publisher colophon

25 The Connecting Words and e


In preceding chapters we have observed numerous examples of complex sentences which are formed by joining two simpler sentences with the words ‘and (so)’ or e ‘and (then)’. These words are called connecting words because they connect two simple sentences into one and relate the ideas which they rep­resent. Thus, in 22.1 we saw that two simple sentences such as those in 1ab below can be joined by the connecting word ‘and (so)’ to form the more complicated sentence of 2:

(1)   a. A bȩchik a mle smechȩr.
      ‘My wife was sick.’
    b. Ng dimlak kbo ȩr a party.
      ‘I didn’t go to the party.’
(2)   A bȩchik a mle smechȩr mȩ ng dimlak kbo ȩr a party.
    ‘My wife was sick, so I didn’t go to the party.’

When the two independently-occurring sentences 1ab are joined by the connecting word ‘and (so)’ to form the more complex sentence 2, they become clauses of this more complex sentence. In other words, 1a has become the independent (or main) clause of 2, while 1b has become a result clause. The connecting word ‘and (so)’ not only serves to join both clauses of 2 but also functions to introduce the result clause, which explains what happened as a result (or consequence) of the state described in the preceding independent clause.

The following are additional examples of complex sentences in which ‘and (so)’ connects an independent clause with a following result clause:

(3)   a.   Ng mla mo mȩkngit a eangȩd mȩ ng diak lsoak ȩl mo ȩr a Peleliu.
        ‘The weather’s become bad, so I don’t want to go to Peleliu.’ 483
    b.   Kȩ mlȩkȩra mȩ kȩ rirebȩt ȩr a chȩldukl?
        ‘How did you fall off the dock?’
    c.   A sensei a dilu ȩr ngak mȩ ak olȩngȩseu ȩr a Toki.
        ‘The teacher told me to help Toki.’1

As we saw in 22.1, the simple sentences 1ab can also be combined to form a complex sentence of the following type:

(4)   Ng dimlak kbo ȩr a party e le a bȩchik a mle smechȩr.
    ‘I didn’t go to the party because my wife was sick.’

In 4, the independently-occurring sentences of 1 have been com­bined in the opposite order from that observed in 2, and they have been joined instead by the connecting word e (followed by le). In other words, 1b has become the independent clause of 4, while la has become a reason clause. The connecting word e and the element le are best considered as a single unit which joins the two clauses of 4 and at the same time introduces the reason clause, which explains the cause or reason for the event or situation described in the preceding independent clause.

Use of the connecting word e ‘and (then)’ is of course not confined to the expression e le ‘because’. Thus, as discussed in 19.1 and 19.3, e is characteristically used in Palauan conditional sentences to join the conditional clause and the consequential clause. Observe, therefore, the conditional sentences below:

(5)   a.   A lȩngar ȩr ngii a ududek, e ak mo ȩr a Guam.
        ‘If I had money, (then) I’d go to Guam.’
    b.   A lsȩkum ng ungil a eangȩd, e tȩ mo ȩr a chei.
        ‘If the weather’s good, (then) they’ll go fishing.’

In 5ab, e serves to introduce a consequential clause, which de­scribes an event (or state) which can take place only if the event (or state) of the preceding conditional clause becomes an actual fact. In 5a, for example, the consequential clause e ak moȩr a Guam ‘(then) I’d go to Guam’ describes an event which would result from or be a consequent of the realization of the event of the conditional clause a lȩngar ȩr ngii a ududek ‘if I had money’.

When a time clause (cf. 22.2 and 22.2.2) exchanges positions with an independent clause and thereby comes to appear at the beginning of a sentence, the following independent clause must be introduced by the connecting word e ‘and (then)’. Thus, compare the a-sentences with the b-sentences in the pairs below:

(6)   a.   Ak kilie ȩr a blil a Tony er se ȩr a kbo ȩr a Guam.
        ‘I lived at Tony’s place when I went to Guam.’ 484
    b.   Se ȩr a kbo ȩr a Guam, e ak kilie ȩr a blil a Tony.
        ‘When I went to Guam, I lived at Tony’s place.’
(7)   a.   A Droteo a mȩlamȩch a dȩkool se ȩl losuub.
        ‘Droteo smokes cigarettes whenever he studies.’
    b.   Se ȩl losuub a Droteo, e ng mȩlamȩch a dȩkool.
        ‘Whenever Droteo studies, he smokes cigarettes.’

