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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:

blelekl, v.r.s.repeated; revived.
blelekl a mla obelekl; meleklii, dulii e lmuut e lmuut; blelekl a cheldechedechal.
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blodech, v.r.s.picked up with fingers.
blodech a mla obodech; nglai er a cheldengelel a chim, medechii, modech, bedechel.
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nglubet, v.r.s.(clothes etc.) taken off; pulled out; freed; absolved.
nglubet a ngelbatel; mla mengubet; ultelechakl a nglubet er a rechorech.
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telamet, v.r.s.straightened out.
telamet a mla metamet; telematel, tometii a rengul; tuamet a chebirukel; temetel a reng.
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ulekbat, v.r.s.(something) hidden or hard to find.
ulekbat a meringel el osiik; bulis a omekbat er a olsiseb mekngit el kar er a Belau; ulekbat er a milosii a president; mla mukbat.
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ulekmad, v.r.s.(debt) repaid; (favor) returned.
ulekmad a mla mukmad; mla mekmad a bled el udoud; ukmedal.
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ulngeasek, v.r.s.controlled, reduced, or limited particular action or behavior; slowed down or did limit conversation.
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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:

dbaol, v.a.s.is to be bombed or dynamited.
dbaol a kirel el medub er a dub; melub, klou el risois a dbaol, dubar, duub, omriid er ngii el oba dub.
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ngebtall, v.a.s.(newborn baby) is to have membrane washed off.
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ongebetall, v.a.s.is to be pushed under water; (wick of lamp) is to be turned down.
ongebetall a kirel el mongebeet; mo kekerei e mo er eou; olengebeet a ngeriu er a seked.
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ongengetall, v.a.s.is to be lowered or demoted; is to be held or kept back.
ongengetall a kirel el mo er eou; mo er a uriul; monganget, mesaik a ongengetall a ududel el mo rredemelel a urrereel; ongengetel.
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orolall, v.a.s.(animal) is to be led; (boat, car etc.) is to be driven.
orolall a oreall, orolel.
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sebsall, v.a.s.is to be sprinkled, sprayed or watered.
sebsall a sbukl; kirel el mesubs; suubs a dellomel, subsii, melubs er a ralm; sebsel.
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tebidall, v.a.s.(lantern, etc.) is to be turned on.
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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
ngulasthma.ngulasthma.
mudechvomit.bekemudechsmell of vomit.
tutaumorning; this morning.tutauPalau morning bird.
uesvision; sight; view.sekoesperceptive; sharp-minded; acute; sensitive; aware of one's responsibilities or surroundings; capable of looking at something thoroughly or seeing all the angles and possibilities.
kemangetlength (of string, etc.) which exceeds what is needed or expected.kemangetlength (of string, etc.) which exceeds what is needed or expected.
chaziflavor, taste.chazitasty.
besbastrash; rubbish; litter; debris.besbesiileasily litter.

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
melechang a llechul a rengulteach (someone) a lesson.
mekngit er a rengulnot good for; not all right with.
mechitechut a rengulweak willed; unmotivated; easily discouraged.
milkolk a rengul(person is) stupid.
ngellitel a rengulchoosy.
betik a rengulhaving a deep feeling or affection for; love.
rengul a kerrekarcenter/core of tree.

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