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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:

bletech, v.r.s.having gotten thrown at; pounded; cracked.
bletech a uletech; mla obetech, mouetech, metechii a blai, metech, betechel a blai.
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blusekl, v.r.s.covered with someone's legs while sleeping.
blusekl a mla obusekl; museklii, musekl, omusekl.
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telabd, v.r.s.skinned; scraped
telabd a telebudel; mla metabd; nglai budel; telabd el malk.
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ulechem, v.r.s.(fish or tapioca) tied and wrapped.
ulechem a mla mochem; mla mechem a ngikel; odoim a ulechem el ngikel.
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ulengchongch, v.r.s.dropped down from tree; (restriction) removed.
ulengchongch a mla mongchongche telerrob el telkib; ongchengchii a bul, ongchongch a chesimer, ongchengchel a bul er a uel.
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ultuil, v.r.s.laid down; lying down; dependent on.
ultuil a mla motuiil; otilii a bdelul er a tebel e olengull; ulsirs; otilel.
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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:

bedull, v.a.s.is to be extracted; is to be pulled/plucked out.
bedull a kirel el obadel; diokang a bedull. medelii, madel, omadel, bedelel.
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ochebngall, v.a.s.is to be brought to surface of water.
ochebngall a kirel el mochob; mei er a bab; olechob er a mlai, ochebngii a ert el mei er a bebul a daob; ochebngel.
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otemengall, v.a.s.is to be poked/stuck out.
otemengall a kirel el motom; olecholt, otom a mederir er a urreor, otom a mederir er a mechesang, otemeel.
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reberebekall, v.a.s.is to be groped for.
reberebekall a kirel el mereberebek; merreuaech el osiik er ngii.
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semesmochel, v.a.s.is to be bidden farewell or given divorce payment; is to be refused gracefully.
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tibechall, v.a.s.is to be touched lightly.
tibechall a kirel el metboech; tibechii a sechelil; tiboech; melboech er ngii; tibechel.
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ungkill, v.a.s.is to be named.
ungkill a kirel el mungakl; mngeklii, loia a ngklel; omngakl er ngii; tolechoi a ungkill.
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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
bodechcurved configuration/shape of boat.obodechcurved; (person) having back curved towards rear.
mbesaoldrool; spittle.mbesaol(person) drooling (a lot).
chellingsclearness; transparency; purity; pristine condition.mechellings(liquid, glass, etc.) clear or transparent.
chedechuulknack/magical power for doing things; blueprint; plan (for house, bai, etc).chedechuulknack/magical power for doing things; blueprint; plan (for house, bai, etc).
kobesossea horse.kobesossea horse.
tebullswelling; earth mound.tebullbulging, hanging.
chelechedsmall sea crab.chelechedsmall sea crab.

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
rrau a rengulconfused/puzzled by/about.
mesmesim a rengulunstable; changing one's mind easily.
chelemekl a rengul(person) holding a grudge; (person) strong, stubborn, persistent, determined.
ungil a rengulhappy; glad; kind.
melechang a llechul a rengulteach (someone) a lesson.
sisiokel a rengulfastidious; particular.
chelimimuul a rengulchelimimii a rengul

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