Tuesday, May 19, 2015


We're very used to the word, and phrase, "Esta!"

It means, "already," and can also mean, "OK," "alright," and so forth.

The word is borrowed from Spanish, but "ésta" in Spanish means "this." So it's curious how "this" became "already" in Chamorro.

One explanation, going back a hundred years or more, is that "esta" is really a shortened version of yesta.

Yesta appears in the Chamorro prayer book above, which was written over a hundred years ago by a Chamorro, well-educated in the Spanish system.

Påle' Román says that yesta is itself a shortened form of the Spanish "ya está." "Ya está" means "it's already there," or simply, "already."

"Did you fold the clothes?"
"Ya está." (They're already there. I already did it.)

From there, Chamorros shortened "ya está" to "yesta." And, as the years rolled on, shortened it further to "esta."

In time, yesta disappeared and is now no longer heard.

I think that's about all I can say about it. Pues, esta!

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