Showing posts from September, 2012

Kao Manli'e' hao Guali'ek?

For those looking to practice their Chamorro I have a Chamorro sentence email list. Every few days or so I send an email to a list of people that contains a sometimes simple and sometimes complicated Chamorro sentence. The sentence will sometimes deal with mundane issues of what is your favorite cereal, what type of car do you drive, what village to you live in? When you receive the email you can respond to the entire list or just me if you'd like any feedback. If you'd like to be placed on this email list you can send me a request at It is free and open to anyone.

For the 50th sentence that I sent out I decided to make it special. Instead of a single sentence it became a sprawling story about a guali'ek with a question tacked on at the end. If you want to take a crack at the sentence you can see it pasted below:


Kao guaha manli'e' hao gualiek gi tasi yan kumekematmos gui'. Ha a'agang hao gi i batko-mu lao t…


The 2nd Guam International Film Festival is this weekend. Here's the films I'm looking forward to watching. You can find previews for each film on the website linked above. The information before each film is how much they cost and what time they are at:


Admission: $7.50 USD
Date: Saturday, September 29, 2012 | Time: 1:40pm
Venue: STADIUM TBD, Micronesia Mall Stadium Theatres | GIFF Guide: contains adult material
BIBA! ONE ISLAND, 879 VOTES!Documentary Feature | Northern Mariana Islands | 75 min. | English, Chamorro w/English subtitles | PACIFIC ASIA PREMIERE
It’s the fall of 2007 and there’s a storm brewing on the tiny island of Tinian. BIBA! follows Trenton Conner and Henry San Nicolas in their battle for control over the island, documenting a unique mixture of traditional family clan culture and wester democracy that we know all too well here in the Mariana Islands. (GIFF Guide: contains …

DNC Speeches #7: Former President Bill Clinton

We're here to nominate a President, and I've got one in mind.

I want to nominate a man whose own life has known its fair share of adversity and uncertainty. A man who ran for President to change the course of an already weak economy and then just six weeks before the election, saw it suffer the biggest collapse since the Great Depression. A man who stopped the slide into depression and put us on the long road to recovery, knowing all the while that no matter how many jobs were created and saved, there were still millions more waiting, trying to feed their children and keep their hopes alive.

I want to nominate a man cool on the outside but burning for America on the inside. A man who believes we can build a new American Dream economy driven by innovation and creativity, education and cooperation. A man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama.

I want Barack Obama to be the next President of the United States and I proudly nominate him as the standard bea…

DNC Speeches #6: Candidate for U.S. Senate, Elizabeth Warren

2012 Democratic National Convention: Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Elizabeth Warren, Candidate for U.S. Senate, Massachusetts

The following is a copy of a speech, as prepared for delivery, by Elizabeth Warren, Candidate for U.S. Senate, Massachusetts, at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, September 5, 2012.

Thank you! I'm Elizabeth Warren, and this is my first Democratic Convention. Never thought I'd run for senate. And I sure never dreamed that I'd get to be the warm-up act for President Bill Clinton—an amazing man, who had the good sense to marry one of the coolest women on the planet. I want to give a special shout out to the Massachusetts delegation. I'm counting on you to help me win and to help President Obama win.

I'm here tonight to talk about hard-working people: people who get up early, stay up late, cook dinner and help out with homework; people who can be counted on to help their kids, their parents, their neighbors, and …


Translating songs from English to Chamorro has been a favorite hobby of mine for a while. When I was first learning to speak Chamorro this was a fun necessity. It helped me, albeit in small fragments, practice the structure of making short sentences in Chamorro. One of the first songs that I translated was a favorite of mine at the time, "Yellow" by the band Coldplay. The lyrics, like many of that sort of generic, but somehow epic pop songs are incomprehensible. They are meant to be so fehman, but don't really make sense. They feel as if they make some sort of higher sense, but when taking in a literal and direct way, you might wonder how bulachu or bileng the songwriter was when he was penning these lines.

Needless to say, after so many years "Yellow" remains one of my favorite songs to sing in both English and in Chamorro. I often sing along in Chamorro as its droning tune and repetitive lyrics wind their way to their conclusion.

Note that the translation is…

DNC Speeches #5: Congressman Xavier Becerra

The Honorable Xavier Becerra
Democratic Caucus Vice Chair and Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, California
2012 Democratic National Convention
Thursday, September 6, 2012

The American dream—it’s built not with words or speeches but from sweat and tears. Its heart and soul reside not in the boardrooms on Wall Street, but in the shops and factories on Main Street. Its promise is simple: work hard, play by the rules and you can make it in America. That’s Barack and Michelle Obama’s story.

