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Category: Chamorro Phrases

How to say “You’re Welcome” in Chamorro

When someone thanks you in Chamorro, you can oblige them with a reply. The typical way to do this in most languages is to say something equivalent to “you’re welcome!”.

Buen Prubechu! You’re welcome!

In Chamorro, the way to say “you’re welcome” is buen prubechu

The 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 given or favor done benefits the receiver.

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’os 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 they’re usually between strangers or people who are not friends or close family. Giving thanks and welcome in Chamorro is 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 common, but useful words and phrases.

Common Phrases in Chamorro

English Chamorro Pronunciation
Good morning. Buenas dias. BooEHN-as DEE-as
Good afternoon. Buenas tåtdes. BooEHN-as TAWT-dis
Good evening/Good night. Buenas noches. BooEHN-as NOH-tsis
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 much is this? Kuånto este? koo-ahn-too EHS-tee
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

gui’eng
nose

påchot
mouth

nifen
teeth

Animals – Gå’ga’

katu
cat

ga’lågu
dog

guihan
fish
paluma
bird

guaka
cow

månnok
chicken
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How to say “Goodbye” in Chamorro

Friends saying goodbye to each other.

Goodbye is one of the most common expressions used in most languages, and here we present to you the multitude of ways of saying goodbye to someone in Chamorro.

Adios
Goodbye

The Chamorro adios is a direct loan from the Spanish adiós. This is probably what a native speaker would say if you asked how to say “goodbye” in Chamorro. What Chamorro speakers actually use is a different story. Use adios if there’s a sense of finality. You won’t be seeing someone for a while or for a long time. This is something you would say to acquaintances, people you respect or even family members who have traveled a long distance to visit you and are now returning home. What most people will use in place of adios on a daily basis follow.

Informal ways of saying goodbye

Esta
Alright then.

Oftentimes, this will be what you will hear. Between friends or people you know well, you say esta to indicate that you’re ending the conversation or meeting. It’s understood that you’ll most likely be seeing each other again.

Tatatte
I leave you behind.

Usually said in situations where there is some activity going on, and to avoid disruption you dismiss yourself by saying that you will leave everyone to it. It is rooted in the word tatte, which means ‘back, behind’.

Fanatatte
I leave you (all) behind.
(Used in the same way as the phrase above but addressing two or more people.)

Other ways of saying goodbye

Asta i despues
Until later, See you later

Asta agupa’
Until tomorrow, See you tomorrow

Asta lamo’na
Until tonight, See you tonight

Asta otro biahe
Until next time, See you next time

Asta i birada
Until the return, See you on the way back

Asta ki umali’e’ hit ta’lo
Until we meet again (singular)

Asta ki manali’e’ hit ta’lo
Until we all meet again (plural, addressing two or more people)

Asta ki…
Until then…

Asta i Lunes
Until Monday, See you Monday

Other Related Words

despidi
To say goodbye to someone, to bid farewell

Example:
Bai hu despidi si Francine, sa’ para u hanao tatte para California agupa’.
I will say goodbye to Francine, because she’s going back to California tomorrow.

despidida
A farewell, a goodbye.

This can refer to the act itself or a celebration, a farewell party.

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How to say “Thank You” in Chamorro

There are a few ways to say thank you in Chamorro!

Si Yu’os ma’åse’

This the most common way to say “thank you” in Chamorro. The phrase itself differs from that of its English counterpart. What the phrase is really doing is asking God to be merciful to the person providing the service or gift. Si Yu’us (“God”, from Spanish Dios) ma’åse’ (“be merciful”).

Dångkulu na si Yu’us ma’åse’

Literally “a big thank you”, it is how you express “thank you very much” in Chamorro.

Other Useful Expressions

Si Yu’us ma’åse’ para i ayudu-mu (på’go).
Thanks for your help (today).

Buen prubechu
You’re welcome (formal)

Tåya’ guaha
You’re welcome (casual)

Gracias adios!
Thank God! Thank goodness! Thank heavens!

Other Ways to Say Thank You

A resurgence in Chamorro pride and identity has led specific groups of Chamorro speakers to begin suppressing and replacing the Spanish words and phrases in Chamorro in favor of indigenous Chamorro words. This has led to the expression saina ma’å’se’ in favor of si Yu’us ma’åse’. The word saina is the indigenous word for “elder” and can also be heard in the word asaina, a reference to God.

Whichever you decide to say, the important thing is that you say it. Being courteous in any language goes a long way to earning respect and friendship.

Now that you’ve learned how to say thank you”, you should learn more ways to say “you’re welcome”.

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