Whereas the a-sentences of 67 have an independent clause follow­ed by a time clause, the b-sentences have a structure in which a time clause in sentence-initial position is joined to the following independent clause by the connecting word e. The connecting word e must also be inserted when a time word (or expression) such as klukuk ‘tomorrow’ or eim ȩl klok ‘five o’clock’ has been (optionally) shifted to sentence-initial position, as in the following:

(8)   a.   A klukuk e ng me ȩr a blik.
        ‘Tomorrow he’s coming to my house.’
    b.   A eim ȩl klok e a rȩsȩchȩlim a mirrael.
        ‘At five o’clock your friends departed.’


We have already seen that the connecting word is used to relate a result clause to a preceding independent clause and that in such cases corresponds to English ‘so’ or ‘and so’. The connect­ing word can also be used to join two independent clauses which are parallel in structure and which present information of more-or-less equal significance. In such cases, simply estab­lishes a rather loose connection between the events, states, etc. designated by the independent clauses and therefore corresponds to English ‘and’ rather than ‘so’ or ‘and so’. Observe the examples below:

(9)   a.   A Merikel a klou ȩl beluu, mȩ a Belau a kekȩre ȩl beluu.
        ‘America is a big country, and Palau is a small country.’
    b.   A bilek a bȩcheleliu, mȩ a bilel a Droteo a bȩkȩrȩkarȩd.
        ‘My shirt is white, and Droteo’s shirt is red.’
    c.   A Droteo a ngalȩk ȩr a skuul, mȩ a Toki a sensei.
        ‘Droteo is a student, and Toki is a teacher.’
    d.   A Toki a mo ȩr a sers, mȩ a Droteo a mo ȩr a chei.
        ‘Toki is going to (work in) the garden, and Droteo is going fishing.’
    e.   Ak mȩriik ȩr a mȩkȩsokȩs, mȩ a Toki a mȩlemȩd ȩr a ulaol.
        ‘I’m sweeping the yard, and Toki’s mopping the floor.’ 485

It is not difficult to recognize that the independent clauses con­nected by ‘and’ in the examples above are parallel in structure and convey parallel kinds of information. The two independent clauses of 9b, for instance, consist of a subject noun phrase (bilek ‘my shirt’ and bilel a Droteo ‘Droteo’s shirt’) followed by an intransitive state verb (bȩcheleliu ‘white’ and bȩkȩrȩkarȩd ‘red’), and both of them describe the color of someone’s clothes. In a similar way, the independent clauses of 9e each contain a subject noun phrase (ak ‘I’ and Toki), a transitive action verb (mȩriik ‘sweep’ and mȩlemȩd ‘mop’), and an object noun phrase (mȩkȩ­sokȩs ‘yard’ and ulaol ‘floor’), and both of them describe house­hold activities which their respective subjects are pursuing. Can you see that 9a, 9c, and 9d also contain clauses which are parallel in structure?

The connecting word ‘and’ also occurs in imperative sentences, which are used to give orders or commands (cf. 19.5). In the examples below, each of the clauses connected by contains an imperative verb form:

(10)   a.   Bo ȩr a bita mȩ mlȩngir a oles.
        ‘Go next door and borrow a knife.’
    b.   Bo ȩr a blil a Toki mȩ mchȩtȩklii a ngalȩk.
        ‘Go to Toki’s house and carry the child back.’
    c.   Bo ȩr a blim mȩ bo bad.2
        ‘Go home and go to sleep.’

