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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:

blibii, v.r.s.sorted out.
blibii a mla obibii; merurous, betok el blii, rrurous, omii, bingel.
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blult, v.r.s.turned over/inside out; translated.
blult a ulechero, mla obult, bellutel a bilel; mult, meltii a babier, beltel a bail.
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delilech, v.r.s.dipped (and removed from water).
delilech a mla medilech; ngar er a ralm; dellochel, selokel a delilech , dilechii, dmilech, delechel a selokel.
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ulchis, v.r.s.emptied.
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uldibsobs, v.r.s.filled to overflowing; poured out.
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ultamet, v.r.s.pulled at; drawn tight or taut.
ultamet a mla motamet; klurs; ert a ultamet el mong; mla otemetii, otamet a kerrekar, otemetel.
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ultuull, v.r.s.carried on the back; held behind the back; carrying (person, thing) on the back; holding (hands) behind the back.
ultuull a ultour; ultuull er a ngelekel, oltour er a til.
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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:

bkebukel, v.a.s.is to be peeled (off).
bkebukel a obibkobk; beot el mengai a budel, obibkobk, mkebkii, tuu a bkebukel el kall.
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chechutel, v.a.s.is to be chewed on.
chechutel a deb me a ongchutel; menguchet a deb.
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chesechaol, v.a.s.are to be threaded/strung; always wandering from house to house.
chesechaol a chad el soal el mengesuch; merael a blai, di omais el diak el ultebechel.
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kemedall, v.a.s.is to be sewn up.
kemedall a kirel el mekemed; melabek a mechut el klalo; komedii a bail, kuemed, kemedel a bail.
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lebeluul, v.a.s.(hands) are to be washed/dunked in water.
lebeluul a kirel el melebal; mellib; ngalek a lebeluul a chimal, lobelur, lobal, meriso, lebelul a chimal.
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odikall, v.a.s.is to be banished, exiled or sent away.
odikall a kirel el modik; odikii; tuobed er a delengchokl; odik, odkikel.
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tichall, v.a.s.is to be lighted or illuminated.
tichall a kirel el metuich; tuiechii a rael; tmuich a ngikel, tichel.
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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
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.
lebfuzz (on leaf) of plant (e.g.; sugar cane; grass); plant in coffee family; shyness.meleblebitchy; prickly; covered with fuzz of plant.
chermallhibiscus (bark used as a rope; leaves used as mulch for taro).chermall having vagina which lubricates quickly.
tutkwart on sole of foot; disease of kebui leaves.tutk (kebui leaves) diseased.
tedobech(one) half.tedobechhalf-filled; crazy; irrational.
chemaiongdragonfly.chemaiong prone to moving from one boyfriend or girlfriend to another.
martilionghammer.martilionghammer.

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
melai er a rengulpersuade.
diak lemesim a rengulstick to one's convictions; not change one's mind.
chelimimuul a rengulchelimimii a rengul
mechese a rengulbecoming surprised.
medul a renguldisgusted with.
kesib a rengulangry.
rrau a rengulconfused/puzzled by/about.

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