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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:

blodk, v.r.s.cut; slit; operated on.
blodk a mla obodk; medkii, omodk, smecher a blodk a delel, bedkel.
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blutek, v.r.s.shut; closed.
blutek a mla obutek; ulsiu, mutek, mtekii, blutek a medal, btekel.
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delik, v.r.s.supported; propped up; placed in a particular location.
delik a mla medik; loia chiull e a smecher a ultuil er ngii, dikir, dmik, smecher a delik er a dik, dkel; delik a kldoel, kled, kall a delik er a tebel, dikir a tet er a ulaol, melik er a til er a ulaol.
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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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selab, v.r.s.snapped or pecked at.
selab a klebungl er ngii; mesab er a kall; sobngii, suab, bilis a selab er a kelel, sebngel; seleches.
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telemotem, v.r.s.(trees, land etc.) cleared.
telemotem a oreomel el meukel a kerrekar er ngii me ng mededaes.
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uliitel, v.r.s.(liquid) poured (into container).
uliitel a mla moitel; mla mochubel; ilumel a uliitel er a kob; oitelii a ralm; oitel a ilumel; olechubel; oitelel.
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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:

chemedongall, v.a.s.are to be welcomed or called together.
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chetimall, v.a.s.is to be smeared or spread on.
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chiechall, v.a.s.is to be drilled or bored into.
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ochebiil, v.a.s.is to be deflected or avoided; (teeth of saw) are to be restored.
ochebiil a kirel el mochib; diak msbechii er ngii; oiur, olechib er ngii; imiit er ngii; ochebir a uetech.
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rederdall, v.a.s.is to be stepped on; (bicycle) is to be peddled.
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sudall, v.a.s.is to be erased; is to be dried or wiped off.
sudall a mesesusuud; ulechel a kim a sudall; suedii, smuud.
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tekiungel, v.a.s.needs to be talked to; (person) is being talked about (because of bad behavior, etc.).
tekiungel a kirel el mo er ngii a tekoi; soadel er a beluu, tekiungel er a beluu er a omengubs.el sers.
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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
besbastrash; rubbish; litter; debris.besbesiileasily litter.
meduumale genitals (large).meduu(testicles) swollen; (pig) having testicles/uncastrated.
kudlouse.kdaolinfested with lice.
dechuswart; mole.dechus having warts.
chermallhibiscus (bark used as a rope; leaves used as mulch for taro).chermall having vagina which lubricates quickly.
tebullswelling; earth mound.tebullbulging, hanging.
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
bekongesengasech a renguleasily angered; excitable.
merat a renguldeeply disappointed or hurt.
urrengulelurungulel
outekangel er a rengulpersevere; force (oneself) to do something.
ngodech er a rengulfind something strange, different or suspicious.
llemesel a rengulhis/her/its intelligence.
kngtil a rengul(someone's) being mean or feeling sad or frustrated.

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