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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:

blibii, v.r.s.sorted out.
blibii a mla obibii; merurous, betok el blii, rrurous, omii, bingel.
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chelidabel, v.r.s.hang onto with hands; hanging.
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chelsuar, v.r.s.(face) slapped; slapped in the face.
chelsuar a chelsbad, chellebed a medal, mla mechesuar.
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delangch, v.r.s.set aside; recognized; mounded.
delangch mla medangch er a chutem; beluut er a chutem; rullii el mo mengerengird, dongchii a tuu; dmangch, dengchel.
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telboech, v.r.s.touched or cooked lightly.
telboech a mla metboech; tibechii a sechelil; melboech er ngii.
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telerrob, v.r.s.turned face or top down; stopped.
telerrob a omosech; mla meterob; torebengii a klechedaol, torob a kles; merrob a urreor, terebengel.
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uleong, v.r.s.jumped or vaulted over.
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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:

bedkall, v.a.s.is to be trapped or ensnared.
bedkall a kirel el obedikl; medeklii a malk, medikl a beab, bedeklel.
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bertachel, v.a.s.(hands) are to be clapped; is to be slapped; deaf (i.e., has to be tapped on the back to get attention).
bertachel a kirel el obrotech; mertechii, mrotech, mechad a bertachel.
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bitekill, v.a.s.is to be turned around or inside out or upside down.
bitekill a kirel el obitokl; miteklii a mlai; biteklel, chelebuul a bebitekill, a lta e ng kuk obitokl el ekong.
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disall, v.a.s.is to be increased or added to.
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kebikl, v.a.s.is to be hung.
kebikl a kirel el mekabs; metecherakl, kobsii, kuabs a tuu, kebsel.
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ongengedall, v.a.s.is to be lowered by sliding.
ongengedall a kirel el monganged el mei er eou; ongengedii, olenganged, ongengedel a kerrekar.
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titechall, v.a.s.is to be wedged.
titechall a kirel el metitech; loia titechel; titechii a osib; tmitech a oles, melitech; titechel.
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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
mengchongchthick betel nut fiber used for wrapping food, making rain hat, etc.chellibelmengchongchwhite; (woman) beautiful/white-skinned.
kudlouse.kdaolinfested with lice.
bangikoibutterfly; moth.bangikoiprone to moving from one girlfriend/boyfriend to another.
brakgiant yellow swamp taro.brakhaving a vagina which stays dry during sexual intercourse.
H.O.(abbrev.) Babeldaob (used pejoratively).H.O.unexperienced in Western ways; ignorant of modern conveniences.
iluodelstones, coconut shells, or similar objects used as support for cooking pot during serving.iluodel(people) sitting, standing or arranged in a circle; (stone platform) built circular.
techiirhandnet with handle; cloth or screen for pressing coconut milk; sheath at base of coconut frond (used for pressing coconut milk).mekudem a techerel(person who) understands or catches everything.

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
mereng er a rengulplease; go along with (so as not to hurt feelings).
chelam a rengulheartbroken.
keremerem a rengulstupid; ignorant.
ralmetaoch a rengulinsensitive; not easily affected; easygoing; casual; prone to avoiding responsibility.
turk a rengulturk
mengerar er a rengul criticise; insult; put down; make someone feel ashamed; hurt someone's feelings.
tuobed a rengulone's real feelings come out.

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