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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:

bleng, v.r.s.covered with hand; stopped up.
bleng a mla obeng, metenget; telenget, mengir a ngerel, bleng a telil.
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blengodel, v.r.s.put or held on or against.
blengodel a blenged.
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chelab, v.r.s.has ashes put on it.
chelab a mla mechab; ngar ngii a chab, chobur, chuab, sers a chelab, chebul.
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cheltakl, v.r.s.held/led by the hand.
cheltakl a mla mechetakl; chotakl, choteklii a til, mengetakl a ngikel, cheteklel.
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cherroakl, v.r.s.(fish) speared again.
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rreterot, v.r.s.pounded or smashed in several places.
rretrot a mla merterot; betok el rrot, roterot, rotengii, rtengel.
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ultechakl, v.r.s.intimated; insinuated; stuck (on beach against dock, etc.) after floating ashore; staying in another house or village.
ultechakl a mla motechakl; diall a mla oberius el mei motechakl er a chelmoll; metecheklii otecheklel. Delengchokl me a lechub eng chad el mo ultuil er a ta er a delengchokl e leng chelitechetul a delengcheklel, el omid a ngamk e chui el klauchad.
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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:

bedechall, v.a.s.is to be picked up with fingers.
bedechall a kirel el obodech, medechii a odoim, modech a kall el olab a cheldingel.
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bedesall, v.a.s.(fish) is to be boiled in water; (tongue) is to be cut.
bedesall a mereched el mo marek, modes a ngikel, bedakl el diokang.
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cheterechall, v.a.s.is to be neglected or abused.
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chimkemkall, v.a.s.is to be covered over with (blanket, clothes, leave, etc.); (forest) choked with vegetation (and difficult to pass through).
chimkemkall a kirel el mechimkomk; dokedekii, medekedek, imkemkii a smecher er a bar, mengimkomk, chimkemkel.
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kekedall, v.a.s.(debt) is to be paid.
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orretall, v.a.s.is to be made to run.
orretall a kirel el morurt; skuul er a kldachelbai a orretall, orretii el mo ungil, orurt a osisechakl er a usaso, orretel.
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sisiochel, v.a.s.is to be strengthened.
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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
besokelringworm.besokelringworm.
besokelringworm.besokelinfected with ringworm.
chaseborash.chaseborash.
teberoishin; (large, triangle-shaped) coconut candy.teberoibow-legged.
tebullswelling; earth mound.tebullswelling; earth mound.
bausmell; odor; scent.bekebausmell of vagina.
dechuswart; mole.dechus having warts.

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
rengul a cheluch dregs of coconut oil.
ilkelkel a rengulhis stupidity.
olsebek er a rengulworry (unintentionally); startle.
komeklii a rengul(person) controlling themselves; (person) holding their tongue.
ukab er a rengul(something sentimental) arouses one's emotions (touch someone's figurative heart).
selorech a rengulcondescending.
mereng er a rengulplease; go along with (so as not to hurt feelings).

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