Tuesday, March 18, 2014


A certain intonation and pronunciation can still be found alive and well in Luta (Rota), which I hope will endure as long as I live. 

Just today I verified with a man of many years, who has lived his whole life in Malesso', that this intonation, called the tonåda in Chamorro, was very strong among the older people of Malesso' and the other southern villages.

To this day, we can hear the tonåda among a small group of people in Humåtak.  The interesting thing is that when they speak English, the tonåda vanishes.  When they switch to Chamorro, it is always with the tonåda.

I thus believe that the tonåda is the original Chamorro accent.  The Chamorros of Hagåtña, being so intermingled with outsiders, perhaps lost the accent.  Saipan was depopulated and when it was repopulated, it was mainly by Hagåtña settlers.  Tinian had also been depopulated and then repopulated by Chamorros from Yap (originally from Guam and then Saipan), Saipan and only a few from Luta.  That is why those two islands do not have the tonåda.  The Hagåtña influence spread far and wide!

But Luta and the southern villages of Guam were more distant from this outside influence, and thus, I believe, retained the tonåda, the original accent.

But more than the intonation, there are other characteristics of Chamorro speech in Luta, and here's a video pointing them out :

For our listening pleasure, the Luta accent as spoken candidly by people in that beautiful island :

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