Thursday, July 5, 2012


Oh what a twisted route we take to get to the bottom of this word.  It's enough to make you kaduko.

Well, if you were raised in a traditional Chamorro home, you heard the word kaduko early and often.  You were probably called this by your parents, siblings or relatives.  Kaduka if you're female.

For us, it means "stupid, crazy, idiotic, foolish." 

But where did we get the word?

From the Spanish caduco, but caduco does not mean "stupid, crazy, idiotic or foolish."

Ah, but it can mean "senile" or "decrepit," as in an older person who has "lost it."

I think, in time, Chamorros just started applying this word to anyone who seemed to have "lost it."  And thus Chamorros gave a Spanish word a new meaning, at least in the Marianas.

But caduco, in Spanish, also means "outdated, expired, faded, outmoded, invalid."  You can see how this was applied to elderly people who had "lost it."

And all this because caduco comes from the Latin root cadere, which means "to fall."  To be outdated is to fall from the last time a thing was in fashion or in force.  To expire is to fall from the date of expiration.

Because Latin is the foundation for many other languages which affected English, our English word cadence comes from cadereCadence is the rising and falling of, let's say, someone's voice, for example.

Cadaver also comes from cadere.  It is the body of someone who has in "dead."

You see how Spanish, and its Latin foundation, connects us linguistically with people all over the world.

Kaduko, man.

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