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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:

bleng, v.r.s.covered with hand; stopped up.
bleng a mla obeng, metenget; telenget, mengir a ngerel, bleng a telil.
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klekool, v.r.s.played.
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selibas, v.r.s.tripped; hindered.
selibas a mla mesibas; selibas er a urrutel; soibesengii, soibas a ochil; sibesengel.
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telichekl, v.r.s.inserted (and held firmly); (food) stuck between teeth.
telichekl a mla metichekl; ticheklii a oles, tichekl a bung er a bderrir; ticheklel.
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telut, v.r.s.sucked on.
telut a mla metut; tolochoi a mla tmut el okngemed; tutur a tul.
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uliubek, v.r.s.broken or smashed through.
uliubek a mla moiubek; lling; ngar ngiia metetoech; chesimer a uliubek; oibekii, oiubek, oibekel.
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ulseked, v.r.s.squeezed in; crowded out.
ulseked a mla moseked; ngar a delongelel a eru el klalo el meseked; diak le medidai; ulseked er a delongelel a mlai; osekedel.
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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:

betachel a rengul, v.a.s.is to be pleased/satisfied/appeased; content.
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eleball, v.a.s.is to be covered (with blanket, etc.).
eleball a kirel el meeleb; mengeleb er ngii, elebii er a bar; dokedekii; smecher a eleball er a bar.
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okedusall, v.a.s.is to be laid, put or knocked down; is to be put to bed.
okedusall a kirel el mokedurs; mechiuaiu, smecher a okedusall, mekedusii a ngalek, mekedurs, okedusel.
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osiseball, v.a.s.is to be put, pushed or forced in.
osiseball a kirel el mosiseb; oltuu, mekull el diak el osiseball a ice er a Belau.
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otuball, v.a.s.is to be degraded, insulted or slandered.
otuball a kirel a motuub; otubii a sechelil, omerellel a kirel a otuub; oltuub er a cheldecheduch, otubel.
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remesall, v.a.s.is to be poked at; (food) is to be tested.
remesall a kirel el merumes; kukau a remesall; rumesii, ruumes.
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udedmall, v.a.s.is to be spied on or watched for carefully.
udedmall a kirel el mudidm; berrotel e mes; mdedmii a merechorech, mdidm a omerotel er a klalo, udedmel.
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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
builmoon; month.buil moon-shaped.
chermallhibiscus (bark used as a rope; leaves used as mulch for taro).chermallcheromel
oreomelforest; woods.chereomeloreomel
chellingsclearness; transparency; purity; pristine condition.mechellings(liquid, glass, etc.) clear or transparent.
chedechuulknack/magical power for doing things; blueprint; plan (for house, bai, etc).chedechuulknack/magical power for doing things; blueprint; plan (for house, bai, etc).
brakgiant yellow swamp taro.brakgiant yellow swamp taro.
cheluchcoconut oil; fuel (e.g. gasoline, kerosene, diesel oil, etc.); grease (from meat being cooked).bekecheluchsmell of coconut oil.

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
mekngit a rengulfeel sorry/sad about; mean; inconsiderate.
checherd a rengulimpatient; fed up with.
uldellomel a rengulresponsible; purposeful; mature.
diak lemesim a rengulstick to one's convictions; not change one's mind.
bechelechelingaol a rengulselfish; greedy; stingy; self-centered.
mesmesim a rengulunstable; changing one's mind easily.
ngemokel a renguldesirous off; lusting after.

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