Thursday, February 5, 2015


Some of the streets in some of our villages are named after long-forgotten areas in the outskirts of the village. Take, for example, Etton Lane in Sinajaña.

Few residents of Sinajaña know that Etton is actually the name of an isolated area in between Sinajaña and Ordot. Legally Etton lies in Chalan Pago-Ordot Municipality. But, in olden times, the area was considered part of Sinajaña, which itself was legally part of the capital city of Agaña,

Here's a map showing the location of Etton, encircled :

At one time, though Etton had ranch houses, some of them growing coconuts, probably for the copra trade. Here is a Spanish-era land document showing the owner having land in Etton, spelled Erton by the Spanish. Just think of Terlaje, also a Spanish spelling, though in Chamorro we say tet-lahe.

The Spanish above, starting with the word "Segundo," means :

"Second : a piece of land, with coconut plantings, situated in Erton.


Now rests one final question. What does "etton" mean?

It's such an old word, no one uses it any more.

But it means "obstacle, hindrance." We have Påle' Román's Chamorro-Spanish dictionary to thank for that information.

Now why should that area be called "obstacle" or "hindrance?"

Who knows? It's in a heavily forested valley. Perhaps difficult to access and that's the reason for the name. Or maybe not. Our ancestors did not write down the reasons for what they did or why they named things the way they did.

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