Tuesday, June 9, 2015


There are several things about this partially Chamorro ad that seem awkward.

Before I proceed, let me say that the creator of the ad is not here to explain what s/he had in mind. I'm not even sure if this was even put out by Wendy's!

Secondly, I consulted a few mañaina whose first language is Chamorro.

So, what's awkward about this ad?

1. Is it the use of HÅGO, with an O, versus HÅGU?

I don't quibble about this. I prefer the O because that's how I pronounce it, because that's how I heard it growing up. Even today, you will hear some people retain the O, while the majority say U.

Keep in mind, though, that the lonnat (the open circle above the A) and the glota help us distinguish between hågo/hågu (the pronoun "you") and the verb hago'/hagu' ("to obtain/reach").

2. Is it the expression HÅGO LAO?

A bit. If the expression is supposed to be the equivalent of the English, "Up to you," which reminds me of the BK slogan "Have it your way," then HÅGO LA'MON is more common.

Nuances and subjective interpretation are a part of all communication, in whatever language. Even in English, "Have it your way" can sound dismissive and contrary, depending on the tone.

In discussing this with mañaina, some would say that HÅGO LAO goes more along with "Well, I don't really agree with you, but hågo lao. It's up to you. Do it if you want."

But other mañaina don't see a problem with HÅGO LAO if it means "In this restaurant, we serve you food the way you want it."

3. Is it the word GUAMANIANS?

Yes and no.

First off, I don't have a problem with the word "Guamanian" if you mean "people whose home is Guam." I don't think Wendy's wants to sell just to Chamorros. Money has no race.

But I do have discomfort starting off in Chamorro, then switching to English when a Chamorro word or term is available. I mean, why have a Chamorro ad at all if one is going to disregard some Chamorro words/terms in it?

"Taotao Guam" is a perfectly Chamorro equivalent to "Guamanians."

So I do have a problem with the word "Guamanians" IF your intent is to communicate in Chamorro.

4. Is it the phrase HÅGO LAO?

Yes and no.

Not in itself, but the speaker clarifies that s/he is speaking to a group of people, in the plural (i.e. Guamanians).

HÅGO is the singular, when speaking to only one person.

The correct pronoun, when speaking to more than one person, is HAMYO/HAMYU.


So perhaps we can redo this whole ad as :


*** There's also the alternative GUÅHAN for Guam

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