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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:

bltechei, v.r.s.changed; replaced; succeeded.
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chellim, v.r.s.accompanied; escorted.
chellim a mla mechelim; chelmongel me temengelim er ngii cholmengii a medakd, cholim a chelebuul, chelmengel.
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chelsuar, v.r.s.(face) slapped; slapped in the face.
chelsuar a chelsbad, chellebed a medal, mla mechesuar.
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delik, v.r.s.supported; propped up; placed in a particular location.
delik a mla medik; loia chiull e a smecher a ultuil er ngii, dikir, dmik, smecher a delik er a dik, dkel; delik a kldoel, kled, kall a delik er a tebel, dikir a tet er a ulaol, melik er a til er a ulaol.
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selubed, v.r.s.(coconut tree) has cut re-opened to re-initiate sap flow.
selubed a mla mesubed; suubed a ilaot; subedii; sbedel a ilaot.
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uleksebek, v.r.s.made to fly.
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ulterekokl, v.r.s.entrusted to someone; given for safekeeping; (specific time) set; sincere, real; genuine; really; surely; for sure; definitely.
ulterekokl a mla moterekokl; ultebechel el kmal ngii; mloterekokl el mengkar a chutem; oterekeklii a omerolel, oterekokl a okelel a babii er ngii; ulterekeklel.
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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:

cheklechelall, v.a.s.is to be cleaned by shaking with water inside; is to be shaken.
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lkiil, v.a.s.(bottom of pot; basket) is to be lined with leaves; etc.
lkiil a kirel el melik; loia lkil; likir a chelais er a ngimes, lmik, lkil.
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ochelall, v.a.s.(fish) is to be scaled.
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oskeskall, v.a.s.is to be pushed vigorously.
oskeskall a kirel el moskosk; kirel elmodubech; oskeskii a cheltelaol el otebedii, cheltelaol a oskeskall; oskeskel.
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otekengall, v.a.s.is to be opposed or gone against.
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otekerekill, v.a.s.is to be taken out of water.
otekerekill a kirel el otekerekl; odikii, ongesechii; otekereklii er a mesei, otekereklel er a mesei.
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otemengall, v.a.s.is to be poked/stuck out.
otemengall a kirel el motom; olecholt, otom a mederir er a urreor, otom a mederir er a mechesang, otemeel.
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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
bausmell; odor; scent.bekebausmell of vagina.
bekngiukmold; (food) moldy/mildewed.bekngiuk(food) moldy/mildewed.
silssun; day.bekesils(boys) smell sweaty or gamey (after perspiring in sun).
singodor of sperm.besingsmell of sperm; smell unclean (esp., used in insults referring to women).
meduumale genitals (large).meduumale genitals (large).
bengtpurple colored sweet potato.bengtpurple.
martilionghammer.martilionghammer.

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
rengul a kerrekarcenter/core of tree.
rengulhis/her/its heart; spirit; feeling; soul; seat of emotions.
uldalem a rengulresponsible; purposeful.
beltik a rengulbetik a rengul
klurt a rengul(feelings) hurt.
kesib a rengulangry.
mekngit a rengulfeel sorry/sad about; mean; inconsiderate.

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