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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:

cherroakl, v.r.s.(ankle) twisted or sprained.
cherroakl a mla mocheroakl; ulechoid a ulengeruaol er a ochil, ulecheroakl.
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rredall, v.r.s.(flowers; etc.) picked.
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teleu, v.r.s.widened; opened wide; (legs) spread; unfinished.
teleu a blok; teleu a chesimer; tmengii a ngerel, diak el blutek; tengel.
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uldekedek, v.r.s.chased; run after; caught up with; fought.
uldekedek a mla modekedek; ulsarech, oserechii; ngmasech er ngii; uldekedek e oubekeu er ngii.
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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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uleld, v.r.s.(coconut candy) made.
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ulsesei, v.r.s.moved a little bit or ways.
ulsesei a mla mosesei; smesei; telkib el uldubech; blil a ulsesei el mei.
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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:

cheatel, v.a.s.(rope; wire; fishing line; etc.) is to be wound; (baby) is to be cuddled.
cheatel a kirel el mechaet; chemetii, chemaet a ekil, mengaet, chetel.
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chertemall, v.a.s.is to have a sticky substance applied.
chertemall a kirel el mecheritem; chirtemii er a kar; chiritem, mengilt.
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keradel, v.a.s.is to be nibbled, munched or bitten.
keradel a kirel el mekard; mekiok, mengiok, kordii, bobai a keradel er a beab me a kiuid, kmard, kerdel a bobai.
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kikidall, v.a.s.is to be absolved, purified or emptied.
kikidall a kirel el mekikiid; mo klikiid, mo beches, kikidii a beluu, kmikiid a blai, kikidel.
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ngemull, v.a.s.(grass; garden; yard; etc.) is to be cut.
ngemull a kirel el mengaml; ngomlii a mekesokes, nguaml a rael, melaml; ngemlel.
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oremkall, v.a.s.(boat, etc.) is to be weighed down.
oremkall a kirel el morumek; mo ruumk; oremkii a bilas, orumek a ert er a rechad, oremkel.
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ukllemesall, v.a.s.is to be brightened or enlightened.
ukllemesall a kirel el mukllomes; omekllomes; ochotii a ungil el rael; meklemesii a milkolk a rengul; mekllomes a real, uklemesel.
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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
tutkwart on sole of foot; disease of kebui leaves.tutkpointer; pole (for picking fruit).
kobengodelvery strong current.kobengodelvery strong current.
maiscorn.maisblond.
bausmell; odor; scent.bekebau(cooked meat or fish, cooking pot, etc.) foul-smelling.
chemarsleak (in something like a boat or a bucket).chemars(boat, bucket, etc.) leaky; leaking.
bidokelhives.bidokel broken out in hives.
bobaipapaya tree (including fruit).bobaipapaya tree (including fruit).

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
ungil er a rengulfine or all right with.
ongemengemek a rengulongemengemek
medecherecher a rengul stubborn; adamant; not easily swayed.
beltik a rengulbetik a rengul
olturk a rengulsatiate; make someone give up (from fatigue); get one's fill of; insult continuously or mercilessly; let someone really have it.
meduch a rengulhard-working; conscientious; strong-willed; persevering.
bletengel a rengulnonchalance; laziness.

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