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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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How to say “beautiful” in Chamorro?

beautiful beach

“Beautiful” in Chamorro

When saying that someone is beautiful, you would say bunita for females and bunitu for males.

bunita
beautiful, pretty, lovely

bunitu
handsome

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.

Usage examples:

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

Bunita hao.
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 atanmeaning “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.

 

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