Monday, August 13, 2012


Back in 1897, there was a decent-sized Salucnamnam family in Hågat. 

Juan Taiañao Salucnamnam, age 29, was married to Apolonia de los Santos.  They had an infant son, also Juan.  Daddy Salucnamnam had half a dozen or so siblings (we assume) living with him; at any rate, they all were of his generation and they all were named Salucnamnam.

Ignacia, whose grave is pictured above, was born in 1907.  Then she married a Babauta.

Today, there are some people who have Salucnamnam as a middle name.  As recently as last November, a woman with the middle name Salucnamnam passed away.

But, as far as we know, and having checked with the parish and municipality of Hågat, there are no known persons today with Salucnamnam as their last name.

What does the name mean?

First of all, we can almost be positively certain it is an indigenous Chamorro name.  It is a Hågat name.  There was a similar last name in Malesso' : Saguanamnam.  Sågua' in Chamorro means "channel," as in an ocean inlet.  Namnam must have meant something, but it is now lost.  Those who want can spend all day conjecturing what it meant, but it will all amount to just that - conjecture.

Såluc (or såluk or sålug) in Chamorro means "a narrow pass, ravine, gorge."  That word, too, was bound for extinction, and it does not appear in some recent Chamorro dictionaries, but thanks to Påle' Roman's older dictionary, we have its meaning still.

It's curious that the two Chamorro names that involve namnam both point to narrow, constricted geographical features (channel; ravine).  Na' manman!  Amazing!


Bernard Punzalan at says that he found in Levesque's collection of 17th century missionary writings that namnam means "courage."

This is a good find. I would still be cautious. Experience has shown that words spelled hundreds of years ago by Europeans may not sound (to our ears) the way they spelled them. There might be two different but similar words that could have both been spelled namnam by Europeans. Could namnam have meant more than one thing? In other words, the best source of information about what namnam means would be from a Chamorro living in the 1600s, and they are unfortunately all dead. What would be the connection between channel (sågua') and courage (namnam)? Only someone living at the time could give us a solid answer. So, for now, unless we find stronger evidence, the best I think we can do is offer possibilities.

1 comment:

  1. Hu gof attende i Diha ni mafanaguna este na matai. Parehu ha yan iyoku, July 31. I Ha'anen si St. Ignatious of Loyola eyu na Ignacia i na'an i difunta. Pues kalan dibusi para u ma mafana'an yu Ignacio. Lao Mafana'an yu "Antoine Ray" put i dos guello'ko si Antonio yan si Ramon ni mapuno giya Tinta yan Faha.