Wednesday, April 20, 2016


Many people are familiar with the family name Mesngon. But not everyone knows that the name has an actual meaning. It's an actual Chamorro word.

Mesngon means " durable, lasting, long suffering."

But I bring this up only as an example of a method used in the Chamorro language to create new words.

The method takes the prefix mi and combines it with a noun or verb and creates a new compound word.

Such is the case with mesngon.

It comes from the combination of mi and sungon.

Mi means "abundant." Sungon means "to endure."

Mi + sungon becomes mesngon. Durable, lasting, long suffering.

The mi is changed to a me.

Mesngon gue' na taotao! That person puts up with a lot of things!


Mi + fino' (word). Mefno'. Eloquent, well-spoken, talkative.

Mi + chugo' (juice). Mesgo'. Juicy.

Mi + hinalom (interior). Mehnalom. Profound.*

Mi + håga' (blood). Mehga'. Bloody.

Mi + hånom (water). Mehnom. Watery, humid, wet.

Mi + pulo (hair). Mepplo. Hairy, furry.

One can also use the prefix mi without morphing it into me.

In those cases, the subsequent noun or verb remains the same

Mi + tiningo' (knowledge). Mi tiningo'. Possessing a lot of knowledge.

Mi + tåno' (land). Mi tano'. Possessing a lot of land.

There is a Chamorro church hymn that goes :

Mi pinite hao Maria, sa' sinapet nu i taotao.

You have a lot of sorrow, Mary, because you were afflicted by the people.


* Mehnalom

Because it is a common occurrence in many languages for speakers to switch consonants (for them, doing so makes it easier to say the word), many Chamorros say menhalom instead of mehnalom.

Some English examples of consonant switching : aks instead of ask, purty instead of pretty.

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