Friday, April 5, 2013
The building manager thought it would be helpful if this sign were posted in multiple languages, including Chamorro, advising people that no flushing was necessary in this waterfree urinal.
Let's look at the Chamorro...
TAI HANOM ESTE NA SYSTEMAN FANME'MEYON.
Grammatically, this is an excellent sentence.
Tai (without) hanom (water) este na (this) systeman (system) fanme'meyon (place of urinating).
But, a couple of suggested corrections.
Systeman shows the writer is thinking in English. We don't spell it syña, or Tamunyng or Myguel. We use the I. So, sisteman.
Fanme'meyon. "Place of" is FAN+VERB+AN. Not -ON.
Me'me' (to urinate). Notice there are two glotas.
Chamorros would say fanmemi'yan. Not fanme'meyon.
Now on to the next sentence in Chamorro in the sign :
TI NISISITA "MAFLUSH" for "No flushing required."
Now, we often use the English directly in an English sentence.
But how would one say "flush" in Chamorro, and not borrow the English word?
We didn't have flushing till the Americans came and we had our first modern toilets.
We can describe the action, though. To flush is to "na' machuda' i hanom." To "make the water pour down."
So perhaps, "Ti nesesita ma na' machuda' i hanom." I spell it nesesita because that's how I learned to pronounce it. Others may have learned differently.
Longer, but it avoids borrowing directly from English.