Tuesday, January 1, 2013



"New Year" is of course a Western concept brought to us by the Spaniards.  Our customs today of shooting fireworks and guns, drinking champagne and partying all night are not Spanish but modern-day American.

As the Chamorro column in the PDN shows, we have traditionally borrowed the Spanish "Año Nuevo" and change the spelling to reflect our pronunciation.  Some Chamorros pronounce it closer to the Spanish and keep the -o, others say it with a -u.  We don't have the V sound (neither do the Spaniards) and we change it to B.

There are many ways to say "Happy New Year" and anyone who speaks Chamorro will understand whatever version you prefer.

Felis Åño Nuebo - maintains, as closely as possible, the Spanish original we borrowed from. Felis comes from feliz, Spanish for "happy."  The stress is on the 2nd syllable; fe-LIS, not FE-lis.

Biba Åño Nuebo - is a kind of Chamorroism, using Biba, which we borrowed from the Spanish, in ways the Spaniards normally don't use.  You can google "Viva Año Nuevo" and find it, but it's not typical.

Magof Åño Nuebo - combines something Chamorro (magof, or "happy") with something Spanish (año nuevo).

Magof Tinilaikan i Sakkan - is pure Chamorro and translates into "Happy Change of the Year."  The PDN column uses minagof, which means "happiness" so I have questions how well that translates into "happy."  Adjective versus noun.

Magof Tinituhon i Sakkan - also Chamorro and means "Happy Beginning of the Year."

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