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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:

blsiich, v.r.s.adorned; decorated.
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bluchel, v.r.s.started; begun.
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bluit, v.r.s.(sugar cane) cut.
bluit a bliatel, mla obuit; mitii, muit, deb a nglai, bitel a deb.
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klisem, v.r.s.chopped with clam-shell axe.
klisem a ungil el chelduib; mla mekisem; delasech el mo meaiu; sumes a klisem er a ebakl el kim.
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nglidel, v.r.s.lifted out of water.
nglidel a mla mengidel; odoim a nglidel; ngidelii a ngikel; bub a nglidel.
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uldalem, v.r.s.(weapon) aimed; focused on or at.
uldalem a mla mudalem; melemalt el bedul ngii; biskang a uldalem el kirel a uel; omdalem er ngii.
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ulkes, v.r.s.tightened.
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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:

bekebekall, v.a.s.is to be gladdened or made happy.
bekebekall a kirel el obekebek, mekebekii a medal, rullii a rengul el mo ungil, mo diak le merur; omekebek er ngii, bekebekel.
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chelebodel, v.a.s.is to be hit or struck.
chelebodel a oleker a chelebed; kirel el mechelebed; cholebedii, cholebed, diak le chelbodel a chad; chelebedel.
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chesbecheball, v.a.s.(boat) is to have boards of frame put on.
chesbecheball a kirel el mechesbocheb, morngii a chesbocheb, chosbechebii a kboub, mengesbocheb.
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kldall, v.a.s.is to be pinched (with fingernails).
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odekiaol, v.a.s.are to be added together, unified or joined.
odekiaol a kirel el modak; oldak, uldak, odekiar, odak a kakerous el uldasu; reng a odekiaol, diak lodekial el chad.
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otutall, v.a.s.(spear, gun, etc.) is to be aimed at target; (law) is to be enforced; (fire) is to be lighted; (job) is to be started; is to be hooked.
otutall a kirel el motaut; otaut a llechul a rael, otutii a ngau, llechul a rael a otutall; otutel.
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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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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
besbastrash; rubbish; litter; debris.besbesiileasily litter.
mechasold woman; titled woman; foreign woman; male's father's sisters; girlfriend; wife.mechascoconut at later stage (between medecheduch and metau) when shell blackens and husk turns yellowish brown.
semumtrochus.semum having deformed fingers or toes.
bausmell; odor; scent.bekebau(cooked meat or fish, cooking pot, etc.) foul-smelling.
otekliklvertical support beam for buadel whose bottom end lis on imuul.otekliklvertical support beam for buadel whose bottom end lis on imuul.
chemanglarge sea or mangrove crab; Samoan crab.bekechemangsmell of crabs (after cooking or eating crabs).
idokeldirtiness; filthiness.idokel dirty; filthy.

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
sengok a rengulcurious.
merat a renguldeeply disappointed or hurt.
rengul a ngaisyolk of egg.
mekurt a rengul(someone's) feelings hurt.
berngel a rengulanything discouraging to one's spirit.
mechas a rengulbe surprised at.
mekikngit a rengulfeel rather sad or sorry about; rather mean or inconsiderate.

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