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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:

chelebingel, v.r.s.(fruit) picked or plucked.
chelebingel a nglai; mla mechib, chibngii, chuib a buuch, mengib, chebngel
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delort, v.r.s.(taro, etc.) scraped; (cord, etc.) cut through; (relationship) broken off.
delort a mla medort; delebes; dortii a kebui; dmort a besebes, chebechiil a delort, dertel.
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kliis, v.r.s.(ground) dug/scratched in (by chicken); opened or unlocked; (clock, watch) wound.
kliis a mla mekiis; kliokl; debull a kliis, kiesii el mo delluchel, kmiis, mengiis, kisel a debull.
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telebtib, v.r.s.broken up into small pieces.
telebtib a mla metebtib; tibtib a kall; meruul el mo mekekerei; melebtib, tebtib, tbetbil.
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telemetamel, v.r.s.(trees; land; etc.) cleared.
telemetamel a telemotem; mededaes, mla metemotem; tometemii a rael; tomotem a oreomel, temetemel.
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ulekellakl, v.r.s.held on slant or at angle.
ulekellak a dkois; turekorek, tingoi a ochil a ulekellak a omerolel; olekang a ulekellak.
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ulengasech, v.r.s.raised; sued; ascended.
ulengasech a mla mongasech; ongesechii a bilas; kloi; ongasech a banderang; ongesechel.
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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:

chuomel, v.a.s.is to be wrapped in leaves or betel nut fiber and baked.
chuomel a kirel el mechuum, chuemii, chuum a ngikel.
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dedesall, v.a.s.(place) is to be cleared.
dedesall a kirel el mo mededaes; dmedesii, blai a dedesall diak le chelimeluk, dmedaes.
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demedemekall, v.a.s.is to be softened, weakened, tenderized or calmed.
demedemakall a ruoll el mo medemedemek; ngeliokl el brak a demedemekall, domedemekii, domedemek, demedemekel.
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semikel, v.a.s.is to be husked by hand.
semikel a kirel el mesamk; mengai a semkel; kukau a semikel; semikel a klalo el betok a semkel; semsemikel.
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techemekill, v.a.s.is to be stuffed or crammed.
techemekill a okekael; kirel el mo mui; metechemakl; mekekii, mekeek, techemekill a kliokl el chutem.
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ukdektall, v.a.s.is to be frightened or scared.
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ukrengall, v.a.s.is to be guided, advised or led.
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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
chuisworm; maggot.bederechuis(starchy food) spoiled (by water); decomposing or moldy.
martilionghammer.martiliongclumsy; ungraceful; untalented; (person) blunt or hard-hitting (in his words).
rirfallen leaves of kebui.merir(leaves) yellow.
bisechwild taro (makes mouth itchy).bisechwild taro (makes mouth itchy).
kobengodelvery strong current.kobengodelvery strong current.
otordblunt-headed parrot fish.otordblunt-headed parrot fish.
berechsmell of raw fish.bekeberechsmell of the sea or raw fish.

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
olsarech er a rengulhold in or control emotions, anger etc.
mesbesubed er a rengulprepare someone (psychologically) for something; pave the way for more serious discussion with someone; inform gradually or indirectly.
omichoech a rengul(stomach) grumble, talk or gurgle (especially from hunger); (person) feel excited.
mechedeng a rengulget surprised, puzzled or perplexed (by someone's behavior, etc.).
seitak a rengul(person is) very choosy; picky.
chelimimuul a rengulchelimimii a rengul
bletengel a rengulnonchalance; laziness.

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