Friday, May 4, 2012


Chamorro? Chamoru? CHamoru?
Påle'? Påli'?
Ma'åse'? Ma'åsi'?

Some people's blood pressure shoots up when discussing such questions.  If we keep this up, we'll then be debating whether it's måtai or måtae (dead).  Either way, the funeral home has the advantage.

The fact of the matter is that Chamorros don't all sound the same when they speak Chamorro. 

Guam/Saipan/Tinian Chamorros say på'go.

Luta Chamorros say pa'go.

Guam Chamorros say trabia.

Saipan Chamorros say tarabia.

Some Chamorros say konne'.  Some say konni'.

Some say bonito.  Some say bunitu.

Nevertheless, we all understand what we're saying in the main.  Or, if the difference is greater, the confusion is eventually resolved.

Americans don't all sound the same.  Compare Boston and Houston.

Spaniards don't all the sound the same.  Compare Madrid and Sevilla.

Japanese don't all sound the same.  Compare Tokyo and Osaka.

It's not a problem.  Tåya' guaha.

So, people will spell it the way they pronounce it, and we don't all pronounce it the same.

Do they want us all to spell it one way?  The U.S. and Britain/Ireland/Canada/Australia/NZ have been doing just fine even though it's either color or colour, center or centre, realize or realise depending on what country you're in.  Whereas academia may insist on standardized (aha! American) spelling, I worry about the civil law telling citizens how to spell.  Shall we start laying fines on those who don't conform?  Create a Language Police?  What about free speech?  It doesn't look right to me, no matter how you spell it.

Talk about non-conformity.  Every day I get texts that tell me "c u 2mrw."  Or, "idk. ttyl."  That's supposed to be English.  Shall we arrest them all?

Finally, while we're all arguing what's the right way to SPELL Chamorro, fewer and fewer people know how to SPEAK Chamorro.  Let's put our efforts and passion into the more important things.

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