Sunday, June 3, 2012


Contrary to what many people believe, the Basque Spaniard Påle' Roman Maria de Vera did not write and translate into Chamorro every single novena or prayer book.

This nobena, to the Most Holy Trinity, was translated from the Spanish into Chamorro by a Chamorro, Don Juan Diaz Torres in 1918.  Many of the Torreses were originally "de Torres" and then they dropped the "de" during American times.

He was an educated man who knew Spanish well enough to translate the Spanish novena into Chamorro.  He uses the Spanish method of citing names; his father's last name comes first.  Juan de Torres y Diaz.  "Y" means "and."  His mother was a Diaz.

He also uses the Spanish method of citing dates.  First the day then the month then the year.  The 7th of April of 1918.

The hymn to the Trinity sounds like this.  I'll provide the chorus and at least the first verse :

Ta kantåye i inino (Let us sing to the oneness)
gi tres na Petsonan Yu'us. (of the three Persons of God.)
Såntos, Såntos, Såntos Saina (Holy, Holy, Holy Lord)
tres yan uno ha' na Yu'us. (three and only one God.)

Ma ta adora, manhengge, (Let us make adored, oh faithful,)
i takkilo' yan taichii; (the high and infinite;)
ennao i mina' fanhuyong (He who brought forth)
todo i siña ta li'e. (all that we can see.)
Ta na' må'gas, ta na' lokka' (Let us exalt, let us elevate)
i sen tagåhlo na Yu'us...(the most high God...)

Today happens to be Trinity Sunday.


Many Chamorros, even older ones, are at a loss how to understand the word inino, which appears in this hymn.  It comes from the word uno, meanng "one."

When you want to make this word (an adjective) a noun, you place the infix "in" within the word.

For example, ma'lak is Chamorro for "bright."  That's an adjective; it describes something.  To say "brightness," place the infix "in" within ma'lak and it becomes mina'lak. A noun.

So, uno becomes inino.  "One" becomes "oneness."


From the prominent Torres family.  He was one of the small committee of elites, under Padre Palomo, who tried to run Guam during the chaotic transition from Spanish to American
governments.  He held civil positions under both administrations.

He was one of the early Chamorro teachers of Påle' Roman, since he spoke good Spanish.

 Why does this hymn talk about the Chinese form of exercise called Taichi?

It's not taichi but taichii.

Chii in Chamorro means "extent, limit, boundary."

Mano chii-mo?  How far did you get?  How far did you go?  Where did you finally end up?

Tai means "without."

Taichii means "without limit" or infinite.

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