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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:

bled, v.r.s.(ball; etc.) caught; grabbed; (money) borrowed.
bled a mla obed; medir a bduu, bedeel
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blungt, v.r.s.(hair) curled/twisted.
blungt a blengutel; bengtel a chui.
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cheliseksikt, v.r.s.tangled up; involved; confused; ambiguous.
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cheltiut, v.r.s.(headwear) put on; inserted; impaled.
cheltiut a mla mechetiut; ultuu; ulsiseb, cheltiut a oecherel e omais er a ulaol.
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kloechel, v.r.s.broken off.
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telik, v.r.s.struck with the fist.
telik a mla metik; tikir a kboub, tmik, melik, tkil a kboub.
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ulebangel, v.r.s.interrupted; half; (something which) did not survive.
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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:

chesemall, v.a.s.(mouth) is to be wiped; (hands) are to be wiped of dirt, food, etc.
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delaol, v.a.s.is to be broiled or roasted.
delaol a kirel el medul; durur a mesekuuk, dmul a meas, ngikel a delaol.
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ngemodel, v.a.s.is to be washed off or mopped.
ngemodel a kirel el mengemed; ngomedii a ulaol; nguemed a tebel, melemed; ngemedel.
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ongebetall, v.a.s.is to be pushed under water; (wick of lamp) is to be turned down.
ongebetall a kirel el mongebeet; mo kekerei e mo er eou; olengebeet a ngeriu er a seked.
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osesall, v.a.s.is to be squeezed or pressed.
osesall a kirel el mouet; kirel el moseos, omeseos, lius a osesall, meseos; omet, osesel a lius.
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uluoll, v.a.s.(house) is to have floor put on.
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utiil, v.a.s.is to be put over fire; is to be put or placed; is to be pounded into ground.
utiil a ngklel a irimd. utiil a klalo el kirel el mouat; omat a irimd; melai a mekoll er a budel.
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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
uesvision; sight; view.sekoesperceptive; sharp-minded; acute; sensitive; aware of one's responsibilities or surroundings; capable of looking at something thoroughly or seeing all the angles and possibilities.
chadliver.chedengaolsick with jaundice.
besokelringworm.besokelinfected with ringworm.
rekungland crab.bekerekungsmell of crabs (after cooking or eating crabs, etc.).
chermallhibiscus (bark used as a rope; leaves used as mulch for taro).chermallcheromel
chetbaelelephantiasis.chetbaelelephantiasis.
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
mellomes a rengulsmart; diligent.
ngmasech a rengulget angry.
omsa a llechul a rengulteach (someone) a lesson.
melatk a rengulconsider someone's feelings.
kekere a renguluncomfortable; impatient.
Rengulbaititle of chiefs in Imeliik.
derengulalso, used a as friendly expression of envy.

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