Tuesday, March 1, 2016



Today we feature a Chamorro word used on Guam, but, as far as I can tell, not in the Northern Marianas.

The word koche' means "long hair" according to Påle' Román's 1932 dictionary. Perhaps that's all it meant back then, but today, koche' almost always implies that one's hair is too long and needs to be cut.

As far as I know, koche' applies only to men, since a woman's long hair is seen as a thing of beauty, and not as something needing to be cut because it is unsightly.

Because koche' was in use on Guam as early as the 1930s and probably long before that, and as nearly all Saipan Chamorros trace their ancestry to Guam Chamorros who moved to Saipan between 1860 and 1910, I wouldn't be surprised if koche' was used among Saipan Chamorros many years ago but the use of the word died out, for reasons unknown.

Just as Luta has Chamorro words not used anywhere else but in Luta, if the Luta people do not use koche', it could be that koche' was always just a Guam term.

Make sure you use that precious glota ( ' ) at the end of koche'. Without it, the word becomes koche, which means "carriage," borrowed from the Spanish word coche. Coche also means "automobile" in Spanish and in Filipino (kotse).

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