Category: Chamorro Phrases

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”)
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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.

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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.

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What does “Hafa Adai” mean?

Hafa Adai greeting at Guam Airport

Hafa adai! You hear it everywhere throughout the Mariana Islands, at the airport, hotel and when you enter various establishments. It’s often translated as “hello”, but what does it really mean? This ubiquitous Chamorro greeting is basically a question that asks “What’s up?” or “What’s going on?” It’s understood by native speakers of Chamorro as a casual greeting often said to those they know. Nowadays, due to its extensive use in the tourism industry, it’s used as a general greeting by everyone in the islands.

Håfa in Chamorro is the question word “what” and adai has no literal English equivalent. Though written as a-d-a-i, in the greeting, the word is often pronounced simply as “day”. To tell someone håfa adai you would say “huh-fah-day”.

“Hafa adai” in Chamorro music

Probably the most well-known song which includes the greeting is the “Hafa Adai” song by Chamorro singer Johnny Sablan.

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Chamorro Words and Common Phrases

While English is spoken throughout the Mariana Islands, it doesn’t hurt to know some common words and phrases beyond just saying hello. Below is a list of of common, but useful words and phrases.

Common Phrases in Chamorro

English Chamorro Pronounciation
Good morning. Buenas dias. BooEHN-as DEE-as
Good afternoon. Buenas tåtdes. BooEHN-as TAWT-dis
Hello, my name is John. Håfa adai, i na’ån-hu si John. HAW-fah ee nah-AHN-hoo see John
What is your name? Håyi, na’ån-mu? HAWD-zee nah-AHN-moo
How are you? Håfa tatatmanu hao? HAW-fah tah-tat-ma-noo how
I am fine. Mamaolek ha’ yu’. MAH-mau-lick HA dzoo
Goodbye. Adios. ah-dee-OHS
Please. Pot fabot. put fah-boht
Thank you. Si Yu’us ma’åse’. see DZOO-oos mah-AW-see
I’m sorry. Dispensa yu’. diss-pen-sah dzoo
You are welcome. Buen prubechu. boo-EHN proo-beh-choo
You are welcome (it was nothing). Tåya’ guaha. TAWD-zah gwah-ha
How much does it cost? Kuånto bali-ña? koo-ahn-too bah-LEEN-yah
How many are there? Kuanto guaha? koo-ahn-too gwah-ha
What time is it? Ki ora? KEE oh-ra
How do you say maybe in Chamorro? Taimanu un sangan maybe gi fino’ Chamoru? TIE-mah-noo OON saw-ngan maybe gee fee-noh tsah-moh-roo
Yes. Hunggan. HOONG-gan
No. Åhe’. AW-hee
I do not understand. Ti hu komprende. tee hoo kom-pren-dee
I do not know. Ti hu tungo’. tee hoo toong-ooh
Who? Håyi? hawd-zee
Why? Sa’ håfa? SAH HAW-fah
Can you help me? Kao siña un ayuda yo’? kah-oo seen-ya oon ahd-zoo-dah dzoo
Where is ____? Månu na gaige ____? MAW-noo nah gai-geeh _____?

Common Vocabulary Words

Places (Lugåt)

plåsan båtkon aire
airport

bångko
bank

guma’ Yu’us
church

fakteria
factory

hatdin
garden

metkao
market

espitåt
hospital

school
eskuela

resturan
restaurant

tenda
store

Body (I tataotao)

ulu
head

gapotulu
hair

fåsu
face

talanga
ear

måta
eyes

påchot
mouth

gui’eng
nose

 

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