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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:

cheldelekelek, v.r.s.blackened; (face) slapped.
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chelsechusem, v.r.s.dirtied or smeared (with food); involved (in a situation).
chelsechusem a bechesechusem, chusechesemii, chusechusem a chimal, chesechesemel a kall; cheisechusem a teloi er a tirudii a bank, ta er a chelsechusem er ngii.
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cheltiruir, v.r.s.made dizzy (by betel nut).
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delidai, v.r.s.accompanied; braided.
delidai a mla medidai; melidai a odak a edei el kakeakl e doidai el mo tang, chui a delidai.
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ngelsakl, v.r.s.divided; separated; (wood) removed from fire; moved out of the way.
ngelsakl a chacheroid; diak lulturek; idungel a ngelsakl me a ngau a ulekoad; ngoseklii, ngosakl, ngeseklel.
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telubech, v.r.s.masturbated; circumcised.
telubech a mla metubech; nglubech.
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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:

besiochel, v.a.s.is to be adorned/decorated.
besiochel a kired el omesiich er ngii; omesiich, mesichii er a bung, mesiich, besichel.
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demedemekall, v.a.s.is to be softened, weakened, tenderized or calmed.
demedemakall a ruoll el mo medemedemek; ngeliokl el brak a demedemekall, domedemekii, domedemek, demedemekel.
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kitall, v.a.s.is to be pressed with fingers and massaged; is to be pressed against surface with fingers; is to be softened.
kitall a kirel mekit; mengit er ngii; omet el mesisiich.
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kldall, v.a.s.is to be pinched (with fingernails).
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ngikall, v.a.s.is to be danced.
ngikall a kirel el meloik er ngii; ngera el ngloik a ngikall? karkimenai me a ngera a ngikall?
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ocheroall, v.a.s.(turtle) is to be turned face up; (clothes) are to be turned inside out.
ocheroall a kirel el mochero; mechereuii, uel a ocheroall; mo dengarech; ocherouel.
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sibesongel, v.a.s.is to be tripped or hindered.
sibesongel a olibesongel; ngii di le ngera el melibas; tetuk el kerrekar a sibesongel er a rael; mesaik el chad a sibesongel er a urreor.
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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
cheballwhite-leafed taro (yautia); gray/white hair.cheballgray-haired; white-haired.
cheludechwooden float for fish net; light weight wood used to make corks.cheludechwooden float for fish net; light weight wood used to make corks.
cherouwhite mushroom; white scar.cherouhaving a white scar; whitish; Caucasian.
bausmell; odor; scent.bekebau(cooked meat or fish, cooking pot, etc.) foul-smelling.
cheluchcoconut oil; fuel (e.g. gasoline, kerosene, diesel oil, etc.); grease (from meat being cooked).bekecheluchsmell of coconut oil.
kikoisea clam.kikaolhaving a large vagina.
idokeldirtiness; filthiness.idokeldirtiness; filthiness.

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
mengesib er a rengul get someone angry.
melemed a rengulcool down one's anger.
bechelechelingaol a rengulselfish; greedy; stingy; self-centered.
ngar er a eou a rengul(person is) humble/respectful.
omekerrau er a rengulconfuse; puzzle.
chebosech a rengulboring; dull; poor at speaking.
diak lemesim a rengulstick to one's convictions; not change one's mind.

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