25.2.1. The Expression a lȩchub

The connecting word occurs with the words a lȩchub to form a lȩchub, an expression corresponding to English ‘or’. Because the origin of a lȩchub is obscure, it is easiest to consider a chub as a single unit. When a lȩchub joins two clauses, the second clause is often introduced by the connecting word e.3 Note the following examples:

(11)   a.   A rȩsȩchal a mo ȩr a che mȩ a lȩchub e tȩ mo mȩliich a lius.
        ‘The men (either) go fishing, or they go make copra.’
    b.   Kȩ mo ȩr a katsudo mȩ a lȩchub e kȩ mo ȩr a party?
        ‘Are you going to the movies, or are you going to the party?’
    c.   Kȩ mȩrael mȩ a lȩchub e kȩ di kiei?
        ‘Are you leaving, or will you stay?’

As the above examples show, a lȩchub is used to connect two 486alternative courses of action which the speaker is describing or asking about. In the question sentences 11bc the connecting word can be omitted, resulting in a slight change of meaning for certain Palauan speakers. Whereas 11bc with seem to imply that the person asking the question prefers the second of the two alternatives mentioned, this connotation is lost when is omitted. Thus, someone uttering 11c would really prefer the person addressed to stay rather than go; example 11c without mȩ, however, would imply that the speaker has no particular prefer­ence about which of the two alternatives the hearer should choose.


As reviewed in 25.1 above, the connecting word e is used in conditional sentences to introduce the consequential clause. Be­cause the consequential clause names an event, state, etc. which can come about only if the event, state, etc. of the preceding conditional clause has become a reality, the consequential clause necessarily follows the conditional clause in time. For this reason, the connecting word e which introduces consequential clauses takes on a temporal meaning and corresponds closely to English ‘and then’.

The abovementioned temporal meaning of e ‘and then’ is reflected in the complex sentences below, where the second clause (introduced by e) names an event, state, etc. which follows (or is expected to follow) that of the first clause:

(12)   a.   A Toki a me e mȩngȩtmokl ȩr a blai.
        ‘Toki comes and (then) cleans the house.’
    b.   Tȩ mȩruul ȩr a kall e mȩrael.
        ‘They make the food and then (they) leave.’
    c.   Ak luchȩsii a babier e mo send ȩr ngii.
        ‘I’ll write the letter and then send it off.’

Although there is no overtly-expressed subject in the second clause of each of the examples above, speakers automatically interpret this clause as having a subject identical to that of the preceding clause. Thus, it seems as if a sentence like 12b has its source in the following:

(12b’)   Tȩ mȩruul ȩr a kall e tȩ mȩrael.
    ‘They make the food, and then they leave.’

Most Palauan speakers would transform the rather awkward 487sentence of 12b’ into 12b by deleting the subject ‘they’ of the second clause. Such deletion is possible, of course, only because the subject ‘they’ of the second clause is identical to that of the first clause. Thus, in sentences like 12ac a single subject (that of the first clause) is sufficient for the proper interpretation.

In the sentences below, which involve past time, the event of the second clause (introduced by e) is asserted to have followed that of the first clause:

(13)   a.   Ak milles ȩr a ngikȩl e milȩngat ȩr ngii.
        ‘I cut the fish and (then) smoked it.’
    b.   Ak dilsȩchii a mlai e chilsbȩrbȩrii.
        ‘I carved the canoe and (then) painted it.’
    c.   A Toki a ulȩmȩngur e mirrael.
        ‘Toki ate and (then) left.’
    d.   Ng mirrael a Droteo e ak mlo mȩchiuaiu.
        ‘Droteo left, and (then) I went to sleep.’

In 13ac the subject of the second clause has been deleted because it is identical with that of the first. However, in 13d each clause has a different subject (Droteo in the first clause4 and ak ‘I’ in the second), and therefore the subject of the second clause cannot be deleted.

