Tuesday, August 22, 2017


This Chamorrita verse gives new meaning to the Bee Gee's hit song "How Deep is Your Love." According to the man, he would dive to the bottom of the sea for his sweetheart.

Candy Taman sings the verse for us.

Yanggen lulok bai hu hulok,
(If it is iron I will break it,)

an kadena bai desåse.
(if it is a chain I will undo it.)

Bai atotga bumusero
(I will dare to be a diver)

yanggen gaige hao fondon tåse.
(if you're at the bottom of the sea.)

The verse points to a man's natural desire to prove himself worthy of the lady's love, and to his great strength and determination.


Desåse. Many Chamorros pronounce this dechåse. It comes from the Spanish word deshacer. "Des" is a negation, like our English "dis" (dislocate, disregard). "Hacer" means "to do, to make." Deshacer means "to undo, unmake." If you build a temporary wooden platform (palapåla) for a party, after the party you desåse it; you break it up and put away the parts.

Atotga. Taken from the Spanish otorgar, "to consent, to give." Chamorro took the meaning of this word further to mean to be courageous enough to consent or agree to dare, to chance and to risk.

Busero. Borrowed from the Spanish buzo meaning "diver."

Fondo. Borrowed also from the Spanish word meaning "bottom, depths, end, back, bottom." We get the English words "profound," "foundation" and "fundamental" from the Latin root word fundus meaning "bottom." The word fund, as in a bank account, is also connected to this, because, as they say, money is the bottom line, and fondo in Chamorro can also mean a bank account.

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