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Category: Language Lessons

Telling Time in Chamorro

How to tell time in Chamorro

The word “time” can be translated three different ways in Chamorro:

oraTime as in telling time. “I ora” means “the hour”.
tiempoGeneral period of time, which can be used when talking about seasons.
biaheAn instance of time, as in a number of times.

In this article, we’ll be talking about i ora, or “the hour”. It’s easy to tell time in Chamorro. You just have to remember your numbers.

How to Tell Time in Chamorro

What time is it? Ki ora?

CHAMORROENGLISH
Ala una1 o’clock
Alas dos2 o’clock
Alas tres3 o’clock
Alas kuåtro4 o’clock
Alas singko5 o’clock
Alas sais6 o’clock
Alas siette7 o’clock
Alas ochu8 o’clock
Alas nuebi9 o’clock
Alas dies10 o’clock
Alas onse11 o’clock
Alas dosse12 o’clock

Note that 1 o’clock is different from the rest as it is just “ala” and not “alas” and the word for one is the Spanish feminine form “una”.

Beyond the Hour

If we wish to say that it is half past the hour we would use the expression i media , which is a direct borrowing of the Spanish phrase meaning “and a half”

Pot ihemplo: 7:30  ~ Alas siette i media.

You can also specify the exact minute, if you wish to be specific. For example, to say it is 10:20 in the morning, you would say:

Alas dies bente

Or you could also say:

Bente pasåo alas dies, which literally means “20 past 10”.

NOTE: When giving the time, Chamorros like to give a general idea of what the time is. They’ll just say it is para (to) or pasao (past) a specific time.

Para alas 5It’s 5 o’clock.
10 para alas 5It’s 10 (minutes) ’til 5 o’clock.
Pasao alas 5It’s past 5 o’clock.
10 pasao alas 5It’s 10 past 5 o’clock.

Adding Time of Day

If you want to be more specific as to the time of day, add the following expressions after the time:

…gi ega’anin the morning
…gi chatanmakin the wee hours of the morning; before dawn
…gi talo’aniin the afternoon
…gi pupuengiin the evening
…gi tatalo’ puengi at midnight

To say, seven in the morning, you would say:

Alas siette gi ega’an.

The words oga’an and chatanmak are both used for the morning. Chatanmak refers to the period right before daybreak. As soon as there’s light, it is considered oga’an. So depending on where you are in the world when you use oga’an may be different.

The word talo’åni literally means “middle of the day”, and refers to the time of day when the sun is at its highest. We note this only because you may hear “afternoon” used differently among speakers. In English, afternoon is any time that is after noon, that is 12 pm, through the evening. In Chamorro, you may hear someone say “Alas 11 gi ega’an”, following how time is spoken in English. Or you might also hear “Alas 11 gi talo’åni”, taking into account that at 11 a.m. the sun is already reaching its highest point.

How to Ask for the Time

We already learned how to give the time, so let’s take a look at the ways you can ask for the time.

The main phrase you need to know is:

Ki ora? What time is it?

If you want to ask when a specific event is happening, like a party or movie, you would simply ask what time something is (that is, what time it’s happening).

Ki ora i movie? What time is the movie?

Ki ora i gipot? What time is the party?

If you want to ask a more complex question, such as what time someone did something or going to do something you would need to ask ki ora na… (what time is it that…)

To ask what time someone did something,

Ki ora na makmåta hao? What time did you wake up?

To ask what time someone is going to do something we use ki ora na with a future statement.

Ki ora na para un fatto?
What time will you arrive?

Ki ora na para u falak i tenda si David?
What time is David going to the store?

To ask what time something usually happens, we must employ the ongoing, or progressive, form of the verb.

Ki ora na makmamata hao?
What time do you wake up?

Ki ora na mamaigo’ hao?
What time do you sleep?

Ki ora na madadandan i kampana.
What time does the bell ring?

Ki ora na mabababa i Target?
What time does Target open?

Ki ora na humåhånao hao para i che’cho’-mu?
What time do you leave for work?

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Chamorro Days of the Week

Seven little words that you’ll use all the time when speaking Chamorro: i ha’åni siha gi simåna (the days of the week). Estegue’ siha! Here they are!

