Wednesday, June 18, 2014


The other day an elderly man told me that I was a bit saragåte.

I had never heard the word before.

He said it meant "naughty, mischievous."

So I started doing research.  Katherine Aguon's dictionary has it as "mischievous" and "naughty."

Påle' Roman's Chamorro-Spanish dictionary also has it.

For those wanting to know how to use the word, one could say :

Mampos saragåte este na påtgon!  This child is overly mischievous!


But what's interesting is that the original Spanish word, zaragate, is really an Americanism, meaning it's from the Spanish spoken in South or Latin America.  Some sources specifically say Mexico.

In South or Latin America, Z and S sound the same.  So zaragate will sound like saragåte.

We are beginning to appreciate more and more Mexico's influence on Chamorro culture.  We can look at any fiesta table and see more Mexican-based dishes (titiyas, chalakiles) than European Spanish dishes.

Saragåte is evidence of Mexican influence on our language.

Spain ruled the Marianas through Mexico, and Mexicans (as well as other Latin Americans) came to Guam as soldiers and religious workers.

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