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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:

blengodel, v.r.s.put or held on or against.
blengodel a blenged.
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chelsiuch, v.r.s.having been given tortoise shell money.
chelsiuch a buchelsechal el mla nguu a chesuchel; mla mechesiuch.
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ilengel, v.r.s.halted or stopped from the side; headed off.
ilengel a ollumel el delasech el kerrekar, ilengel a mui er a ralm, klalo er a irechar.
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selais, v.r.s.deloused.
selais a mla mesais; mla mesiik e mengai; selais a bdelul; mesei a selais me ng diak a kukau.
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telbotb, v.r.s.(long object) divided or split into small pieces, strips.
telbotb a mla metbotb; tibetbii a olukl, melbotb a besebes; tibotb, tbetbel.
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telib, v.r.s.planned; arranged; decided on; determined.
telbiil a ultebechel; mla metib; tibir a urreor; tuib a omenged, melib a tekoi.
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uldum, v.r.s.made to appear.
uldum a mla modum; ulecholt, ngalek a uldum a bdelul er a daob; mla tmoech; odmii, odum, sils a uldum; odmil.
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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:

chechutel, v.a.s.is to be chewed on.
chechutel a deb me a ongchutel; menguchet a deb.
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chelebodel, v.a.s.is to be hit or struck.
chelebodel a oleker a chelebed; kirel el mechelebed; cholebedii, cholebed, diak le chelbodel a chad; chelebedel.
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keradel, v.a.s.is to be nibbled, munched or bitten.
keradel a kirel el mekard; mekiok, mengiok, kordii, bobai a keradel er a beab me a kiuid, kmard, kerdel a bobai.
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ochebecheball, v.a.s.is to be put upside down; is to be turned face down.
ochebecheball a kirel el mochebecheb; omechebecheb er a dengarech; mechebecheb a olekang; ochebechebel a olekang.
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okesebekill, v.a.s.(fingers) are to be snapped; (hands) are to be clapped.
okesebekill a kirel el mokesebakl; okesebakl a chimal; okesebeklii; okesebeklel.
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rekemall, v.a.s.is to be broken into pieces or smaller denomination; (money) is to be exchanged.
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sbungel, v.a.s.is to be snapped/pecked at; is to be harvested.
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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
tedobech(one) half.tedobech(one) half.
iluodelstones, coconut shells, or similar objects used as support for cooking pot during serving.iluodelstones, coconut shells, or similar objects used as support for cooking pot during serving.
ngikelfish.bekengikelsmell of fish.
butgenitals; anus; vagina; bottom (surface).bekebut(woman) having large buttocks or vagina; (man) having large buttocks.
bodechcurved configuration/shape of boat.bodechesausstanding erect/in ramrod fashion; standing with expanded chest.
chetaubrief rain squall.chetaubrief rain squall.
kldolsfatness; thickness.kedols(round object) fat, thick or wide. Commonly used to describe betelnuts and coconuts.

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
omech er a rengultake the edge of one's hunger.
meleolt a rengul(person) carefree or nonchalant; (person) not easily disturbed or content to let things happen as they may.
omai er a rengulhesitate; be unsure about.
checherd a rengulimpatient; fed up with.
ulserechakl a rengulcalm; unexcitable.
nguibes a renguldesirous of; lusting after.
obais a rengulget fed up with; become unable to cope with.

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