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.
- Someone hides something which results in it being hidden.
- In Palauaun, omart is the verb 'to hide,' and blart is the resulting state verb corresponding to the English adjective hidden.
- Someone heats something which results in it being hot.
- In Palauaun, mengeald is the verb 'to heat,' and mekeald is the resulting state verb corresponding to the English adjective hot.
Here is a list of seven random Palauan verbs and their resulting state verbs:
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:
|dechedechall||, v.a.s.||(person) is to be speared or clubbed.|
|ongesekill||, v.a.s.||is to be controlled, reduced, limited.|
|sbungel||, v.a.s.||is to be snapped/pecked at; is to be harvested.|
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
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.
|bidokel||hives.||bidokel|| broken out in hives.|
|mechas||old woman; titled woman; foreign woman; male's father's sisters; girlfriend; wife.||mechas||get blackened with soot or ink; (pot) get burned or discolored.|
|mechas||old woman; titled woman; foreign woman; male's father's sisters; girlfriend; wife.||mechas||old woman; titled woman; foreign woman; male's father's sisters; girlfriend; wife.|
|cheball||white-leafed taro (yautia); gray/white hair.||cheball||gray-haired; white-haired.|
|kemim||starfruit.||mekemim||sour; acidic; spoiled (from having turned sour).|
|bau||smell; odor; scent.||bekebau||smell of vagina.|
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:
|melib er a rengul||decide; make up one's mind.|
|chebosech a rengul||boring; dull; poor at speaking.|
|selorech a rengul||condescending.|
|tngeklel a rengul||peace offering for someone.|
|mekikiid a rengul||unsympathetic; uncaring; uninvolved; emotionless.|
|ungial a rengul||happiness; joy.|
|medecherecher a rengul ||stubborn; adamant; not easily swayed.|
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