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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:

cheltelaol, v.r.s.made drunk.
cheltelaol a chetelaol, ulekoad er a rrom, cheltiruir er a chemachel.
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selmesumech, v.r.s.bidden farewell; given divorce payment; refused gracefully.
selmesumech a mla mesmesumech; buch a diak el selmesumech; diak a olmesmechel; mla merael.
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telemtam, v.r.s.chewed.
telemtam a mla metemtam; tomtemur a odoim; tomtam a kelel; melemtam, temtemul a kall.
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ulekchubs, v.r.s.(having been) healed.
ulekchubs a mla mukar el mo mechubs; mla mo diak a telemall er ngii; cheltechat a ulekchubs.
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ulekrael, v.r.s.guided; advised; led.
ulekrael a mla mukrael; ngar er ngii a rolel; mlai a ulekrael el mo tuobed.
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ulsaso, v.r.s.obtained through barter or trade.
ulsaso a mla musaso; mla koreker; msesouii a delengcheklel, msaso a udoud; ulsaso a kelel; usesouel.
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ulsiaol, v.r.s.(drawer, suitcase, etc.) closed; (clothes) have seam sewn; (fire) fed; (people) incited to fight.
ulsiaol a ulsiolel; sei el mo ulsiu er ngii; a ikei el mo kaisiuekl; okul a tet a ngar er a ulsiaol.
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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:

bidekill, v.a.s.is to be cast/thrown.
bidekill a kirel el obidokl; midokl, mideklii, bduu a bidekill, bideklel.
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kiokl, v.a.s.is to be dug; is to be opened or unlocked; (clock, watch) is to be wound.
kiokl a kirel el mekiis; kiesii el mo delluchel, kmiis a chutem, mengiis er ngii, mesib.
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ngedall, v.a.s.is to be seen/sent off; is to be returned/sent back; (bride) is to be brought to prospective husband's family.
ngedall a kirel mengader; ngedall er a blil a chebechiil; ngoderii a ngelekel; merader a lleng el olekang; ngederel.
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oimimall, v.a.s.is to be lowered; (boat) is to be moved out to deep water; (food) is to be brought to meteet.
oimimall a kirel el moimoim; oimimii a bilas el mo er a dmolech; oimoim, olimoim, oimimel; mo er a eou. oimimel; oimimel a oimoim er ngii; olimoim.
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orebetall, v.a.s.is to be dropped.
orebetall a kirel el morebet; orebet a mengur; orebetii, orebetel.
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sersoll, v.a.s.is to be fenced or enclosed.
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udochall, v.a.s.(sea) is to be beaten with pole; (fruit) is to be knocked down with pole.
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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
bidokelhives.bidokelhives.
secheleifriend; companion; boyfriend; girlfriend; lover; term of address from a woman to a group of people.bekesecheleifriendly; having many friends.
chelechelouldandruff.chelecheloulhaving dandruff.
bidokelhives.bidokel broken out in hives.
chudelgrass.chudelgreen jobfish.
beraomfish kept until slightly spoiled and then wrapped and barbequed.beraomfish kept until slightly spoiled and then wrapped and barbequed.
brakgiant yellow swamp taro.brakhaving a vagina which stays dry during sexual intercourse.

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
chelam a rengulheartbroken.
rengulhis/her/its heart; spirit; feeling; soul; seat of emotions.
rengul a cheluch dregs of coconut oil.
klsbengel a rengulanger.
kedidai a rengulstubborn; scornful; condescending.
ochemchuml a rengulseething inside with anger or hate.
llemesel a rengulhis/her/its intelligence.

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