Saturday, April 16, 2011


It's good to see our young people using their language (in a clean way) as they personalize their cars and trucks.  I like this one in particular because "ke ya hafa" is particularly Chamorro in attitude.  "Taffo'" means "brash, tactless, bold in a rude way."  Someone who stops by the house too much or at inconvenient hours is "taffo'."  Someone who breaks social norms or who does not observe etiquette is "taffo'."

Maybe the owner had this in mind when he put "taffo'" on his car.  Or perhaps he meant it to mean "bold" in a general way, though the better word for that is "matatnga."  "Taffo'" has a note of impropriety to it.

Now "ke ya håfa" is a wonderfully flexible phrase.  It comes from the Spanish word "que" which means "what" or "which," and even sometimes "who" or "whom."

"Ke ya håfa?" Literally, "What/which/that and what?"  But it can be best translated "And so what?"  Or, "And what of it?" Depending on the tone, it can carry different meanings.

Jose : You're late, Mary.
Mary : Ke ya håfa? (as in, "It's not the end of the world, Jose.  Chill.")
Mary : Ke ya håfa? (as in, "Leave me alone!  I've had a bad day!")

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