Quick links:

Palauan Pronouns

Note about this page: this is a short attempt to list some of the simple rules for Palauan pronouns. For a much longer and comprehensive explanation, please refer to Lewis Josephs' definitive Palauan grammar book.

According to this website, English has at least these following types of pronouns: personal, relative, demonstrative, indefinite, reflexive, interrogative, and possessive pronouns. As such, this page attempts to list the corresponding Palauan pronouns for these same types.

Personal pronouns

Here are the personal pronouns for both English and Palaun:
English Personal PronounsPalauan Personal Pronouns
SingularPluralSingularPlural
First Person I, mewe, us ngak, akkid, kede
kemam, aki
Second Person youyou kau, kekemui, kom
Third Person he, him, she, her, itthey, them ngii, ngtir, te

There are at least a few differences:

Relative pronouns

The English relative pronouns include the following:that, which, who, whom, whose, whichever, whoever, whomever.

The Palauan relative pronouns include the following: ngara, keskelel, ker, keltang, oingarang, se el, se er a, techa, tela.

Demonstrative pronouns

The English demonstrative pronouns are that, this, those, and these. They are split by count (i.e. singular or plural) and by distance from the speaker (i.e. near or far). For these four English pronouns, there are 16 Palauan equivalents which further split by distance from listener and by human, animal, or thing. Here is a table showing both the English and Palauan demonstrative pronouns:

CountDstnc SpkrDstnc LstnrDescribes
this sing nearn/a any
that sing far n/a any
these plur nearn/a any
those plur far n/a any
tiang sing nearnear thing
tiei sing nearfar thing
tilechang sing far near thing
sei sing far far thing
ngikang sing nearnear human,animal
ngilei sing nearfar human,animal
ngilechang sing far near human,animal
ngikei sing far far human,animal
aikang plur nearnear thing,animal
ailei plur nearfar thing,animal
ailechang plur far near thing,animal
aikei plur far far thing,animal
tirkang plurnearnear human
tirelei plurnearfar human
tirilechang plurfar near human
tirkei plurfar far human

Some observations about the Palauan demonstrative pronouns:

  • The singular forms group humans and animals together but keep things separate.
  • The plural forms group animals and things together but keep humans separate.
  • This organization shows some identifying suffix patterns:
    • The ti- stem identifies the singular thing form.
    • The ngi- stem identifies the singular human,animal forms.
    • The ai- stem identifies the plural thing,animal forms.
    • The tir- stem identfies the plural human forms.
    • sei does not fit the above patterns.

A different organization along the distance axes reveals identifying patterns in the suffixes:

CountDstnc SpkrDstnc LstnrDescribes
tiang sing nearnear thing
ngikang sing nearnear human,animal
aikang plur nearnear thing,animal
tirkang plurnearnear human
tiei sing nearfar thing
ngilei sing nearfar human,animal
ailei plur nearfar thing,animal
tirelei plurnearfar human
tilechang sing far near thing
ngilechang sing far near human,animal
ailechang plur far near thing,animal
tirilechang plurfar near human
sei sing far far thing
ngikei sing far far human,animal
aikei plur far far thing,animal
tirkei plurfar far human

More observations about the Palauan demonstrative pronouns:

  • The -(k)ang suffix is for near, near
  • The -lei suffix is for near, far
  • The -lechang suffix is for far, near
  • The -kei- suffix is for far, far
  • sei and tiei do not fit this pattern

Indefinite pronouns

The English relative pronouns include the following: anybody, anyone, anything, each, either, everybody, everyone, everything, neither, nobody, no one, nothing, one, somebody, someone, something, both, few, many, several, all, any, most, none, some.

Some Palauan equivalents are ngdiak a tal chad, bekel, ngii di el chad, rokir, rokiu, ngdiak a ngarang, kesai, bebil, oumesingd.

Reflexive pronouns

The English reflexive pronouns include the following: myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves.

There are no Palauan equivalents. To express a similar idea, the word di is typically used. E.g. Ng di mle ngak el sobekak. translates figuratively to "I kicked myself."

Interrogative pronouns

The English interrogative pronouns include the following: what, who, which, when, why, whom, whose, how.

Some Palauan equivalents include the following: ngerang, techang, mekesakl, oingarang, engerang, makerang, ngara meng, ngara uchul, keskelel, kuskelii.

Possessive pronouns

The English possessive pronouns include the following: my, your, his, her, its, our, their, mine, yours, his, hers, ours, theirs.

Palaun possessive pronouns do not typically exist as independent words but rather as suffixes on nouns. Please refer to the nouns grammar page for more information. For foreign words, however, possession uses the linking work er and an emphatic personal pronoun (e.g. chert er kau).

Affix pronouns

Both Palauan nouns and verbs can have pronoun stems affixed as a prefix identifing the subject. Verbs can additionally have pronouns as a suffix identifying the object. Examples:

Here is a list of affix pronouns:
paleng
kisecond person plural exclusive affix.
do-we (including you).
du-we (including you).
-edour (including you).
-eiused in terms of address such as chedei, ngelekei, merrengei, ochellei.
-ekmy.
-emyour.
-emamour (excluding your).
-emamus (excluding you).
-emiuyou (plural).
-erirtheir.
-idour (including your).
-idus (including you).
-ikmy.
-ilhis; her; its; their (non-human).
-imyour (singular).
-irtheir (human).
-irhim; her; it.
-iuyour (plural).
ki-we (excluding you).
-kidus (including you).
kimo-we (excluding you).
kimu-we (excluding you).
ku-I.
m-you.
cho-you (plural).
chome-you.
chomo-you.
chomu-you.
re-used to indicate a plurality of people.
-rirtheir.
-udour (including your).
-ukmy.
-ulhis; her; its; their.
-umyour.
-urhim; her; it.
-adour.
-akme; my.
-alhis; her; its; their.
-amyour; our.
-anghim; her; it.
-arhim; her; it.
-auyou.
-mamour (excluding your).
-miuyour (plural).
mo-you.
mu-you.
-terirthem.
ou-used to signify owning, possessing, or using something.
me-used to modify a state verb to indicate that it is describing more than one thing.
o-used to convert a verb into an action noun.
rechi-used to indicate a group of people from a particular country or of a particular ethnicity.

WARN Table 'belau.log_bots' doesn't exist
INSERT INTO log_bots (page,ip,agent,user,proxy) VALUES ('pronouns.php','54.162.108.167','CCBot/2.0 (http://commoncrawl.org/faq/)','','')