In the examples of 13, each of the clauses connected by e contains a verb in the past tense. It is also possible to have sentences such as the following, where the verb of the first clause is in the past tense, but the verb of the clause introduced by e is in the present tense:

(14)   a.   Ak milles ȩr a ngikȩl e mȩngat ȩr ngii.
        ‘I cut the fish and (then) smoked it.’
    b.   Ak dilsȩchii a mlai e chosbȩrbȩrii.
        ‘I carved the canoe and (then) painted it.’
    c.   A Toki a ulȩmȩngur e mȩrael.
        ‘Toki ate and (then) left.’
    d.   Ng mirrael a Droteo, e ak mo mȩchiuaiu.
        ‘Droteo left, and (then) I went to sleep.’

The difference between the sentences of 13 vs. 14 is very difficult to pinpoint because the opinions of speakers vary so widely. Some speakers feel that use of the past vs. present tense in the second clause has no effect whatsoever on the meaning; for these speak­ers, the past tense morpheme (-il- or -l-) can presumably be omitted from the verb of the second clause in 14ad because the past 488tense verb form in the first clause already provides enough infor­mation about the time of the events or actions in question.

Other speakers feel that the sentences of 13 differ from those of 14 in terms of whether the speaker is emphasizing or focusing on the event of the first clause or that of the second clause. Thus, the tense sequence pastpast of 13 seems to emphasize the importance of the action in the second clause, while the tense sequence pastpresent of 14 puts focus on the action in the first clause. For this reason, 13b and 14b would be responses to different questions, as the following dialogs illustrate:

(15)   A:   Kȩ chilsbȩrbȩrii a mlai?
        ‘Did you paint the canoe?’
    B:   (cf. 13b) Chochoi. Ak dilsȩchii (a mlai) e chilsbȩrbȩrii.
        ‘Yes. I carved it and (then) painted it.’
(16)   A:   Kȩ dilsȩchii a mlai?
        ‘Did you carve the canoe?’
    B:   (cf. 14b) Chochoi. Ak dilsȩchii (a mlai) e chosbȩrbȩrii.
        ‘Yes. I carved it and (then) painted it.’

In 15, A’s question to B shows that A is interested in whether or not B painted the canoe; therefore, it is appropriate for B to use the tense sequence pastpast in his response, since this sequence places emphasis on the event which A is interested in. The situ­ation in 16 is just the opposite: here, A wants to know whether or not B carved the canoe, and the tense sequence pastpresent in B’s response focuses more attention on this event than on the event of painting the canoe.

Certain Palauan speakers distinguish between the sentences of 13 and 14 in yet another way. For these speakers, the tense sequence pastpast of 13 involves a succession of two completed events in the past, while the tense sequence pastpresent of 14 involves a completed past event followed by an incomplete (or ongoing) present event. Thus, the meanings of 13b vs. 14b, repeated here for convenience, would differ as indicated in the English translations:

(13b)   Ak dilsȩchii a mlai e chilsbȩrbȩrii.
    ‘I carved the canoe and (then) painted it.’
(14b)   Ak dilsȩchii a mlai e chosbȩrbȩrii.
    ‘I carved the canoe and now I’m painting it.’

In 1214 above, we gave sentences in which the connecting word e ‘and then’ establishes a sequential time relationship 489between the two clauses which it joins. Thus, in all of those sentences, the clause following e designates an event, state, etc. which takes place (or took place) after the event, state, etc. of the clause preceding e. As we shall now see, the connecting word e is not restricted to such cases of sequential time relationship. For example, we observe that e establishes a simultaneous time relation­ship in the sentences below: here, the two clauses joined by e designate events, states, etc. which are happening at the same time. In such cases, e corresponds to English ‘while’ rather than ‘and then’:

(17)   a.   A Droteo a milȩnguiu a hong, e a Toki a milȩchiuaiu ȩr a ulaol.
        ‘Droteo was reading books {and/while} Toki was sleeping on the floor.’
    b.   Ak milluchȩs a babier, e a sȩchȩlik a mirruul a kall.
        ‘I was writing letters {and/while} my friend was preparing food.’
    c.   Ak milȩnguiu ȩr a simbung e omȩngur.
        ‘I was reading the newspaper while eating.’
    d.   Ngara mȩ kȩ di dȩchor e omȩngur?
        ‘Why are you standing up while eating?’
    e.   Kȩ omȩngur e mȩngȩdȩchȩduch?
        ‘(Why) are you eating and talking at the same time?’
    f.   A Droteo a chad ȩr a omȩnged e chad ȩr a sers.
        ‘Droteo is both a fisherman and a farmer.’
    g.   Ng kmal smechȩr e mȩtkung.
        ‘He’s very sick and about to die.’

