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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:

bled, v.r.s.(ball; etc.) caught; grabbed; (money) borrowed.
bled a mla obed; medir a bduu, bedeel
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ilsechem, v.r.s.held or grasped firmly.
ilsechem a orreked; ilsechomel, isechemii a udoud, isechem a kar, isechemel.
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selubed, v.r.s.(coconut tree) has cut re-opened to re-initiate sap flow.
selubed a mla mesubed; suubed a ilaot; subedii; sbedel a ilaot.
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ulekdinges, v.r.s.made full; satisifed.
ulekdinges a ungil el ulekang; chuodel a kldmokl e medinges; diak el sengerenger; mla mukdinges; ukdngesel.
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ulkeed, v.r.s.brought near.
See also:
ulsechomel, v.r.s.hiding in fear; cowering in fear; (bird with) folded wings (due to fear).
More Examples:
> The boy is hiding in his house because the police are looking for him.
> That bird is cowering with folded wings.
ulsiu, v.r.s.(drawer, suitcase, etc.) closed; (clothes) have seam sewn; (fire) fed; (people) incited to fight.
ulsiu a ulsikm; blutek; mla mosiu; ulsiu a berdel a ngerel.
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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:

betekall, v.a.s.is to be shut or closed.
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dengesekill, v.a.s.(person or thing) is to be put under a spell.
dengesekill a kirel el medengesakl; kirel medebeakl; dongeseklii er a chelid, omelengesakl a rechad a mekull; dengeseklel.
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diberdall, v.a.s.is to be laid crosswise.
diberdall kirel el medbard; diak le llemolem; mo delbard, diberdii a bambuu er a rael el melenget.
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ngimersall, v.a.s.is to be extracted; is to be picked or pulled out.
ngimersall a kirel el mengmors; melmors a ochur; ngimersii a kot, ngimors, ngimersel.
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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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sbochel, v.a.s.(branches, etc.) are to be broken off.
sbochel a kirel el mesibech; mengai el mei er eou; rechelel a iedel a sbochel, sibechii, suibech a rachel, sbechel
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techekill, v.a.s.is to be inserted (and held firmly).
techekill a kirel el metichekl; ticheklii, melichekl er ngii, ko er a delibuk; ticheklel a chui.
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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
uidglue; resin; fuel for lamp.muduidsticky; adhesive.
bausmell; odor; scent.bekebausmell of vagina.
tutaumorning; this morning.tutaumorning; this morning.
bukcorner; angle; joint; node.bkebkuulhaving many nodes; rough-edged; (shin of leg) have bumpy surface.
bekngiukmold; (food) moldy/mildewed.bekngiukmold; (food) moldy/mildewed.
bisechwild taro (makes mouth itchy).bisechwild taro (makes mouth itchy).
mechasold woman; titled woman; foreign woman; male's father's sisters; girlfriend; wife.mechasold woman; titled woman; foreign woman; male's father's sisters; girlfriend; wife.

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
temetel a rengulpleasing of one's heart.
kekere a renguluncomfortable; impatient.
merael a rengulindecisive.
meringel a rengulfeel bad about (something wasted); (something wasted) arouse sympathy; (something valuable) wasted.
telecherakl a rengulstubborn; obsessed; determined.
mekngit a rengulfeel sorry/sad about; mean; inconsiderate.
raud a rengulvariable; indecisive.

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