Note about this page: this is a short attempt to list some of the simple rules for Palauan pronouns. For a much longer and comprehensive explanation, please refer to Lewis Josephs' definitive Palauan grammar book.
According to this website, English has at least these following types of pronouns: personal, relative, demonstrative, indefinite, reflexive, interrogative, and possessive pronouns. As such, this page attempts to list the corresponding Palauan pronouns for these same types.
Personal pronounsHere are the personal pronouns for both English and Palaun:
|English Personal Pronouns||Palauan Personal Pronouns|
|First Person||I, me||we, us||ngak, ak||kid, kede||kemam, aki|
|Second Person||you||you||kau, ke||kemiu, kom|
|Third Person||he, him, she, her, it||they, them||ngii, ng||tir, te|
There are at least a few differences:
- Palauan is less ambiguous in the 2nd person as it distinguishes between singular and plural whereas English does not.
- Palauan is less ambiguous in the 1st person plural as it distinguishes between one which includes the listener (kid, kede) and one which excludes (kemam, aki).
- English is less ambiguous in the 3rd person singular as it has separate forms for male (he,him), female (she,her), and non-human (it) whereas Palauan combines these into ngii and ng.
- The rules for choosing between the multiple forms within each (e.g. I/me and ngak/ak) are not the same. For English, the difference is object/subject whereas in Palauan the difference is emphatic/nonemphatic. In the table above, the emphatic form of each Palauan pronoun is indicated with boldface font.
The English relative pronouns include the following:that, which, who, whom, whose, whichever, whoever, whomever.
The Palauan relative pronouns include the following: ngara, keskelel, ker, keltang, oingarang, se el, se er a, techa, tela.
The English demonstrative pronouns are that, this, those, and these. They are split by count (i.e. singular or plural) and by distance from the speaker (i.e. near or far).
For these four English pronouns, there are 16 Palauan equivalents which further split by distance from listener and by human, animal, or thing. Here is a table showing both
the English and Palauan demonstrative pronouns:
Some observations about the Palauan demonstrative pronouns:
A different organization along the distance axes reveals identifying patterns in the suffixes:
More observations about the Palauan demonstrative pronouns:
The English relative pronouns include the following: anybody, anyone, anything, each, either, everybody, everyone, everything, neither, nobody, no one, nothing, one, somebody, someone, something, both, few, many, several, all, any, most, none, some.
Some Palauan equivalents are ngdiak a tal chad, bekel, ngii di el chad, rokir, rokiu, ngdiak a ngarang, kesai, bebil, oumesingd.
The English reflexive pronouns include the following: myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves.
There are no Palauan equivalents. To express a similar idea, the word di is typically used. E.g. Ng di mle ngak el sobekak. translates figuratively to "I kicked myself."
The English interrogative pronouns include the following: what, who, which, when, why, whom, whose, how.
Some Palauan equivalents include the following: ngerang, techang, mekesakl, oingarang, engerang, makerang, ngara meng, ngara uchul, keskelel, kuskelii.
The English possessive pronouns include the following: my, your, his, her, its, our, their, mine, yours, his, hers, ours, theirs.
Palaun possessive pronouns do not typically exist as independent words but rather as suffixes on nouns. Please refer to the nouns grammar page for more information. For foreign words, however, possession uses the linking work er and an emphatic personal pronoun (e.g. chert er kau).
Both Palauan nouns and verbs can have pronoun stems affixed as a prefix identifing the subject. Verbs can additionally have pronouns as a suffix identifying the object. Examples:
- Ng diak lsensei. He's not a teacher.
- Ng diak kimodengelterir. We (exclusive) do not know them.