Tuesday, September 11, 2012



NGINGE' : to smell, to sniff

Nginge' i flores.  Smell the flowers.

Hu nginge' i mannge' na fina'tinås-mo.  I smelled your delicious cooking.

Kao månnge' ma nginge'?  Is it nice to smell?

Ya-ho munginge' gue'.  I like to smell him/her (as in a baby, for example).

Nihi ta nginge' i Niño.  Let us small the image of the infant Jesus (Niño).

We smell, we don't kiss

The use of the lips (kissing), whether on the mouth or cheek, is traditionally considered sensual and is reserved for romance.  We show affection and also respect by smelling with the nose.

Nginge' is the verb form that takes on a direct object (smell the flower, smell the food, smell the baby).

"To smell" in the sense of showing respect is mannginge'.

Fannginge' gi as nåna!  Reverence mama!

Ti ngingi'on na taotao.  S/he isn't worthy of respect.  Adding -on to a verb is like adding -able in English.  Respect+able = respectable.  Nginge'+on = worthy/capable of being shown reverence. 

Austronesian Roots

As you know, Chamorro is one of hundreds of languages that have their roots in Southeast Asia (Austronesia). 

These Austronesian languages can have words that seem to be identical from Indonesia all the way to Hawaii.

In the case of the word "nose," for example, many Austronesian languages have words for "nose" that include the i+ng sounds : guieng in Chamorro; ilong in Tagalog; hidung in Indonesian.

One smells with the nose, but there is greater variety among the Austronesian languages when it comes to the word for "smell."  The closest to Chamorro nginge' is ngingi in the Tanimbili language found in the Solomon Islands.  Other than that, there is a wide divergence of words for "smell," but the ng sound appears in a lot of them.

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