In 17ab the clauses joined by e have different (overtly-expressed) subjects, while in 17cg the subject of the second clause has been deleted because it is identical to that of the first clause.

The connecting word e can also be used to join two clauses which are put into relatively strong contrast with each other. A few typical examples are given below:

(18)   a.   A malk a beot a chȩral, e a ngais a mȩringȩl a chȩral.
        ‘Chickens are cheap, but eggs are expensive.’
    b.   A Droteo a mȩtongakl, e a Toki a kekȩdeb.
        ‘Droteo is tall, but Toki is short.’
    c.   A sils a ngmasȩch ȩr a chongos, e mo ngmelt ȩr a ngȩbard.
        ‘The sun rises in the east {and/but} sets in the west.’ 490

The sentences of 18 are similar to those of 9 above in that the clauses joined by the connecting word are parallel in structure.

25.3.1. The Expression e ng di

The connecting word e occurs with the words ng di to form e ng di, an expression corresponding to English ‘but’. Though written as three words and having a literal meaning something like ‘and (then) it’s just that…’, the expression e ng di is best considered a single unit which functions to connect two clauses which are in contrast or opposition with each other. The use of this expression is illustrated in sentences like the following:

(19)   a.   A Toki a mle soal ȩl mo ȩr a Guam, e ng di ng mla mo diak a ududel.
        ‘Toki wanted to go to Guam, but her money ran out.’
    b.   Ak mlo ȩr a party e ng di a Droteo a dimlak lsȩbȩchel ȩl mong.
        ‘I went to the party, but Droteo couldn’t go.’
    c.   Ak ilȩko ȩr a blim e ng di kȩ mle dibus.
        ‘I came to your house, but you were out.’


When two or more nouns (or noun phrases) are joined by the connecting word mȩ, we have a coordinate noun phrase. Since coordinate means ‘equal in status or rank’, it is appropriate as an identifying term for the type of noun phrase under discussion, simply because each of the nouns (or noun phrases) in a co­ordinate noun phrase functions equally in the sentence. Thus, in the sentence below, where the coordinate noun phrase Droteo a Toki ‘Droteo and Toki’ occurs in sentence subject position, both of the nouns joined by me (Droteo and Toki) serve equally as subjects of the verb mirruul ‘prepared’:

(20)   A Droteo mȩ a Toki a mirruul a kall.
    ‘Droteo and Toki prepared the food.’

Because both Droteo and Toki are interpreted equally as subjects of mirruul ‘prepared’ in 20, a good number of linguists would propose that 20 is derived from a source sentence contain­ing two parallel clauses joined by (cf. 25.2 above), one clause having Droteo as the subject of mirruul and the other having Toki as the subject of mirruul. This source sentence is given below: 491

(21)   A Droteo a mirruul a kall, mȩ a Toki a mirruul a kall.
    ‘Droteo prepared the food, and Toki prepared the food.’

Although grammatical, the source sentence 21 is somewhat awkward because each of the clauses repeats the sequence mirruul a kall ‘prepared the food’. For this reason, Palauan speakers normally transform 21 into the shortened or condensed version 20. When this transformation takes place, the subjects Droteo and Toki, which are the only dissimilar elements in the clauses of 21, are combined into a coordinate noun phrase (Droteo a Toki) functioning as sentence subject. In addition, only a single occur­rence of the sequence mirruul a kall ‘prepared the food’, which is common to both clauses of 21, appears after the coordinate noun phrase subject of 20.