Like so many of you, that’s my parents’ story, too. My father was a construction worker who dug the ditches and laid the pipe and concrete to build our highways. My mother arrived in this country as a newlywed with no money, no English and no family of her own. Together, they realized their dream of sending their four children where no man or woman in our family in America had ever gone before: college. El sueño Americano! The American dream! In any language, that’s what this elec…

Death From Taxes

Sesso ti sina hu komprende Si Mitt Romney.

Anai hu atan gui', ti taisensia gui', ti taitiningo' gui'. Bunito gui' yan buente malate' gui' lokkue'.

Lao, sa' hafa fihu manlachi gui' taiguihi udu gui'?

Manaitai yu' meggai pa'go yan nigap put i sinangan-na siha gi me'nan i manriku ni' sumoppoppote gui'. Gof baba i sinangan-na, gi fino' Ingles ma sangan na este na klasin kuentos "divisive." Gi i sinangan-na ha fa'sahnge lamita na taotao gi i nasion, ya ilek-na na ayu siha taibali nu Guahu. Ti para siha na bei gubetno.

Ayu muna'klaru i hinasson i Manrepublicans gi este na botasion yan gi este na sakkan. Fihu ma fa'attende i manakpappa' yan i manggaige gi tinalo' na klas. Lao gi este na botasion kalang ma yuyute' ayu siha.

Anai estaba Si Romney i gubetno giya Massachusetts mas maolek na gayu gui'. Achokka' Republican gui', ti mampos "conservative" gui'. Gumubetno gu…

Hitting the Chamorro Wall

I remember many years ago hitting a wall in my learning of Chamorro.

I had gotten the basics and could carry on conversations with people. I could express myself in a casual and sort of everyday way. The basic topics of how is this person doing, how is this going, weren't any problem at all. But when the conversation would become a little bit more complex, when the subject matter got more detailed or more sophisticated the Chamorro language would politely be set side and English would prevail. Chamorro would make cameo appearances afterwards, but never ever truly gain control over what was being said, until the "adios, esta agupa."

For me this would happen because I was still learning the language and there were still plenty of thing I wasn't sure how you were supposed to talk about in the Chamorro language. But what depressed me was that sometimes it would be the other person, the one who was far more fluent than myself in the language, who would switch to English …

DNC Speeches #4: Mayor Julian Castro

September 4, 2012
Transcript of San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro's keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention, as prepared for delivery:

My fellow Democrats, my fellow Texans, my fellow Americans: I stand before you tonight as a young American, a proud American, of a generation born as the Cold War receded, shaped by the tragedy of 9/11, connected by the digital revolution and determined to re-elect the man who will make the 21st century another American century — President Barack Obama.

The unlikely journey that brought me here tonight began many miles from this podium. My brother Joaquin and I grew up with my mother Rosie and my grandmother Victoria. My grandmother was an orphan. As a young girl, she had to leave her home in Mexico and move to San Antonio, where some relatives had agreed to take her in. She never made it past the fourth grade. She had to drop out and start working to help her family. My grandmother spent her whole life wo…

DNC Speeches #3: First Lady Michelle Obama

Full text of First Lady Michelle Obama’s remarks to the Democratic National Convention on Sept. 4 in Charlotte, as prepared for delivery. 

Thank you so much, Elaine…we are so grateful for your family’s service and sacrifice…and we will always have your back.

Over the past few years as First Lady, I have had the extraordinary privilege of traveling all across this country.

And everywhere I’ve gone, in the people I’ve met, and the stories I’ve heard, I have seen the very best of the American spirit.

I have seen it in the incredible kindness and warmth that people have shown me and my family, especially our girls.

I’ve seen it in teachers in a near-bankrupt school district who vowed to keep teaching without pay.
I’ve seen it in people who become heroes at a moment’s notice, diving into harm’s way to save others…flying across the country to put out a fire…driving for hours to bail out a flooded town.
And I’ve seen it in our men and women in uniform and our proud military families…

Democrats and Republicans

I can’t get my students at UOG excited about the 2012 Presidential race. This is to be expected considering that Guam, as a territory has no Electoral College votes and so it doesn’t get to help choose the next most powerful man in the world. In most similar classrooms across the United States, a group of apathetic students is an affront to democracy and self-government! But what is the point of calling on people in Guam to care about a race that they are prohibited from participating in?
This November when you head to the polls you will get a ballot that asks you if you want to vote for either Willard Mitt Romney or Barack Hussein Obama. But since the vote doesn’t count, it makes you wonder why we even do it at all? It is yet another way that people on Guam seek to create the illusion of Guam being a secure and full part of the United States rather than face the truth of the situation. It is akin to seeing someone who is hallucinating that they are eating a gourmet meal and while th…