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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:

blar, v.r.s.slapped in the face.
blar a mla obar; mechelebed, merngii, mar, blar a medal, berengel.
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klsadel, v.r.s.decreased; reduced; depleted.
klsadel a ngesonges er a kirel el ildois; ulengesonges; ngar er ngii a dibus, mengesadel, kosedelii, kosadel.
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selubs, v.r.s.sprinkled; sprayed; watered.
selubs a mla mesubs er a ralm; subsii; suubs a dellomel, sebsel.
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telaiu, v.r.s.rubbed; smoothed over; petted.
telaiu a mla metaiu; mla toiuii a bdelul; mla tmaiu a bedengel, melaiu er ngii; tiuel a smecher.
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ulengelt, v.r.s.sunk (into soft ground).
ulengelt a mla mongelt; ngar er a chelsel a chutem; mechas a ulengelt er a mesei, ongeltii, olengelt, ongeltel.
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ulskosk, v.r.s.pushed vigorously.
ulskosk a mla moskosk; mla modubech; uldubech el mong; oskeskii, olskosk er ngii, oskeskel.
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ultour, v.r.s.carried on the back; held behind the back.
ultour a ngar a ulk; mla motour; mla oturii a ngelekel; cheleoch el ngalek a ultour, oltour er a til; oturel.
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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:

chetuotel, v.a.s.(headware) to be put on; to be inserted or stuck into or onto; to be impaled or plugged in.
chetuotel a klalo el rruul el mechetiut; klalo, lkou a chetuotel; mengetiut a lochang; otuu; osiseb; chetutel, chetutall.
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keriil, v.a.s.is to be asked or inquired.
keriil a kirel el meker; korir er a udoud, kmer a tekoi, merreder a keriil a tekoi er ngii, keril.
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kuekuall, v.a.s.is to be carried/cradled.
kuekuall a kirel el mekuoku; kiukuii a ngalek, kiuoku a babirengel, kiukuel.
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otoel, v.a.s.is to be pressed/squeezed.
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sisall, v.a.s.is to be deloused.
sisall a kirel el mesais a bdelul; mengai a kud er ngii.
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techebekill, v.a.s.is to be dived into.
techebekill a sebechel el metechelbakl; diak el sal dmolech; melechelbakl.
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techelball, v.a.s.is to be bathed or baptized.
techelball a techelubel; kirel el metechong; melechong, tochelbii, techelbel.
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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
lebfuzz (on leaf) of plant (e.g.; sugar cane; grass); plant in coffee family; shyness.meleblebitchy; prickly; covered with fuzz of plant.
ngulasthma.ngulasthma.
burekswelling.oburekget dyed or stained with color.
bausmell; odor; scent.bekebausmell of vagina.
H.O.(abbrev.) Babeldaob (used pejoratively).H.O.unexperienced in Western ways; ignorant of modern conveniences.
omecherollwomb; uterus; place where animals breed; birth canal.bekecheroll(woman) fertile/having many children.
H.O.(abbrev.) Babeldaob (used pejoratively).H.O.(abbrev.) Babeldaob (used pejoratively).

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
mechedeng a rengulget surprised, puzzled or perplexed (by someone's behavior, etc.).
mesmesim a rengulunstable; changing one's mind easily.
seselk a rengulbored; impatient.
bebeot a rengulrather undecided about something; not taking something too seriously.
ulserechakl a rengulcalm; unexcitable.
diak lemesim a rengulstick to one's convictions; not change one's mind.
meses a rengulindustrious; diligent.

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