How to say the days of the week in Chamorro

CHAMORROENGLISHPRONUNCIATION
LunesMondayloo-niss
MåttesTuesdaymaht-tiss
MetkolesWednesdaymeht-koo-liss
HuebesThursdayhoo-eh-biss
BetnesFridaybeht-niss
SåbaluSaturdaysuh-bah-loo
DamenggoSundaydah-mehng-goo

Other Useful Words and Phrases

ENGLISHCHAMORUPRONUNCIATION
daydiha (dia)dee-hah (dyah)
dayha’ånihah-uh-nee
todaypå’gopah’-goo
yesterdaynigapnee-gap
tomorrowagupa’ah-goo-pah’
the day before yesterdaynigapñanee-gap-nyah
the day after tomorrowagupa’ñaah-goo-pah’-nyah
the next dayi sigiente diaee see-gyen-tee dee-ah
weeksimånasee-mah-nah
last weekma’pos na simånamuh-poos nah see-mah-nah
week before lastma’posña na simånamuh-pohs-nyah nah see-mah-nah

More Useful Expressions of Time

Hafa i dia på’go?
What day is today?

Maseha ngai’an malago’-mu
Whenever you want

Trabiha
Not yet

Ti apman
It won’t be long. (Soon)

Ha’åni or Dia

In Chamorro, we sometimes have two words for the same thing. This is true for the word for day, which can be spoken as ha’åni or dia. The former is rooted in indigenous Chamorro and the latter borrowed from Spanish. There is no strict rule as to when you should use either, but there is a predilection among native speakers toward using ha’åni more when describing the day and dia for when talking about the day in the calendar sense. As a learner of Chamorro, take note when listening to conversations in Chamorro; try to note the context in which each word is used.

The Origin of the Days of the Week

The Chamorro names for the days of the week come from the Spanish days of the week, which get their names from planets and gods.

CHAMORUSPANISHMEANING
LunesLunesDay of the Moon
MåttesMartesDay of Mars
MetkolesMiercolesDay of Mercury
HuebesJuevesDay of Jupiter
BetnesViernesDay of Venus
SåbaluSabadoFrom Hebrew word shabbat, the day of rest
DamenggoDomingoDay of God, or Day of the Lord

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Chamorro Months of the Year

When we want to talk about important events like birthdays and holidays we have to learn some very important words in CHamoru: the names of the months of the year. What’s great is that you have 12 opportunities out of the year to practice your Chamorro! So nihi! Let’s go and do this.

Here are the names of i mes siha gi sakkan (the months in the year).

CHAMORROENGLISHPRONUNCIATION
IneruJanuaryee-neh-roo
FibreruFebruaryfee-breh-roo
MåtsoMarchmaht-soo
AbritAprilah-britt
MåyuMaymah-dzoo
HuñoJunehoo-nyoo
HulioJulyhoo-lyoh
AgostoAugustah-gohs-too
SeptembreSeptembersep-tehm-bree
OktubreOctoberohk-too-bree
NobembreNovembernoh-behm-bree
DisembreDecemberdee-sehm-bree

Talking About Dates in Chamorro

Saying i fecha, or “the date”, in Chamorro is almost the same as in English except for a few details. Chamorro days are often preceded by the word dia (or diha), meaning “day”. Traditionally, the day came before the month, but now it is common to say it the English way as well. In both languages, the year always comes after the month and day, regardless of the order.

You can use the following patterns to help you write the date:

dia + number + gi + month + year

or

month + dia + number + year

Here are some examples:

CHAMORUENGLISH
Dia 3 gi OktubreOctober 3
Oktubre dia 3October 3
Dia 3 gi Oktubre 2014October 3, 2014

How To Say Your Birthday

When you want to tell someone when your kumpleaños or ha’ånen mafañagu-mu (both mean birthday) is, you can say it in a few ways:

Mafañågu yu’ gi Hulio dia 14.I was born on July 14.
I kumpleaños-hu i dia 14 gi Hulio.My birthday is July 14.
I ha’ånen mafañagu-hu i dia 14 gi Hulio.My birthday is July 14.

