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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:

blengodel, v.r.s.put or held on or against.
blengodel a blenged.
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chelemus, v.r.s.amputated; (person) having amputated limb.
chelemus a delebes; delebokl, chumsengii a chimal, chelemsengel.
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kloias, v.r.s.(plants) fertilized.
kloias a mla mekoias; mla mukramek; ngar ngii a ramek; ulekramek, kmoias, mengoias, koiesengel a sers.
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nglaml, v.r.s.(grass, garden, yard etc.) cut.
nglaml a nglemull; mla mengaml; ngomlii a rael; nguaml, melaml, ngemlel.
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selumk, v.r.s.(hair) pulled out; torn out
selumk a mla mesumk; mla sumkii a sechelil er a klaibedechakl; suumk a chiul.
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uldalem, v.r.s.(weapon) aimed; focused on or at.
uldalem a mla mudalem; melemalt el bedul ngii; biskang a uldalem el kirel a uel; omdalem er ngii.
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ulkard, v.r.s.lighted.
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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:

brechall, v.a.s.is to be speared.
brechall a bruchel; omurech er a temekai, mrechii, murech, brechel.
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brecherechall, v.a.s.is to be brought to boil.
brecherechall a kirel el obrechorech mrecherechii a klengoes, brecherechel.
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chesechesemall, v.a.s.is to be dirtied or smeared (with food).
chesechesemall a kirel el mechilt; mechesechusem a bedengel er a kar; chusechesechemii, chiltii, mengesechusem.
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kikiull, v.a.s.(distance or course) is to be swum.
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okesebekill, v.a.s.(fingers) are to be snapped; (hands) are to be clapped.
okesebekill a kirel el mokesebakl; okesebakl a chimal; okesebeklii; okesebeklel.
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skuul, v.a.s.is to be put, packed or stuffed into.
skuul a kirel el mesuk; skuul a locha er a chelsel; smuk a kukau e sukur a ngikel; skul.
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utiil, v.a.s.is to be put over fire; is to be put or placed; is to be pounded into ground.
utiil a ngklel a irimd. utiil a klalo el kirel el mouat; omat a irimd; melai a mekoll er a budel.
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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.
tebotebjagged projectile.oudertebotebjagged.
cheolubarnacles.cheolubarnacles.
brakgiant yellow swamp taro.brakgiant yellow swamp taro.
bodechcurved configuration/shape of boat.bodechesausstanding erect/in ramrod fashion; standing with expanded chest.
bidokelhives.bidokelhives.
rirfallen leaves of kebui.merirthe color yellow.

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
omerteret a rengulfed up or exasperated with.
orreked er a rengulrestrain or control (oneself) (esp., from showing anger).
beot a renguleasygoing; nonchalant; unmotivated; lazy.
seitak a rengul(person is) very choosy; picky.
omai er a rengulhesitate; be unsure about.
kie a rengul calm down; stop worrying.
teloadel a rengulindecisive.

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