Sunday, July 8, 2012


Billa Muña's Band



These two words are examples of Chamorro words with a Spanish twist.  It shows how Chamorros can take Spanish influence and apply them to native words.

Dandero.  The root word here is dandan, which is to play a musical instrument or even a CD player.  Dandan can also mean the music being played, as in "Månnge' i dandan," "The music being played is nice."

In authentic Chamorro, the one who plays is the dadandan.  But, being exposed to Spanish, Chamorros started to add -ero after dandan to give us dandanero, the word listed in Påle' Roman's dictionary.  In time, dandanero was shortened to dandero.

Filipinos have done this to a larger number of their indigenous words.  For example, there is lasinggero, or drunkard, from the Tagalog lasing (drunk).  The -ero is borrowed from the Spanish and attached to the native word.

Galagito.  There are some who believe that ga'lågo comes from the Spanish galgo, a word for dog in that language.  I am not one of them.  First of all, if Chamorros heard the Spaniards say galgo and tried to repeat it, it would have come out gåtgo, not ga'lågo.  The Chamorros borrowed the Spanish word algún, which means "some" as in "åtgun dia," "some day."  In Chamorro, we say åtgun , not a'lagun.

Secondly, there is a perfectly understandable origin for ga'lågo, the animal from the direction of the sea, as dogs were brought in by foreigners traveling on ships.

Third, having invented their own word for this foreign animal, it's not impossible for Chamorros to have, in time, wanted a word to describe a small dog or puppy.  Having been exposed to Spanish and its diminutives (-ito, -ita and other forms) it's not surprising that Chamorros used it to form galagito.

Just as Chamorros took a native word (dandan) and added a Spanish ending (-ero) to it.

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