Ancient CHamoru Calendar

Before the Spanish arrived, the ancient Chamorros used a 13-month calendar based on the lunar cycle.

ENGLISHCHAMORU
JanuaryTumaiguini
FebruaryMaimo’
MarchUmatalaf
AprilLumuhu
MayMakmamao
JuneMananaf
JulySemu
AugustTenhos
SeptemberLumamlam
OctoberFanggualo’
NovemberSumongsong
DecemberUmayanggan
Umagahaf
Source: Guampedia.com
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Negation and Negative Words in Chamorro

In this article, we’ll learn Chamorro negation and negative words.

To make statements negative in Chamorro, in most cases, you simply have to put the negative marker ti at the beginning of the statement.

Look at the following examples.

Ti båba este.
This is not bad.
Ti ya-hu tumåtes.
I don’t like tomatoes.
Ti manhanao ham para i lancho, sa’ u’uchan.
We didn’t go to the ranch, because it’s raining.

There are a couple of exceptions to this. The words guaha and gaige both have negative counterparts. They are tåya’ and taigue, respectively. So, instead of using ti we say these opposite words. Look at the following examples.

Guaha chåda’ gi kahon ais.
There are eggs in the refrigerator.
Tåya’ chåda’ gi kahon ais.
There are no eggs in the refrigerator.
Guaha karetå-hu.
I have a car.
Tåya’ karetå-hu.
I don’t have a car.
Gaige i yabi-hu gi betså-hu.
My keys are in my pocket.
Taigue i yabi-hu gi betså-hu.
My keys are not in my pocket.
Gaige si George gi kuåtto-ña.
George is in his room.
Taigue si George gi kuåtto-ña.
George is not in his room.

Negative Words

Using the negative marker ti is the most basic type of Chamorro negation, but you can also use the following negative words and phrases.

ENGLISHENGLISH
mungadon’t
cha’-(poss. pron.)don’t (even, try to)
ninor
ni…nineither…nor
ni ngai’an (ni ngai’a’an)never / never ever
ni håyi (ni håyiyi)no one / no matter who
ni håfa (ni håfafa)none / no matter what
ni månu (ni månunu)nowhere / no matter where
nunkanever
tampokuneither, not either
trabihanot yet

Here are some examples using the negative words from the table above.

Munga kumuentos.
Don’t talk.
Ni si Antonia humånao.
Neither Antonia went.
Ni unu ni otro!
Not one nor the other!
Ni ngai’an bai hu maleffa.
I will never forget.
Ti angokkuyon na taotao! Ni håyiyi un faisen.
He’s not a trustworthy person! No matter who you ask.
Ti bai hu magof guini, ya ni hågu tampoku.
I won’t be happy here, and neither will you.
Ti hu apåpåsi i dibi-hu trabiha.
I haven’t paid my bills yet.
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Animal Names in Chamorro

This section covers the names and vocabulary used for gå’ga’, or animals, in Chamorro. 

ChamorroEnglish
ababangbutterfly
abehabee
agilaeagle
afula’ / fanihen tåsistingray, manta ray
apåcha’grasshopper
asulifreshwater eel
ayuyucoconut crab
babuipig
baka cow (female bovine)
bayenawhale
binådudeer
bulikudonkey
chå’karat, mouse
chibagoat
dengdengsnail
dulalasdragonfly
elefanteelephant
fanihifruit bat
gåmsonoctopus
ga’lågudog
guali’ekgecko
guaka cattle
gåyurooster
guihanfish
hagganturtle
halu’ushark
hiraffagiraffe
kabåyuhorse
kaimanalligator
karabaocarabao, water buffalo
katu
cat
kulepbla snake
kunehurabbit
lålo’housefly
liónlion
lobu
wolf
loruparrot
machengmonkey
mahonganglobster
månnokchicken (fowl)
nosnossquid
ñåtaksaltwater eel
ngånga’duck
ñåmumosquito
palumabird
påbuturkey
puniderahen
puyitoschick (baby chicken)
obehassheep
osubeer
otdotant
sanye’ye’spider
saligaocentipede
sasatawasp
tigiritiger
torubull
tuninosdolphin
uhangshrimp
ulo’earthworm
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