Monday, June 13, 2016


People mean well, and using Chamorro more and more in public signs and in print is good. But there are some examples where perhaps we need to double-check our Chamorro grammar and/or usage. In the interest of improving our Chamorro usage, I'd like to offer, from time to time, instances where perhaps we can hasso nåya (think for a while) whether the Chamorro rendition is the best, or not.

Odd-Size Baggage. Nones Mineddong Maleta

We see this sign in the baggage claim area of our Guam airport.

The question is over the use of the word nones. It is pronounced no - nes.

Nones is borrowed from the Spanish word non (singular) or nones (plural). They mean "odd number or odd numbers."

1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 are números nones (odd numbers).

2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 are números pares (even numbers).

Someone at the airport wanted to say "odd-size" in Chamorro and either knew the word nones, or looked up the word "odd" in a Chamorro dictionary or asked someone how to say "odd" in Chamorro.

The trouble is that nones does not refer to anything and everything odd. It refers only to odd numbers.

In English, we can use the one word "odd" and mean different things. "Odd" can mean something strange, unusual, exceptional, rare, irregular, non-standard, abnormal, incidental...and so on!

But "odd numbers" are none of those things. Odd numbers are simply numbers that are not divisible by two.

When it comes to "odd-size luggage," it simply means luggage that goes beyond normal sizes.

So nones (odd numbers) would not be the word to use to describe over-sized luggage.

In fact, nones mineddong means "odd number size." Maybe a 33-inch long suitcase belongs here.


There are a number of ways we can express in Chamorro the idea of baggage that is bigger than the usual sizes.

La Dangkulo na Maleta - Bigger Baggage

Pinat Dangkulo na Maleta - Overly Large Baggage

Dispareho na Maleta - dispareho can mean "different, dissimilar, unequal"

Diferensiao na Maleta - similar to dispareho

Sasahnge na Maleta - sasahnge can mean "apart, isolated" but it can also mean "different or unusual," as in "not standard."

There are certainly more ways to express this, but one thing is clear. Nones refers to odd numbers, but not to anything and everything odd.

No comments:

Post a Comment