fbpx

Category: Chamorro Phrases

Ways to Say: How Are You in Chamorro

In this lesson we discuss the different ways to ask “how are you.” It’s a common question in most languages around the world, and there are many ways to say it in Chamorro. Why so many ways to ask the same thing? Well, for starters, varying how you ask helps you sound more like a native speaker and not a robot. Also, the form you choose may sound awkward or rude if asked to the wrong audience. But luckily for you, you’ve come to the right place, and you can avoid these pitfalls altogether. Ta tutuhon…let’s start!

  1. Actually asking someone “how are you?” This is the most common way of asking someone are you:

    Håfa tatatmanu hao?
    How are you?
  2. And here’s how to ask that same question to a group of people (3 or more people)

    Håfa manatatmanu hamyo?
    How are you all doing?

  3. Using the common Chamorro greeting Håfa Adai! Believe it or not, when someone says håfa adai, they’re saying hello by asking “how is it going?” This is similar to English when people say “how are you” as a greeting.If you actually want to know how someone is doing, you may want to ask “håfa tatatmanu hao?” or the next question…
  4. Ask if they are “still doing well”…Kåo mamaolek ha’? This is a common, less formal way of asking someone how they are. Use this with friends or with people you have some familiarity with.
  5. And more casually…mamaolek ha’? You’re omitting the question marker kåo, so be sure to say it with a question tone.
  6. And again addressing a group:Kåo manmamaolek ha’ hamyo?
    Are you (all) doing well?
  7. Asking how they’re feeling…Kao mamaolek ha’ i siniente-mu? Are you feeling well?

And, if you’re the one asked “how are you” in Chamorro, you might answer with one of the following:

  • Mamaolek ha’ yu’.  I’m still doing good.
  • Gof maolek. Very good.
  • Lamaolek i siniente-ku. I feel better.
  • Malångu  yu’. I’m sick.
Continue Reading

Examples of Chamorro Idioms

Idioms are phrases that have meanings different from the literal translation. Their use reflects a greater understanding of the language and for the second-language learner is one of the most difficult things to master. Imagine having to master grammar and memorize vocabulary only to learn that you’ve barely scratched the surface of your understanding.

Examples of idioms in English are:

  • Break a leg – Good luck!
  • Call it a day – Stop working on something.
  • Once in a blue moon – Something that doesn’t occur very often.

Chamorro Phrases as Idioms

The following is a list of Chamorro idioms, along with the literal meaning and the colloquial meaning.

  1. matai ñålang literally means “to have died of hunger”. The phrase is used to express that someone is famished, that they’re about to die of starvation.
  2. maipi i pachot literally means “the mouth is hot.” The expression describes someone whose conversations appear to become reality.
  3. mababa literally means “open” or “to be opened”, referring to a person who may have once been timid and is starting to become more social.
  4. matåla’ literally means “to be hung out to dry.” Refers to an outgoing person; someone who is extroverted.
  5. Ha leleggua’ i kichalå-ña literally means “she is stirring her spoon.” Sometimes shortened to just ha leleggua’ gue’, or “she’s stirring herself.” The phrase refers to someone who overhears a conversation but does not fully grasp what is being said and then attempts to be part of the conversation.
  6. dinanche literally means “to have hit the target”, that is, a person aiming to hit something and did. This is how we express that something is “correct,” as in “not wrong.”
Continue Reading

How to say “Happy Birthday” in Chamorro

happy birthday to you

There are few ways to say “Happy Birthday” in Chamorro. One way is felis kumpleaños, which comes from the Spanish birthday greeting feliz cumpleañosAnother way is to say biba kumpleañoswhich roughly translates to something like “hurray, it’s your birthday!” or “yay, your birthday!” In Chamorro the word kumpleaños is used to mean both birthday and anniversary as the word itself is understood literally from its components, kumple, to complete, and años, meaning years. Another greeting you can use is biba ha’ånen mafañågu-mu, which is “hurray for the day of your birth!”

Try using a birthday greeting with someone:

Felis kumpleaños, ____________________.

