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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:

blkais, v.r.s.opened; lifted open/up.
blkais a mla obkais; blok, blkais a chesimer, mkisii, mkais, bkisel.
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chelebechobel, v.r.s.embarrassed.
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seluches, v.r.s.propped open.
seluches a mla mesuches; suchesii a baeong; smuches, sechesel a baeong.
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uldai, v.r.s.pulled in.
uldai a mla mudai; mla mekurs er a udai, mla motamet; bilas a mla mudai el mei er a cheldukl; udiil.
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ulechull, v.r.s.tied into a bundle.
ulechull a uldak e llechotel, llechet; idungel a ulechull; mla mochull; ulechulel.
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ulngebeet, v.r.s.pushed under water; (wick of lamp) turned down.
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ultilech, v.r.s.has had something put on top of it.
ultilech a ulsarech, mla motilech, ultilech er a mlai; mlai a ngar er a bebul; otelechii.
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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:

echetall, v.a.s.is to be unhooked.
echetall a kirel el meiuchet; echetii, imuchet a bail er a techerakl; klalo el kirel el mengai er a techerakl.
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esemall, v.a.s.is to be tried out/challenged.
esemall a kirel el measem; meues el mo ungil, kirel mo er a omelasem er a uchei er a bo ltobed; esemii, esemel a ngloik.
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kdoel, v.a.s.is to be put or placed down.
kdoel a kirel el meked; kmedii a til, kmed a kall, menged er a tebel, kedeel a kall, lochang er a ulaol.
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kseksall, v.a.s.(metal, wood, etc.) is to be filed.
kseksall a ksekikl; kirel el meksous.
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lengiil, v.a.s.is to be borrowed.
lengiil a bedoel; kirel el meleng; kirel obed a udoud el mo cheral a mlai; lengiil a udoud er a bank.
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ongidall, v.a.s.(food) is to be given or exchanged ceremonially.
ongidall a kirel el mongoid; ongoid, diak el ongidall a chutem er a telungalek.
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ongmengmall, v.a.s.is to be lowered slowly and carefully.
ongmengmall a kirel el mongmongm; ongmongm a cheremrum, ongmengmel, a cheremrum.
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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.

brakgiant yellow swamp taro.brakhaving a vagina which stays dry during sexual intercourse.
riamelfootball fruit (Pangi; Payan).bekeriamelsmell like football fruit; sweaty; have a strong body odor (especially, as result of diet or poor hygiene).
kldolsfatness; thickness.kedols(round object) fat, thick or wide. Commonly used to describe betelnuts and coconuts.
ureorwork; job; task.bekureorwork a lot; hard-working; diligent.
rubakelder; old man; chief; foreign man; boyfriend; husband.rubakhaving the qualities of an old man.
cheolubarnacles.cheolu covered with barnacles.
kerisgoiter.keris (neck) swollen with goiter.

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:

Rengulbaititle of chiefs in Imeliik.
komeklii a rengul(person) controlling themselves; (person) holding their tongue.
tuobed a rengulone's real feelings come out.
mereng er a rengulplease; go along with (so as not to hurt feelings).
sisiokel a rengulfastidious; particular.
raud a rengulvariable; indecisive.
mekurt a rengul(someone's) feelings hurt.

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