In Chamorro, there are five ways to say you, and they differ according to whether or not you’re addressing a single person or a group and what you’re trying to say. The word you in English is used to refer to one person or a group of people. In Chamorro, you have five different ways to say you and they are grouped below according to how you use them.
The English “You”
Before we go into the different categories, here is a quick example of the two types of you in English:
1. You (singular): How are you?
2. You (plural): How are you (all) doing?
Unlike English, the word for you in Chamorro is different for the singular and the plural. The word also changes according to the pronoun category, which are: Emphatic Pronouns, Yo’-Type Pronouns and Hu-Type Pronouns.
These pronouns are called emphatic because they place emphasis on the subject. Sometimes referred to as stressed pronouns, they are often used after prepositions like yan (and/with), para (for) and sin (without).
Hågu – You (singular) – Para hågu este! This is for you!
Hamyo – You (plural) – Para hamyo este! This is for you all!
Maria: Håyi para u na’gasgas i kusina?
Who is going to clean the kitchen?
Daniel: Hågu yan si Dolores.
You and Dolores.
Yo’-Type pronouns are subject pronouns and they’re used in stative sentences, or descriptive sentences. They’re also used in intransitive sentences where the action is done to a non-specific object.
Hao – You (singular)
Hamyo – You (plural)
Magof hao. You are hapy.
Magof hamyo. You (both) are happy.
Manmagof hamyo. You (all) are happy.
Bumaila hao. You danced.
Kao manestudia hao? Did you study?
These pronouns are the subject pronouns in transitive sentences involving specific objects.
Un – You (singular)
En – You (plural)
Un kanno’ i mansana. You ate the apple.
En lachai i sitbesa. You all finished the beer.
Featured Image Photo by YesManPro from Pexels.
There are few ways to say “Happy Birthday” in Chamorro. One way is felis kumpleaños, which comes from the Spanish birthday greeting feliz cumpleaños. Another way is to say biba kumpleaños, which 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, ____________________.
|amiga / amigu / ga’chong||friend|
|asagua-hu||my husband/wife (lit. “my spouse”)|
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)
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.
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.
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.