoech a rengul(stomach) grumble, talk or gurgle (especially from hunger); (person) feel excited.
tuobed a rengulone's real feelings come out.
moalech a renguldisappointed; dismayed.

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