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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:

bliongel, v.r.s.divided; distributed; separated; separate.
bliongel a blii; mla obii, bliongel er a kall, blingelel a udoud, rusel, bingel.
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chelemcham, v.r.s.broken into pieces.
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chelsimer, v.r.s.closed; confined; locked in (e.g., as punishment).
chelsimer a telengetongel, diak le belkais, diak le nglai a chesmerel; blutek, mla mechesimer; chosmerii er a kelebus, chesmerel.
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klimut, v.r.s.grabbed and thrown down; overpowered.
klimut a blitelek; telilech er a chutem; mla mekimut e le ng mechitechut; kimtengii a sechelil.
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rririau, v.r.s.shaken.
rririau a mla meririau er ngii; iedel a rririau me ng mla ruebet a rdechel.
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ulalk, v.r.s.dyed purple; purple color/dye; pandanus dyed purple.
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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:

cheterebsall, v.a.s.is to be spun or turned.
cheterebsall a kirel el mecheterbis; choterbisur, choterbis a chebis, mengeterbis, cheterebisul.
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dedungall, v.a.s.is to be tattoed.
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isall, v.a.s.is to be rowed, paddled or stirred.
isall a kirel el meius; isar a mlai, imus a ilumel, isal.
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ochiball, v.a.s.is to be lifted up or revealed.
ochiball a kirel mochiib; mochederiib, klalo er a skoki a ochiball el kirel a skel a mekngit el kar; ochidall, ochibel.
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ongokall, v.a.s.is to be whistled to.
ongokall a kirel el mongaok ongaok a ngaok, ongokel.
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uchelall, v.a.s.is to be started or begun.
uchelall a kirel el meuchel; otutall; urreor a uchelall, mechelii a omelaml; muchel, uchelel.
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ukngisall, v.a.s.is to be dried out in the sun.
ukngisall a kirel mukngiis; ukngiokl, mekngiis a selokel; mekngisii a bail, ukngisel.
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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
chemaiongdragonfly.chemaiong prone to moving from one boyfriend or girlfriend to another.
rechorechstealing; theft; robbery; selfishness.delibuksurechorech(knot) tied securely so as not be loosened.
britelshakiness; jitters.britelshakiness; jitters.
rirfallen leaves of kebui.merir(leaves) yellow.
chelechedsmall sea crab.chelechedhusked.
bisechwild taro (makes mouth itchy).bisechfish with black and yellow stripes (makes mouth itchy).
temamuuimaginary ghost with ugly face.temamuubald-headed.

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
mekurt a rengul(someone's) feelings hurt.
kikiongel a rengul(person is) obstinate/uncooperative; sullen.
ralmetaoch a rengulinsensitive; not easily affected; easygoing; casual; prone to avoiding responsibility.
mekikiid a rengulunsympathetic; uncaring; uninvolved; emotionless.
blak a rengulhard-working; diligent; eager; attentive; interested in; intent upon; decided on; in favor of.
meringel a rengulfeel bad about (something wasted); (something wasted) arouse sympathy; (something valuable) wasted.
omai er a rengulhesitate; be unsure about.

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