Thursday, November 10, 2011


AUTHORIZED.  We have a challenge with borrowed words beginning with "au."  Automóvil, for example, the Spanish word for "automobile," becomes tomobit in Chamorro, dropping the "au" altogether.

Spanish aumentar ("to increase" or "augment") becomes umenta (although some older Chamorros kept the Spanish pronunciation and said aumenta).  Older Chamorro dictionaries like Father Aniceto's (1865) and von Preissig's (1918) keep the "au" diphthong.

So "authorized" can be aturisa, as seen above, or auturisa, autorisa...depending on how you prefer to pronounce it, either closer or farther from the original Spanish pronunciation.

You don't like auturisa, no matter how it's spelled?  How about ma konsedeKonsede means "to grant, agree," as in "to grant a request."  From the Spanish conceder.  Like the English "concede."

If we we're thinking in the plural, that only authorized persons could go through this door, we might want to add the plural marker "man."  Man ma aturisa.

HA'.  Only.  Here the glota ( ' ) is properly placed.  Ha and ha' are two different words.

NO.  Clearly a mistake.  NA is meant.

PERSONNEL.  We've borrowed once again from the Spanish personal, which can mean "personnel" in terms of "staff."  It can also mean "personal," in Spanish and Chamorro.

A Spanish-speaking person could walk by this sign and know that it was talking about "authorized personnel."  But s/he wouldn't understand the rest.

Este letrero es ejemplo de la dependencia fuerte del idioma chamorro al castellano para expresar ciertos conceptos, tal como "autorizar" y "personal."

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