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 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 or favor done benefits them.
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
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.
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 esta, which 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.
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.
“Beautiful” in Chamorro
When saying that someone is beautiful, you would say bunita for females and bunitu for males.
beautiful, pretty, lovely
NOTE: The word bunitu , from Spanish bonito, is often used as a general term to describe things as beautiful or pretty. When saying that a performance or movie was great or nice, it is often referred to as being bunitu. Chamorro musician K.C. DeLeon Guerrero’s sings how the day is beautiful in his song Bonito na Ha’ane.
Bunita na palao’an si Maria.
Maria is a beautiful lady.
Bunitu na movie i Braveheart.
Braveheart is a good movie.
Bunitu magagu-ña si Denise.
Denise has pretty clothes.
“You’re beautiful” in Chamorro
You are pretty.
Bunita hao na palao’an.
You’re a pretty woman.
Bunita si Maria.
Maria is pretty.
Gof bunita hao.
You’re very pretty.
Na buninita hao.
You’re so pretty.
When describing places or settings, you can also use gefpå’go, which means the same thing as bunitu. The word itself tends to be used to describe places and things.
Gefpå’go na tåno’ iya Sweden.
Sweden is such a beautiful land.
Ya-hu iya Hawaii, sa’ gefpå’go na lugat.
I like Hawaii, because it is a beautiful place.
Gefpå’go mampos i tinige’-ña si Dolores.
Dolores’s writing is too beautiful.
Gefpå’go na lugåt iya Hawaii.
Hawaii is a beautiful place.
The word atånon means good-looking or attractive. The word is rooted in the word atan, meaning “to look”, and the suffix -on, meaning “to be capable of”. So literally, the word atånon means “capable of being looked at”, implying that something or someone is “pleasing to the eye.”
Atånon na taotao si Juan.
Juan is a good-looking man.
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
|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|
|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|
|I do not understand.||Ti hu komprende.||tee hoo kom-pren-dee|
|I do not know.||Ti hu tungo’.||tee hoo toong-ooh|
|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
plåsan båtkon aire
Body (I tataotao)
Goodbye is one of the most common expressions used in most languages, and here we present to you the multitude ways of saying goodbye to someone in Chamorro.
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
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.
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.)
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
Until tomorrow, See you tomorrow
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 i Lunes
Until Monday, See you Monday
Other Related Words
To say goodbye to someone, to bid farewell
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.
A farewell, a goodbye.
This can refer to the act itself or a celebration, a farewell party.