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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Speak Chamorro app

In celebration of Mes Chamorro and to promote the Chamorro language, the Young Men’s League of Guam has just released a mobile app that provides a Chamorro word of the day to help users learn to speak the Chamorro language.

Speak Chamorro app

Download the iOS and Android versions below.


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Learn Chamorro app coming soon

I just came across this site while searching for more Chamorro language apps. The site itself has some language lessons, but what caught my attention is their promotion of their language app that they say will be coming March 2015. Check them out at LearnChamoru.com.

Learn Chamorro App

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Chamorro Dictionary app by Aaron Matanane

Here’s another great dictionary app by a Chamorro developer. The app description page says you’re able to use the dictionary offline and search through the database.

Dangkolo na si Yu’us ma’ase’ to Siñot Aaron Matanane for providing us with another dictionary app option. It’s always great to know there are Chamorro developers out there looking to further the cause of preserving the Chamorro language.

Please check out the Chamorro Dictionary app in the Google Play Store.

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Chamorro Dictionary app by BJ Peter Dela Cruz

Here’s a great Chamorro dictionary app by Chamorro developer BJ Peter Dela Cruz. The app description page says that there are over 9,400 words in its database.

It also says you will be able to:

  • Listen to Chamorro words being spoken
  • Search its database in both English and Chamorro
  • Add your own examples and notes to help you learn.
  • Add words that do not exist in the database.

The feature set looks good, but I’ll need to try the app for myself. This app is definitely something worth exploring if you’re serious about learning the language.

Click here to visit the Chamorro Dictionary app on the Google Play Store.

Anyone who has undertaken learning Chamorro will understand when I say that we have a limited number of language resources and to have online blogs and even apps like this is really a big help to all. So kudos to Mr. Dela Cruz for creating this app.


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