Thursday, October 6, 2016


In this new series called "Your American is showing," I want to point out how our American upbringing has influenced the way we attempt to spell in Chamorro.

Since the majority of Chamorro speakers were never taught to spell in Chamorro, many of them resort to their own mental resources deciding how to use letters to express the sounds in their heads, and those mental resources have been shaped by their use of the English language and spelling.

In other words, they hear Chamorro sounds but associate them with English spelling. Such is the case with the Chamorro word masea, which some spell masaya.


Masea in Chamorro means "even though," "although," "even if," "whichever" and similar ideas.

I believe it is a shortening of the Spanish phrase "más que sea," which is also said in Chamorro mås ke sea. That phrase, in both Spanish and Chamorro, can mean "although" and so on.

Some examples :

Mås ke sea håye. Whosoever.

Mås ke sea håfa. Whatsoever.

Masea ti un guaiya yo', lao hu guaiya hao. Even though you don't love me, but I love you.

Masea håye sinedda'-mo gi chalan, saluda gue' kon respeto. Whoever you meet on the road, greet with respect.

The phrase includes the Spanish subjunctive form of the verb ser (to be). We can translate this as the English "could be" or "might be."

Es posible que sea verdad. It is possible that it may be true.

So, mås ke sea can be translated as "that which can be."

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