Thursday, May 25, 2017


This song was, so I am told, originally a Chuukese song written by a prolific composer by the name of Nichon, who was born blind. The song talks about him being born with a disability.

Later, a man from Saipan named Alfonso Saures translated it into Chamorro for a little girl in Saipan, who was his neighbor, who also had a disability.


Tuhu i lago'-ho kada hu konsidera todo este siha i hu padedese.
(My tears fall every time I think about all these things that I suffer.)

1. Ai na nina'masi' yo' na finañågo, inutit yo' na påtgon i mafañago'-ho.
(Oh pitiable I was when I was born, from my birth I was a disabled child.)

2. Olaria mohon ya bai hu gefsaga, sa' gaige yo' på'go gaige gi chatsaga.
(Oh if only I would be rich, because now I am in hardship.)


Olaria is one version of the word ohalá.

Ohalá comes from the Spanish word ojalá, which means, more or less, "God willing." It comes from the Arabic word for God, Allah. The Muslim Moors ruled over much of Spain for hundreds of years till 1492. All those 700 years or so of Moorish presence in Spain left many marks, including on the Spanish language and, from Spanish, on Chamorro!

Originally, Chamorros said ohalá, just as is said in Spanish. But, over time, many Chamorros started pronouncing it olåra, and adding the word mohon which is a Chamorro word meaning "if only."

Other Chamorros changed it to ola mohon, and, as this singer renders it, olaria mohon, and many speakers shorten mohon to mon.

Despite all these different versions, Chamorro speakers understand what is meant by all of them.

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