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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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cheleuid, v.r.s.confused; mistaken; erred.
cheleuid a diak le ngii a merang; ngodech el diak lemera el rolel, mecheuid er a belsechel a skuul, cheludul.
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delbard, v.r.s.laid crosswise; perpendicular; (speech, behavior) inappropriate.
delbard a diak el llemolem; ka el melemalt, tochedesuch, tbard, kerrekar a delbard er a rael, diberdel.
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seleches, v.r.s.pecked at.
seleches a kerriu; kliok; bobai a seleches er a kiuid, sichesii; smeches.
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telebenged, v.r.s.(female) having had sexual intercourse from rear.
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ulkako, v.r.s.teased.
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ultab, v.r.s.placed on raised surface; hindered or delayed temporarily; seated (in doorway) with legs dangling outside; sitting down for a short time.
ultab a mla motab; diak el lerrekui; otebengii; dirkak lebo el merek; otab, otebengel a cheldecheduch; ultab a diak le meketeket el dengchokl; ak di ultab er a tuangel; otebengii e olengull, otab a klebngel; otebengel.
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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:

bechall, v.a.s.(long object) is to be thrown.
bechall a kirel el oboech; uloech a bechall. mechii, moech a biskang, bechel.
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dibkaol, v.a.s.is to be tied into knot.
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ngemull, v.a.s.(grass; garden; yard; etc.) is to be cut.
ngemull a kirel el mengaml; ngomlii a mekesokes, nguaml a rael, melaml; ngemlel.
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ongesekill, v.a.s.is to be controlled, reduced, limited.
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sbedall, v.a.s.(coconut tree) is to have cut re-opened to re-initiate sap flow.
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titiuul, v.a.s.is to be rolled.
titiuul a kirel el metitai; melitai er ngii; titiuul a bduu.
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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
brakgiant yellow swamp taro.brakgiant yellow swamp taro.
rubakelder; old man; chief; foreign man; boyfriend; husband.bekerubaksmell like an old man.
chermallhibiscus (bark used as a rope; leaves used as mulch for taro).chermallcheromel
silssun; day.bekesils(boys) smell sweaty or gamey (after perspiring in sun).
ngelloklnodding; dozing (off).olengelloklnod when sleepy; doze off.
iudoraiburent-a-car; U-drive car.iudoraibu (woman) loose or fast.
bausmell; odor; scent.bekebau(cooked meat or fish, cooking pot, etc.) foul-smelling.

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
omal er a rengulastonish; amaze; impress; cause admiration.
moalech a renguldisappointed; dismayed.
olengasech er a rengulmake or get (someone) angry.
checherd a rengulimpatient; fed up with.
komeklii a rengul(person) controlling themselves; (person) holding their tongue.
olsarech er a rengulhold in or control emotions, anger etc.
klou er a renguldetermined.

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