Thursday, September 1, 2016


The men in the picture above are "roofing" a house.

In Chamorro, åtof is roof.

To roof a house is to åfte.

Åfte is a shortening (or contraction) of the word formed by åtof+e. By placing an E at the end of a word, the meaning of the word can now mean "to do that for/to someone or something." So, åtof means "roof" and åfte means "to put a roof on a house."

Now here's where it gets interesting.

We remember that Chamorros borrowed words from Spanish, and that's where we leave it.

But it also happened that Chamorros mixed Chamorro with Spanish and came up with a new word, a blend of both languages. Our ancestors did that with åfte.

They took the Spanish prefix des, which in English is dis.

To disregard, to dislike and to disagree. Those are all the negative sense of those root verbs.

Then they attached Spanish des to Chamorro åfte and came up with desåfte.

It means to "unroof," to take the roof off a house.

ÅFTE : to put a roof on

DESÅFTE : to take a roof off

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