Monday, December 19, 2011


Såntos na Semento?
Såntos Nasimiento

There is a Chamorro Christmas carol in Saipan that uses a Spanish word in a Chamorro phrase : såntos nasimiento.  It means "holy birth."

Older Chamorros, more in touch with Spanish, probably had less trouble understanding that phrase, which is why it probably made it into a Chamorro song without notice.

But one woman in Saipan, with no Spanish language background, once asked me, "Påle', kao magåhet na guåha såntos na semento?"  "Father, is it true that there's such a thing as holy cement?"

To be funny, I answered, "Solo yanggen ma bendise."  "Only if the cement is blessed."

After she explained that the Christmas carol was the source of her confusion, I understood where she got the idea and was able to help her distinguish såntos nasimiento from ntos na semento; holy birth from holy cement.

En Español

Los ancianos conocían la palabra "nacimiento," pero los jóvenes hoy en día no la conocen y la confunden con la frase en chamorro "santos na semento," que quiere decir "cemento santo," que, por supuesto, no existe.

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