Wednesday, February 3, 2016


Neither a hoi nor a goi

Ni hoi ni goi is said when not a word has been heard from someone.

Måtto mågi si Kiko ya ha li'e yo' lao ni hoi ni goi.

Kiko came by here and saw me but didn't say a word.

In the video above, Tan Esco talks about one of her father's brothers. She says,

Sa' i dos måtai, ah malingo gi che'lu-ña si tatå-ho i Mariano. 
Because the two who died, ah lost of my father's brothers (one) was Mariano.

Humånao ya ilek-ña bayinero, no? 
He left and became, as he said, a whaler, no?

Saonao gi batkon man aligao bayena. 
He went with the ships that searched for whales.

Eyegue ni uno ni hoi ni goi ti ma tungo' håfa uttimon-ña, no?
He was one who they heard nothing from and didn't know what happened to him, no?

Tåya' "communication."
There was no communication.


It's an interesting phrase, first of all, because the Chamorros of old did not like the OI sound.

Our future-marker verb BAI comes from the Spanish word VOY which means "I go." Some older Chamorro writings maintain the BOI spelling. But no Chamorro ever says BOI. We all say BAI. Our preference is the AI sound.

Secondly, the NI in the expression "ni hoi ni goi" comes from the Spanish word "ni," which means "neither." Ni tú ni yo means "neither me nor you."

But there is no Spanish expression ni joi ni goi.

There is a Spanish expression ni pi ni pa, and it means "zero, zilch, nothing, not a thing."

~What did you learn from math class today?
~Ni pi ni pa! Not a thing!

~What did he tell you about last night?
~Ni pi ni pa!

~What do you know about tonight's schedule?
~Ni pi ni pa!

Filipinos have their own version of this expression. "Ni ha ni ho."

So it seems that the Chamorro expression is based on a Spanish model, which Chamorros heard, and which Chamorros used to create their own expression.

Usually, one person comes up with an expression, and it is copied by others who hear it and like it.

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