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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:

bldaoch, v.r.s.(sea) beaten with pole; (fruit) knocked down with pole.
bldaoch a mla obedaoch; nglai, medaoch, medochii, a iedel a bldaoch; bedochel.
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cheloes, v.r.s.(rope, etc.) frayed.
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chelokl, v.r.s.scolded.
chelokl a mla mechokl; mla choklii; oungeroel, mengokl, aki di chelokl el rokui.
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telemetamel, v.r.s.(trees; land; etc.) cleared.
telemetamel a telemotem; mededaes, mla metemotem; tometemii a rael; tomotem a oreomel, temetemel.
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ulkiis, v.r.s.awakened.
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ulterekokl, v.r.s.entrusted to someone; given for safekeeping; (specific time) set; sincere, real; genuine; really; surely; for sure; definitely.
ulterekokl a mla moterekokl; ultebechel el kmal ngii; mloterekokl el mengkar a chutem; oterekeklii a omerolel, oterekokl a okelel a babii er ngii; ulterekeklel.
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ultiil, v.r.s.leaned or laid against; lying down.
ultiil a ultuil; ngalek a ultiil er a demal; otilii, otiil, otilel er a demal.
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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:

chetimall, v.a.s.is to be smeared or spread on.
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chitemetall, v.a.s.(hand) is to be closed to make fist; is to be crushed into ball.
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ngkuul, v.a.s.is to be transported or moved.
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osisechekill, v.a.s.is to be taught, instructed, trained.
osisechekill a kirel el mosisechakl; osisecheklii, metitur a osischekill, osisechakl el kirel a metitur; osisecheklel.
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soadel, v.a.s.is to be separated or explained.
soadel a kirel el mesaod; kirel el obeketakl; soadel a chutem el kmo ng mor; meldung el tekoi a soadel
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techerekill, v.a.s.is to be hung on a hook or unloaded with a winch.
techerekill a kirel el metecherakl; melecherakl er ngii.
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tiuelechall, v.a.s.is to be thrown at with a stick.
tiuelechall a kirel el metiualech; tiuelechii a iedel; toiualech, meliualech a meradel, tiuelechel.
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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
chemarsleak (in something like a boat or a bucket).chemars(boat, bucket, etc.) leaky; leaking.
chiukl(singing) voice.cheiukl(person) having a good singing voice.
riamelfootball fruit (Pangi; Payan).bekeriamelsmell like football fruit; sweaty; have a strong body odor (especially, as result of diet or poor hygiene).
chelechedsmall sea crab.chelechedambidextrous.
chiechabhole; hollow; cavity (in tooth).mechiechab(teeth) full of cavities.
builmoon; month.builmoon; month.
kemangetlength (of string, etc.) which exceeds what is needed or expected.kemangetlength (of string, etc.) which exceeds what is needed or expected.

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
komeklii a rengul(person) controlling themselves; (person) holding their tongue.
chelemekl a rengul(person) holding a grudge; (person) strong, stubborn, persistent, determined.
beltik a rengulbetik a rengul
ukab er a rengul(something sentimental) arouses one's emotions (touch someone's figurative heart).
urrengulelurungulel
ultebechel a rengulhonest; mature and responsible.
smiich a rengulfeel proud about (someone).

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