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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:

cheldull, v.r.s.collected; assembled.
cheldull a chelludel; uldak el rokui; mla mechudel; mengudel, chedelel.
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delebachel, v.r.s.chopped down.
delebachel a mla medobech; delobech er a kedorm, melobech, dobechii, duobech a ngikel, debechel.
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rrederad, v.r.s.(flowers, etc.) picked here and there.
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selarech, v.r.s.stepped on; toured or visited.
selarech a mla mesarech; toluk a selarech, serechel a cheluib.
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ulenganged, v.r.s.seduced; titillated; lowered by sliding.
ulenganged a mla monganged; ultorech el me er eou; chutem a ulenganged el mei er a rael; ngengedel
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ulkebekabes, v.r.s.hanging or dangling continually.
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ultak, v.r.s.carried aboard; transported in vehicle.
ultak a ultekiall; mla motak; kldoel er bebul; medechel er a bab, otak a babier, ultak er a mlai, otekil.
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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:

bikall, v.a.s.is to be raised/outstretched.
bikall a kirel el oboik; meluoik er ngii el mo deluoik, lild a bikall.
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chemekill, v.a.s.(object which is stuck) is to be freed by inserting lever and prying; (person) is to be tripped or thrown by putting lever (e.g., stick, leg) between his legs.
chemekill a kirel el mechemekl; chomeklii, chomekl a kerrekar.
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osongel, v.a.s.is to be seen or looked at.
osongel a kirel el moes; mes a ngloik, omes a ruk, smecher a mo er a osongel; osengel.
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otemengall, v.a.s.is to be poked/stuck out.
otemengall a kirel el motom; olecholt, otom a mederir er a urreor, otom a mederir er a mechesang, otemeel.
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rsoal, v.a.s.is to be washed or rinsed off.
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terudall, v.a.s.is to be broken, torn or smashed down; is to be taken apart.
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urelmall, v.a.s.(clothes) are to be rinsed.
urelmall a kirel el muralm; omralm, mralm a selokel, mrelmii a klengoes, urelmel.
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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
chedechuulknack/magical power for doing things; blueprint; plan (for house, bai, etc).chedechuulknack/magical power for doing things; blueprint; plan (for house, bai, etc).
ureorwork; job; task.bekureorwork a lot; hard-working; diligent.
bisechwild taro (makes mouth itchy).bisechwild taro (makes mouth itchy).
uidfruit that has fallen off the tree on its own.udallis to be glued or pasted.
kimtype of large clam; female genitals.bekekimsmell of clams (after cleaning or cooking clams).
chetaubrief rain squall.chetaubrief rain squall.
dechuswart; mole.dechusplant in nettle family.

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
diak lemesim a rengulstick to one's convictions; not change one's mind.
bekokuii a rengulkind; generous.
merael a rengulindecisive.
betachel a rengulis to be pleased/satisfied/appeased; content.
mengeokl er a rengulburden; bother; cause concern; weigh on.
milkolk a rengul(person is) stupid.
oltamet er a rengulpull at someone's heartstrings; mean a lot to someone.

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