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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:

blusekl, v.r.s.covered with someone's legs while sleeping.
blusekl a mla obusekl; museklii, musekl, omusekl.
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chelat, v.r.s.praised.
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cheleech, v.r.s.(ingredients for betel nut chewing) supplemented with tobacco.
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delidiich, v.r.s.shined upon; lighted up.
delidiich a mla medidiich; mocholt a kotel me a chelebulel; delidiich er a meteet, melidiich er ngii; didichel.
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nglemiakl, v.r.s.climbed on.
nglemiakl a mla mengemiakl; mla melemiakl er ngii; buuch a ngimeklel.
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nglukl, v.r.s.transported; moved; hit; smashed into or against.
nglukl a mla mengukl; nglai el mo er a kuk ngodech; blai a nglukl el mo er a cheroid; nguklii; ngklel.
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teloadel, v.r.s.(sardines) caught between prongs of spear; split or divided (naturally); (tongue) forked.
teloadel a telaod; telaod a rengul a betok a uldesuel.
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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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debongel, v.a.s.is to be interrupted or killed.
debongel a kirel el medeb; meterob; dobengii a kemanget e . blelekl el cheldecheduch, dueb a klautok er a blai.
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kekuul, v.a.s.is to be pinched; having long nails or claws.
kekuul a kirel el mekuk; kukur, menguk er ngii, kmuk a otengel; diak le kekuul a ngalek.
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ongeltall, v.a.s.is to be sunk (into soft ground).
ongeltall a olsiseb er a chelsel, kirel el mongelt, dait a ongeltall er a chutem, ongeltii.
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osesall, v.a.s.is to be squeezed or pressed.
osesall a kirel el mouet; kirel el moseos, omeseos, lius a osesall, meseos; omet, osesel a lius.
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otematel, v.a.s.is to be pulled at; is to be drawn tight/taut.
otematel a kirel el motamet, kirel el mekurs; oltamet a kerrekar, kursii, otemetii a chimal, otemetel.
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rtangel, v.a.s.is to be pounded, smashed or crushed.
rtangel a kirel el merot; medal a biskang a rtangel, rotengii, remot.
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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
chetbaelelephantiasis.chetbaelelephantiasis.
chemadechcoconut sap.chemadech (plant) unripe or green; (food) raw or uncooked; be in full standing position when dancing; brand new.
chullrain; rainy season.chullrain; rainy season.
olechutellarge bamboo raftolechutel(boat, person) slow-moving
chemarsleak (in something like a boat or a bucket).chemars(boat, bucket, etc.) leaky; leaking.
chemaiongdragonfly.chemaiong prone to moving from one boyfriend or girlfriend to another.
ngerachelduty; responsibility.bekengerachelresponsible; always attentive to one's duties or obligations.

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
bletengel a rengulnonchalance; laziness.
doaoch a rengulindecisive; fickle; inconsistent; prone to changing one's mind.
betik a rengulhaving a deep feeling or affection for; love.
ungial a rengulhappiness; joy.
outekangel er a rengulpersevere; force (oneself) to do something.
mesbesubed er a rengulprepare someone (psychologically) for something; pave the way for more serious discussion with someone; inform gradually or indirectly.
mekngit er a rengulnot good for; not all right with.

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