Thursday, March 9, 2017


An announcement, in Chamorro, dated October 15, 1914. The American government had been in full swing on Guam for just about 15 years.

Let me first write it in more recognizable Chamorro for today's readers (knowing that my orthography differs from the "official") with an English translation underneath each Chamorro line.


15 de Oktubre de 1914
(15th of October of 1914)

Ma yåyama ta'lo atension sobre i ora ni ha fiha si Maga'låhe para u arekla siha i asunto.
(Attention is called again concerning the hour established by the Governor for the settlement of matters.)

Achuka ha' i ora desde a las ocho asta a las nuebe gi ega'an monhåyan ha fiha si Maga'låhe
(Although the Governor has already fixed the hours 8 o'clock to 9 o'clock in the morning)

para u fan ali'e' yan u ekkungok i taotao tåno' yan i palo ni mañåsaga guine na isla,
(to meet and to listen to the native people and the others living on this island,)

si Maga'låhe malago' na u ma komprende klåramente na yagin este na ora ti konbeniente
(the Governor wants it to be understood clearly that if this hour is not convenient)

para ayo siha na taotao i man gai asunto yan guiya, siha siña ha li'e' si Maga'låhe
(for those people having matters with him, they can see the Governor)

gi ofisinå-ña masea ha' håf na ora desde a las siette gi ega'an asta a las singko gi pupuenge
(at his office whatever hour from 7 o'clock in the morning till 5 o'clock in the evening)

sin u ha fiha i tiempo yagin presiso i asunton-ñiha.
(without setting the time if their matters are important.)

Yagin ti presiso i asunton-ñiha, ha desesea na u ma sangåne gue' kon tiempo
(If their matters are not urgent, he wishes that he be told promptly)

para mungnga ma interumpe yagin ha tutuhon umekkungok.
(so that he not be interrupted if he has begun listening.)

Si Maga'låhe está dispuesto na u arekla para u ha ali'e' yan masea håye na taotao,
(The Governor is open to arranging to meet with whomever,)

prinsipåtmente i pepble yan i nesesitao, lao malago' gue' na todo asunto
(principally the poor and needy, but he wishes that all matters)

u ma arekla gi ofisinå-ña gi Palåsyo.
(be handled at his office in the Palace.)

Here's the audio if you so desire it.


Yåma. To call, as in to call one's attention. But Påle' Román says it can also mean to straighten, as in to straighten one's arm by stretching it out. It comes from the Spanish llamar, "to call."

In the announcement, it is spelled with a double L (LL) because, in Spanish, LL sounds like Y. But, in Chamorro, there is no Y sound as in yellow or yard. Our Chamorro Y is like a DZ. Yigo and Yoña.

Other examples are Quintanilla, which is a Spanish name. And, sometimes, when the Spaniards spelled the Chamorro DZ sound, they used LL as in Acfalle and Tajalle.

Sobre. "Concerning, about." Borrowed from Spanish. Rarely heard now.

Fiha. "To fix, set, establish." From Spanish fijar, meaning the same. An indigenous equivalent would be po'lo, which can also mean "to establish."

Maga'låhe. I was glad to see this because, although I knew already that this was a title for the Spanish Governor, borrowed from the pre-colonial chiefs, I was always puzzled by the second title of Gobietno. Gobietno is taken from the Spanish gobierno, which means government, not governor. I'll have more to say about that in another post some day.

Asta. From the Spanish hasta, meaning "until." Many Chamorros today have changed it to esta, but older speakers would say asta. Don't forget that the H is silent (unsaid) in Spanish.

Taotao tåno'. Literally "people of the land." This shows that this phrase was in use back then already for "native."

Klåramente. Spanish for "clearly."

Yagin. An older form of the word yanggen.

Ofisina. Most people today use the English rather than the Spanish oficina. They say ofis.

Pupuenge. I note this because I have been told by others that pupuenge cannot start before 6PM, but here in this notice 5PM is already pupuenge.

Interumpe. The Spanish word "interrupt" is interrumpir and is conjugated in the 3rd person singular interrumpe; in Chamorro, interumpe.

Está dispuesto. This has to be the sentence meant in the notice. If we say that it is the Chamorro word esta, meaning "already," then the phrase makes no sense. "Already disposed" or "already willing" and if that were the case then it would be followed by "para u ma arekla." I believe the writer used the Spanish phrase "está dispuesto" or "is disposed" or "is willing."

Nesesitao. From the Spanish necesitado, or needy (necessitated). Rarely heard now. In Chamorro, we drop the D in Spanish words ending in -ado. Arreglado (put in order) becomes areklao; casado (married) becomes kasao; afamado (famed) becomes afamao.

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