Because coordinate noun phrases are a type of noun phrase, they of course have the same distributional characteristics as other noun phrases. Thus, in the example below, we observe a coordinate noun phrase functioning as sentence object (rather than sentence subject, as in 20):

(22)   A Toki a ousbech a babier mȩ a oluchȩs.
    ‘Toki needs some paper and a pencil.’

In this example, each member (babier ‘paper’ and oluchȩs ‘pencil’) of the coordinate noun phrase babier a oluchȩs ‘paper and pencil’ functions as the object of ousbech ‘need’. Thus, it is likely that 22 is derived from a source sentence containing two parallel clauses connected by mȩ, one clause having babier ‘paper’ as the object of ousbech and the other having oluchȩs ‘pencil’ as the object of this same verb. This source sentence is represented be­low:

(23)   A Toki a ousbech a babier, mȩ a Toki a ousbech a oluchȩs.
    ‘Toki needs some paper, and Toki needs a pencil.’

The source sentence 23 is extremely awkward to say, and therefore all Palauan speakers would automatically transform it into 22. By this process of transformation, the objects babier ‘paper’ and oluchȩs ‘pencil’, which are the only different elements in the clauses of 23, are condensed into a coordinate noun phrase (babier a oluchȩs ‘paper and pencil’) serving as sentence object. Since the same subject-verb sequence (a Toki a ousbech ‘Toki needs’) occurs in each clause of 23, it appears only once in the shortened sentence 22.

The examples below further illustrate the use of coordinate noun phrases (italicized) as sentence subject: 492

(24)   a.   A rȩngalȩk ȩr a skuul mȩ a rȩsensei ȩr tir a mlo ȩr a Guam.
        ‘The students and their teachers went to Guam.’
    b.   A blil a Toki mȩ a blil a Satsko a milsesȩb.
        ‘Toki’s house and Satsko’s house burned down.’
    c.   Kau mȩ ngak a mo ȩr a stoang.
        ‘You and I will go to the store.’
    d.   A Droteo mȩ ngak a mlo ȩr a party.
        ‘Droteo and I went to the party.’
    e.   Ng tȩcha mȩ a tȩcha a ulȩbȩngkem ȩl mo ȩr a Hawaii?
        ‘Who (pl.) went with you to Hawaii?’
    f.   Ngara mȩ a ngara a chomoruul ȩl kirel a party?
        ‘What things are you making for the party?’

In 24cd the coordinate noun phrase contains one or two emphatic pronouns (cf. 4.4), and in 24ef two occurrences of the same question word (tȩcha ‘who?’ or ngara ‘what?’) are joined by to form a coordinate noun phrase (cf. 20.8).

In the sentences below, we further illustrate the use of co­ordinate noun phrases (italicized) as sentence object:

(25)   a.   Ak mla mȩnga a diokang a ngikȩl a chȩmang.
        ‘I’ve eaten tapioca, fish, and crab.’
    b.   Ak milsa a Droteo a Toki a Helen er a elii.
        ‘I saw Droteo, Toki, and Helen yesterday.’
    c.   Ak milstȩrir a rȩngalȩk ȩr a skuul a rȩsensei ȩr tir.
        ‘I saw the students and their teachers.’

Even though the coordinate noun phrase objects of 25bc both involve groups of individuals and are therefore plural, the form of the preceding perfective verb (milsa vs. milstȩrir) is determined by whether the directly following noun phrase (i.e., the first mem­ber of the coordinate noun phrase object) is itself singular or plural. Thus, milsa ‘saw him/her/it’ is required in 25b because the immediately following noun phrase (Droteo) is singular, whereas milstȩrir ‘saw them’ must occur in 25c because it directly precedes the plural noun phrase rȩngalȩk ȩr a skuul ‘students’.

