Monday, March 25, 2013


What do you call this in Chamorro?

It depends.

On Guam, this is a lisåyo.

On Saipan, this is a misterio.

On Saipan, lisåyo refers just to the prayer itself, not the beads.

On Guam, lisåyo refers to both the prayer form and the beads it is prayed on.

Misterio is Spanish for "mystery."  The rosary is a prayer form based on the meditation of certain mysteries.  Each set of ten beads form a decade of a mystery.  This is where the idea came from to call the beads "mysteries."

Lisåyo, by the way, is the Chamorro pronunciation of rosario, which is Spanish for "rosary."

Chamorro doesn't like the R sound and, when possible, replaces it with an L.

Chamorro also doesn't like the Y sound (the final part of rosario sounds like rosa - ryo) and replaces it with our own Y sound which is like a DZ.

So, in Saipan, people will look at you funny when you say, "Malingo i lisayu-ho,"  "My rosary is missing."

They would say, rather, "Malingo i misteriu-ho."

And if you said that on Guam, people would give you a mysterious look.

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