Friday, July 15, 2011



Chiba is taken from the Spanish feminine word "chiva," which, along with the masculine form "chivo," mean "young goat."

The Spaniards brought them to the Marianas.  Our mañaina never took to eating goat meat, but they did make use of the milk.  I think they raised chiba mainly as a food disposal unit needing no batteries or electricity.

I was driving around Agaña Heights the other day and bumped into a few chiba keeping the grass short in the village.

The Spanish word for "female goat" is "cabra."  Our mañaina never adopted this word.  But Cabras Island is so-called because the Spaniards, and later Americans, called it so.  Perhaps there were goats there?  The Chamorro name for that islet (little island) is Apapa.

The island of Aguiguan - sometimes known as Aguijan - is also called Goat Island, but again, not by us Chamorros. 

Our mañaina did borrow the Spanish words cabrito and cabrón, our kabrito and kabron; the former meaning "baby goat, or kid" and the latter literally meaning "male goat" but really describing someone with about as much personal esteem as a male goat.  Depending on what part of the Spanish-speaking world you are in, cabrón can mean "dude, idiot or a guy with an unfaithful wife."  You don't hear kabron being used much in Chamorro anymore.  In Chamorro, it probably carried the less offensive meaning.

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