Chamorro English
nåna mother
tåta father
nånan biha grandmother
tåtan bihu grandfather
tia aunt
tiu uncle
prima cousin (female)
primu cousin (male)
amiga / amigu / ga’chong friend
guinaiya-ku my love
korason-hu my heart
asagua-hu my husband/wife (lit. “my spouse”)
Continue Reading

How to say “I miss you” in Chamorro

i miss you

To say “I miss you” in Chamorro, you say “Mahålang yu’ nu hågu.”

I miss you mahålang yu’ nu hågu.

I miss you very much. gof mahålang yu’ nu hågu.

I miss you so much. sen mahålang yu’ nu hågu. (NOTE: sen here is like gof but a greater degree.)

 

Miss You (Singular vs. Plural)

The hågu in the phrase above is you singular. If you wanted to say “I miss you (all)”, you would have to say mahålang yu’ nu hamyo, where hamyo is the plural you.

hågu (second person singular pronoun)

hamyo (second person plural pronoun)

Examples

Håfa tatatmanu hao, Mom? – Mamaolek ha’, lao mahålang yu’ nu hågu.
How are you, Mom? – Still doing well, but I miss you.

Gof mahålang yu’ nu hamyo!
I miss you guys so much!

 

To Miss Someone Specific

To say that you miss a specific person, you will use the particle as instead of nu. Look at the following examples:

Mahålang yu’ as Chris.
I miss Chris.

Mahålang yu’ as nanå-hu.
I miss my mom.

Mahålang yu’ as nanå-hu biha.
I miss my grandmother.

Related Examples

Mahålang ham nu hågu.
We miss you. (The we here refers only to two people.)

Manmahålang ham nu hågu.
We miss you. (The we now refers to three or more people.)

Mahålang yu’ nu guiya.
I miss him/her.

Kåo mahålang hao nu guahu?
Do you miss me?

The following are other examples to express that you miss something. By now, you should’ve noted that mahålang yu’ is i miss and what follows depends on the object.

Mahålang yu’ nu Guam.
I miss Guam.

Mahålang yu’ nu i che’lu-hu låhi.
I miss my brother. (Literally, “I miss my male sibling.”)

Gof mahålang yu’ nu i fina’tinas nanå-hu biha.
I really miss my grandmother’s cooking.

Know how to say “I love you”  in Chamorro? Click here to find out how.

Continue Reading

How to say “You’re Welcome” in Chamorro

Buen Prubechu

You say “you’re welcome” when someone thanks you for a gift or service. The most common translation of “you’re welcome” in Chamorro you’ll find is buen prubechuThe phrase comes directly from the Spanish buen provecho. While speakers of Spanish may recognize the phrase as one said during a meal and equivalent to “enjoy your meal”, the actual meaning of the phrase is closer to its literal Spanish meaning.  In Chamorro, when someone says “buen prubechu”, they are actually saying “good benefit,” that is, they are hoping that the gift or favor done benefits them.

Tåya’ Guaha

A more common response to a thank you is tåya’ guaha, which means “there’s nothing there” or “it was nothing”. This response is most commonly said after some minor favor or task was done and not so much if a gift was given. You’re basically saying the thing you had to do was no big deal at all.

Other Ways to Say “You’re Welcome” in Chamorro

Hågu Mas

You may hear hågu mas, or “you more”, as a response to a Si Yu’us ma’åse’. When someone says this, they are actually saying “no, thank YOU”, “likewise” or “I should be one thanking you.” This might be said to someone who has paid you for a product or service. They would be thanking you for helping them and you disagree by saying that you should be thanking them for choosing to do business with you.

Esta

Saying “you’re welcome” in Chamorro is not as common as you’d think. For the most part, all of the responses above are all actual responses, but between strangers or people who are not friends or close family. Giving thanks and welcome in Chamorro are not expected between people who are supposedly close. Though when the occasion does call for it and we do say thanks, the response is sometimes a simple estawhich roughly translates to “already” but is understood as “that’s enough (don’t make a fuss)”.

Thanks for reading and be sure you’ve checked out how to say thank you in Chamorro.

Continue Reading