Category: Language Lessons

How to say “Thank You” in Chamorro

 

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

Si Yu’us 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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How to say “I love you” in Chamorro

couple in love enjoying an island sunset

Traditionally, to say “I love you” in Chamorro or even to just generally express your love for someone has always been confined to intimate situations or occasions. However, as Chamorros have become more exposed to American media and culture, it’s become more common to hear in daily life.

How to say “I love you” in Chamorro

Hu guaiya hao

“Hu guaiya hao”, literally means “I love you” and is the most common way to express your love for someone in Chamorro. The word guaiya is the verb for “to love” and can be used in more than one way as can be seen in the next expression.

Mangguaiya yo’ nu hågu

This also tells someone that you love them but the understanding is a little different. You can use this expression to tell family or friends that you love them, BUT if you say this to someone you are dating or in a romantic relationship with, you are telling them that you are “in love” with them.

Make a heart to show your love.

Other “Love” Phrases

Hu guaiya hao lokkue’.
I love you too.

Hu guaiya hao para siempre.
I love you forever.

I guinaiya-ku.
My love.

Hågu i guinaya-ku.
You are my love.

Examples in Chamorro Music

The following are examples of Chamorro songs that express “I love you” in Chamorro. The first song is Johnny Sablan’s U Guaiya Hao, which here the hu is written colloquial style. The second song is Hågu i Rason i Lina’lå’-hu, “you are the reason for my life”, by KC Deleon Guerrero.

The song U Guaiya Hao by Johnny Sablan.

The song Hagu i Rason i Lina’la’-hu by KC Deleon Guerrero.

Other Ways to Express Your Love

While actually using the word “love” is the most common way in most languages, there are other expressions that also accomplish the same thing.

Hågu i Rason i Lina’lå’-hu

Like the song says, you are the reason I exist, the reason I wake up every morning. With a sentiment like that, you’d probably follow this up with the next phrase.

Tåya’ yo’ sin hågu

“I am nothing without you”, so do I need to say more?

Have an expression of love you’d like to share? Email webmagas@chamoru.info!

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Ways to say “Yes” in Chamorro

When it comes to speaking Chamorro, most language resources will only include how one should say something. And so this is true for the Chamorro word for “yes”. Most books or even online resources will offer only the formal way to say “yes”, which is hunggan.

While there’s nothing wrong with saying hunggan all the time, a lot of Chamorro speakers tend to use the casual forms of yes in everyday conversation.

The most common response you’ll hear in a conversation will be hå’å, or its variants å’å, ha’a, or a’a. It would be like say yeah or yup.

Another way to say yes would be to say hu’u or u’u, but this response is usually used when someone is annoyed: Yes! (I heard you.) Yes! (I get it, no need to repeat yourself.)

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What does “dalai” mean?

What? Dalai!

The expression dalai

The Chamorro word dalai, pronounced da-lie with stress on the “da”, has no equivalent in the English language. It is an expression used to convey disbelief that something is true due to some existing knowledge about the subject. It is often used in statements where one expects that anyone with some common sense would’ve done the right thing or at least what was expected someone in their situation would do.

Example Sentences

Most of these sentences are in complete Chamorro, while the last I’ve included an example of how Chamorros speaking English continue to use this as it’s an important part of Chamorro conversation.


Dalai ya ti siña un hatsa i lamasa.
 
I can’t believe you can’t lift the table. (You have muscles and look strong! / The table is so small/light/etc.)

Dalai ya ti ha tungo’ manu na gaige Safeway.
It’s unbelievable he doesn’t know where Safeway is. (He’s lived here for how long? / Safeway is so close to his house!)

Dalai na dinidide’. 
I can’t believe how little. (Who would be so stingy? / But he has lots!)

Dalai ya ti mafatto si Joe. Ti chågo’ i tenda.
I can’t believe Joe hasn’t arrived yet. The store isn’t that far. (Joe went to a nearby store and is taking a while to return.)

Denise said she can’t come to the party? Dalai! She doesn’t work tomorrow.
(It is unbelievable because maybe Denise only refuses to go out when she has work the next day.)

 

Examples in Chamorro Music

This is Johnny Sablan’s song Dalai Nene. Johnny Sablan is a well-known recording artist from the island of Guam. Part of the song goes:

Dalai nene, ya ti un siesiente, i manaddong siha na inigong?
How is it, baby, that you don’t feel (all) the deep groanings?

Have a question? Email webmagas@chamoru.info.

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