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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:

blodech, v.r.s.(canoe, boat, etc.) has curve made in it.
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delbaet, v.r.s.(person) asked to pay for non-participation in work.
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deliukes, v.r.s.(food) divided or shared.
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klsekes, v.r.s.(chant, lullaby, etc.) sung.
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selab, v.r.s.snapped or pecked at.
selab a klebungl er ngii; mesab er a kall; sobngii, suab, bilis a selab er a kelel, sebngel; seleches.
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telacheb, v.r.s.wounded/pricked with spine of fish.
telacheb a mla metacheb; telacheb er a ngikel.
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ulekingar, v.r.s.seated; appointed.
ulekingar a kiei a rengul; diak el beot el mo kesib a rengul; ulekingar a rengul a meduch el omudech a beluu.
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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:

chesill, v.a.s.is to be get blackened with soot or ink.
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chisemesemall, v.a.s.is to be embraced or hugged.
chisemesemall a kirel el mochull; mechisemesem, mechulii a ngalek, choisemesemii a ngelekel, megisemesem er a bechil, chisemesemel.
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kemedall, v.a.s.is to be sewn up.
kemedall a kirel el mekemed; melabek a mechut el klalo; komedii a bail, kuemed, kemedel a bail.
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rerongel, v.a.s.(food) is to be heated so as not to spoil; (hands, etc.) are to be warmed over or next to fire.
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uksecherall, v.a.s.is to be made sick.
uksecherall a kirel el muksecher; meksecherii; diak el uksecherall a chad me a charem le ng mekull.
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ulochall, v.a.s.is to be prophesied about.
ulochall a kirel el mulaoch; omlaoch er ngii; mlochii a meringel el kodall; mlaoch a klebelung; ulochel.
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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
lebfuzz (on leaf) of plant (e.g., sugar cane; grass); plant in coffee family; shyness.meleblebitchy; prickly; covered with fuzz of plant.
rasechblood.rasechbloody.
olechutellarge bamboo raftolechutel(boat, person) slow-moving
bausmell; odor; scent.bekebausmell of vagina.
chuisworm; maggot.bederechuis(starchy food) spoiled (by water); decomposing or moldy.
kobesossea horse.kobesossea horse.
tutaumorning; this morning.tutaumorning; this morning.

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
chidirengulchaidirengul
teloadel a rengulindecisive.
ongemengemek a rengulongemengemek
olengasech er a rengulmake or get (someone) angry.
mekngit er a rengulnot good for; not all right with.
melai er a rengulpersuade.
beltik a rengulbetik a rengul

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