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.
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).
You’re welcome (formal)
You’re welcome (casual)
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”.
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.
Other “Love” Phrases
Hu guaiya hao lokkue’.
I love you too.
Hu guaiya hao para siempre.
I love you forever.
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 email@example.com!
I forgot to do a follow-up post for this app. This is the Learn Chamorro app by Troy Aguon. It’s a nice app if you’re looking to learn some Chamorro words. I don’t think I need to say too much on this as the reviews on the download pages pretty much say what’s good and bad about the app. I do hope Troy comes out with another app or an improved version of this one. We definitely need more Chamorro developers to create learning tools like this.
Here are the links to the iOS and Android versions: