Monday, January 13, 2014


First, I'd like to affirm a few things about the person who wrote this sign in Chamorro.

1. He even thought to write in Chamorro, when he didn't have to.

2. I like the way he spelled "kemmon."  The double M reflects the way we actually say the word.

3. Kommon is one of those words we modify when preceded by the definite article "i" or "the."  Kommon becomes i kemmon.


....a correction is needed here, and I suggest it only as a way of helping people get better in the language.  There is a difference between mayamak and mayulang.


....means something is broken apart.  The physical integrity of the object is broken, smashed, demolished.

This is a toilet that is mayamak (actually several toilets)...


....means that something isn't functioning.  The physical parts are all there and not destroyed, but the parts are not working properly.  The toilet is intact; it isn't mayamak.  But it's leaking, or it doesn't flush properly.  It's mayulang.

Other ways of understanding the distinction :

If someone destroys your trust, ha yamak i hinengge-ko nu guiya.  "He or she demolished my faith in him or her."

A watch that was run over by a car and was broken into a hundred bits and pieces is un mayamak na relos (a broken watch).

But a watch that is intact but the gears don't work properly and the hands no longer tick the time is un mayulang na relos (a broken watch).

A broken heart, meaning one that is in such great emotional pain as to feel shattered, is mayamak.

A heart that has a physiological malfunction (it doesn't drain or beat properly) is mayulang.

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