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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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chelarm, v.r.s.tasted.
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seledem, v.r.s.propositioned; proposed.
seledem a mla mesedem; te seledem er a omenged; sodemii er a klsau; kesedem; sedemel.
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selongd, v.r.s.combed; (chain, cord, etc.) broken.
selongd a mla mesongd; songdii; smongd; bdelul a ungil el selongd, sengdel.
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selumk, v.r.s.(hair) pulled out; torn out
selumk a mla mesumk; mla sumkii a sechelil er a klaibedechakl; suumk a chiul.
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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:

bsusall, v.a.s.is to be expanded or made to swell.
bsusall a kirel el obsuus; msusii, msuus a blauang, bkukall, bsusel.
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chedool, v.a.s.is to be roofed.
chedool a lechengaol a chado er ngii; locha chado er a blai, chodeuii, chemado, mengado er ngii, chedouel.
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deratel, v.a.s.(taro, etc.) is to be scraped; (cord, etc.) is to be cut through; (relationship) is to be broken off.
deratel a kirel medort; kukau a deratel, merort a kukau, dmort a kukau, dertel.
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osiaol, v.a.s.(drawer, suitcase, etc.) is to be closed; (clothes) are to have seam sewn; (fire) is to be fed.
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otebengall, v.a.s.is to be placed on raised surface.
otebengall a kirel el motab; oltab er a remeleboteb, otebengii e merolung, otebengel.
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sechaol, v.a.s.is to be jerked/pulled.
sechaol a kirel el mesuch; suchar a chimal, smuch, diak el sechaol a chimal a ngalek e le ng moudach.
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toadel, v.a.s.(sardines) are to be caught between prongs of a spear.
taodel a kirel el metaod; tmaod a mekebud, tmodii a kall, melaod, todel.
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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.

teberoishin; (large, triangle-shaped) coconut candy.teberoishin; (large, triangle-shaped) coconut candy.
kamangsickle.kamangtwisted, crippled.
bodechcurved configuration/shape of boat.obodechcurved; (person) having back curved towards rear.
kemimstarfruit.mekemimsour; acidic; spoiled (from having turned sour).
bausmell; odor; scent.bekebau(cooked meat or fish, cooking pot, etc.) foul-smelling.
uidfruit that has fallen off the tree on its own.udall(fishnet) is to be pulled in.
bodechcurved configuration/shape of boat.bodechesausstanding erect/in ramrod fashion; standing with expanded chest.

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:

omatek er a rengul restrain ones desire to do something; keep ones desire(s) to oneself.
mesbesubed er a rengulprepare someone (psychologically) for something; pave the way for more serious discussion with someone; inform gradually or indirectly.
outekangel er a rengulpersevere; force (oneself) to do something.
oubuch a rengultreat person as if he or she were one's spouse.
moded a rengul(person is) easygoing/even-tempered.
ouuchel er a rengulregret.
seselk a rengulbored; impatient.

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