Speakin' Chamorro: Some basic phrases to use on Guam

File photo
File photo

Speakin' Chamorro: Some basic phrases to use on Guam

Stripes Guam

Most of the younger Chamorros you meet on Guam, or “Guåhan,” are not likely to speak much more of the Chamorro language than the ubiquitous greeting, “Håfa adai!” But while the number of Chamorro speakers has decreased over the decades, a recent surge in interest in preserving local history, traditions and culture indicate the language may be around for centuries to come. English may be the lingua franca on the island today, but you might be surprised at how many speak some of the Chamorro language – and would appreciate your attempt to speak it, too. Here are some basics to get you started.


Basic Chamorro Phrases

Håfa Adai! – Hello (informal)
lit: What/How, Friend. 
Also spelled Hafa dai, Hafadai, Hafa dei or Hafadei.

Memorias – Greetings (From Spanish)

Kao mamaolek ha’ hao? – How are you? (informal)
lit: Are you doing well?

Håfa tatatmånu hao? – How are you? (formal)

Håyi nå’ån-mu? – What is your name?

Nå’ån-hu si John – My name is John

Ñålang yu’ – I’m hungry

Må’o yu’ – I’m thirsty

Ådios – Goodbye (From Spanish)

Put Fabot – Please (From Spanish)

Fanatåtte – Leave later (informal)

Buenas dias – Good morning (From Spanish)

Buenas tåtdes – Good afternoon (From Spanish)

Buenas noches – Good night (From Spanish)

Esta ågupa’ – Until tomorrow

Si Yu’us ma’åse’ – Thank you
lit: God have mercy

Buen probechu – You’re welcome (From Spanish)

For more information on the Chamorro language, see chamorrolanguage.blogspot.com.


Note: The letter Y is pronounced more like DZ (an approximation of the regional Spanish pronunciation). The letters N and Ñ, and A and Å, are not always distinguished in print. Thus, the Guamanian place name spelled “Yona” is pronounced “Dzoɲa,” not “Jona” as might be expected. “Ch” is usually pronounced like “Ts,” rather than as it is in English. The Chamorro R is a flat (ɾ), like a Spanish R between vowels, and a retroflex approximant (ɻ ), a type of consonantal sound, like the English R at the beginning of words.

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