The sentences below show how coordinate noun phrases (italicized) can occur in further distributional “slots” commonly filled by noun phrases:

(26)   a.   Tia a delmȩrab ȩr a Droteo a Toki.
        ‘This is Droteo and Toki’s room.’
    b.   Ak mlo shopping ȩr a Ala Moana a Waikiki.
        ‘I went shopping at Ala Moana and Waikiki.’ 493
    c.   Kȩ mlo ȩr ker ker?
        ‘What places did you go to?’
    d.   Ng mlo ȩr a Merikel er oingara oingarang?
        ‘On what occasions did he go to America?’

In all of the examples above, a coordinate noun phrase is part of a relational phrase introduced by ȩr (cf. chap. 14). Can you identify the type of relational phrase involved in each of the sentences of 26?

In 17.2 we saw that the subject noun phrase of any Palauan sentence can be shifted to the right of the verb phrase, leaving the appropriate pronominal trace in the original subject position. Coordinate noun phrases in sentence subject position can also be shifted in this manner, as the following pairs illustrate:

(27)   a.   A Droteo mȩ a Toki a kausȩchȩlei.   ‘Droteo and Toki are friends.’
    b.   Tȩ kausȩchȩlei a Droteo mȩ a Toki.    
(28)   a.   A Helen mȩ a sȩchȩlil a mlo ȩr a mubi.   ‘Helen and her friend went to the movies.’
    b.   Tȩ mlo ȩr a mubi a Helen mȩ a sȩchȩlil.    

In 27b and 28b above, which involve subject shifting, the 3rd pers. (human) pl. non-emphatic pronoun ‘they’ remains as a pro­nominal trace because the shifted coordinate noun phrase subjects are (human) plural.

Now, sentences 27b and 28b can be further transformed by taking the first member of the shifted coordinate noun phrase and moving it back to sentence-initial position, where it replaces the pronominal trace tȩ. When this process of preposing takes place (cf. 17.5), a pronominal trace of the preposed noun phrase—this time in the form of an emphatic pronoun—must appear in the position of the first member of the shifted coordinate noun phrase. These changes are seen clearly in the following sentences, which are derived from 27b and 28b, respectively:

(27)   c.   A Droteo a kausȩchȩlei ngii mȩ a Toki.
        ‘Droteo is friends with Toki.’
(28)   c.   A Helen a mlo ȩr a mubi ngii mȩ a sȩchȩlil.
        ‘Helen went to the movies with her friend.’

Because the preposed subjects of 27c and 28c (Droteo and Helen) 494are singular, the 3rd pers. sg. emphatic pronoun ngii ‘he, she, it’ appears in the position from which these subjects have been re­moved.

25.4.1. Coordinate Noun Phrases With a lȩchub

In 25.2.1 above we saw that the expression a lȩchub ‘or’ can be used to connect two clauses. This expression can also join two nouns (or noun phrases), resulting in a coordinate noun phrase of the form A a lȩchub B ‘A or B’. Observe the examples below:

(29)   a.   A Cisco mȩ a lȩchub a Tony a me ȩr a party.
        ‘Either Cisco or Tony is coming to the party.’
    b.   Ng tȩcha a ungil ȩl sensei? Ng Toki mȩ a lȩchub a Droteo?
        ‘Who’s a better teacher—(is it) Toki or Droteo?’


1. The Palauan sentences in 3b-c indeed contain result clauses intro­duced by mȩ, even though this is not directly reflected in the English translations. Detailed discussion of such cases is given in 22.1.1.

2. The slang expression mo bad ‘go to sleep’ means, literally, ‘become (like) a rock’.

3. It is possible that a lȩchub is some kind of conditional expression (cf. 19.1) in which a ‘if’ is followed by a “fossilized” hypothetical verb form containing the 3rd pers. sg. hypothetical pronoun lȩ-. The fact that the clause following a lȩchub is introduced by e lends support to this speculation, since e introduces consequential clauses which follow conditional clauses (cf. 19.1 and 19.3).

4. In the clause ng mirrael a Droteo ‘Droteo left’, the subject Droteo has been shifted to clause-final position, leaving the pronominal trace ng (cf. 17.2). 524

Previous Chapter

24 Modifiers

Next Chapter


Additional Information

MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Creative Commons
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.