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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:

chelisngull, v.r.s.(face) frowning; vexed; offended.
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chelsoim, v.r.s.turned; wound; screwed.
chelsoim a mla mechesoim; chosimii a seraub, chosoim a ralm, chesimel.
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rrenged, v.r.s.(long object) tied together; joined.
rrenged a rrengodel; llechet, mla merenged; ebakl a rrenged.
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rrus, v.r.s.pierced; stabbed; injected; inoculated.
rrus a mla merus; rrus a ulkel er a oles; rusur, remus, rsul a ulk.
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selauch, v.r.s.broken off; (child) carried at side with legs astraddle.
selauch a mla mesauch; nglai, buuch a selauch, souchii, smauch, suchel.
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teliu, v.r.s.carried with arm bent out and up; (card) drawn or picked.
teliu a telkool; mla metiu; tmiu a bilel, tiungar a ngelekel; meliu a ditel; tiungal a ngalek.
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ultutk, v.r.s.(plant) supported by stick put into ground; (site of house, etc.) marked with sticks and string.
ultutk a mla mututk; mla locha ututk; ngar er ngii a ututkel; mtetkii a omekedecheraol; mtutk a dellomel, utetkel.
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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:

berudall, v.a.s.is to be torn/pulled off.
berudall a kirel el oberuud; merudii, meruud a chesimer, berudel.
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betachel a rengul, v.a.s.is to be pleased/satisfied/appeased; content.
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chesemall, v.a.s.(mouth) is to be wiped; (hands) are to be wiped of dirt, food, etc.
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odirekerekall, v.a.s.is to be overdone.
odirekerekall a kirel el mo direkorek; oldirekorek; oisur; betok; mo medeel, cheleberochel a uldirekorek el kall.
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oremoll, v.a.s.is to be urged or forced.
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terebengall, v.a.s.is to be turned face or top down; is to be stopped.
terebengall a omosech; kirel el meterob; torebengii a omerael; torob a osisebel a mekngit el kar; terebengel.
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ukdektall, v.a.s.is to be frightened or scared.
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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
dechudechdirt; mud; patching material; filling (for cavity).dechudech dirty; muddy.
lebfuzz (on leaf) of plant (e.g., sugar cane; grass); plant in coffee family; shyness.meleblebitchy; prickly; covered with fuzz of plant.
kudlouse.kdaolinfested with lice.
cheisechpermanent stain.cheisechpermanent stain.
cherouwhite mushroom; white scar.cherouwhite mushroom; white scar.
otekliklvertical support beam for buadel whose bottom end lis on imuul.oteklikllying down with feet in air.
bisechwild taro (makes mouth itchy).bisech(person) easily aroused sexually.

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
orreked er a rengulrestrain or control (oneself) (esp., from showing anger).
omatek er a rengul restrain ones desire to do something; keep ones desire(s) to oneself.
kedidai a rengulstubborn; scornful; condescending.
bliochel a rengulsincere; open-minded.
kersos a rengulyearning; anxious (to see).
ulserechakl a rengulcalm; unexcitable.
melemlim a rengulCurious, prying, snoopy, inquisitive, nosy.

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