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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:

cheleched, v.r.s.husked.
cheleched a chelechidel; lius el mla mecheched; chechedel.
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lleng, v.r.s.borrowed.
lleng a bled; beldoel; mla meleng; ududel a lleng, longir, lmeng, lengil a udoud.
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rridm, v.r.s.(fruit) harvested.
rridm a rredimel; mla meridem; nglai a tuu; tuu a rridm.
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selumes, v.r.s.stuck; pricked.
selumes a rrumes; mla mesumes er a tungd; sumesii, ochil a selumes er a deel; suumes a kukau; smesel.
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telub, v.r.s.spat on .
telub a mla metub; telub a kboub; tubar a ulaol; tbal.
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ulchiib, v.r.s.lifted up; revealed.
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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:

beakl, v.a.s.is to be shot.
beakl a kirel el oboes; malk a beakl, mosii a babii, moes.
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besebesechall, v.a.s.is to be continually contradicted/opposed.
besebesechall a kirel el obosech; mesechii, torebengii, omesebosech er ngii.
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ngesekill, v.a.s.is to be divided, separated or moved out of the way; (wood) is to be removed from fire.
ngesekill a kirel mengesakl; melsakl, idungel a ngesekill; ngosakl; mo chacheroid; ngeseklel.
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semikel, v.a.s.is to be husked by hand.
semikel a kirel el mesamk; mengai a semkel; kukau a semikel; semikel a klalo el betok a semkel; semsemikel.
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tebidal, v.a.s.(lantern etc.) is to be turned on
techekill, v.a.s.is to be deflected; is to be inserted (and held firmly).
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tingetall, v.a.s.is to be plugged up.
tingetall a dengobel; kirel el metinget; tingetii, tminget a butiliang.
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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
chetaubrief rain squall.chetaubrief rain squall.
besokelringworm.besokelringworm.
burachedskin disease in which white spots spread over body.burachedskin disease in which white spots spread over body.
chermallhibiscus (bark used as a rope; leaves used as mulch for taro).chermallPalauan money in form of green or blue glass beads.
mudechvomit.bekemudechsmell of vomit.
boesgun; blowgun.sekeboesgo shooting a lot; good at shooting.
chuisworm; maggot.bederechuis(starchy food) spoiled (by water); decomposing or moldy.

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
klurt a rengul(feelings) hurt.
diak lodengelii a rengul(person) unaware of his limitations or overestimates his abilities or overextends himself with committments.
mekreos a rengulmiserly; avaricious; selfish.
melemedem er a rengulcool down one's anger.
omak er a rengul(person) takes the edge off (his/her) hunger.
mechitechut a rengulweak willed; unmotivated; easily discouraged.
oba a rengulindependent; self-willed.

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