Sunday, September 08, 2013

Adventures in Chamorro #2

My son Akli'e' has not quite learned yet how to deal with disappointment. When he says "Malago' yu este" and he doesn't receive it, no matter how small or trivial, he'll often pout and cry. Sumahi and I take alot of joy in scolding him in the weirdest way, by singing a Rolling Stone's lyric to him translated into Chamorro. The song? "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and what we sing to him is "Ti sina un chule' todu i malago'-mu" or sometimes "Ti sina un risibi todu i malago'-mu!"


Everyday when we are driving home, the kids and I pass by the airport. There are plenty of ways to say "airport" in Chamorro if you don't want to just make airport sound Spanish to make it Chamorro. It depends primarily on what aspect of the airport you want to emphasize in how you name it. Chamorro has a circumfix known as "fan...'an." You put the fan at the front and 'an at the end and insert a word in the middle to create a term that means, "the place/or time for _______." For me and Sumahi we use the term "fambatkonaireyan" which translates to the place of "batkon aire" which is the Chamorro word for plane. Akli'e' in his infinite wisdom just calls it the "airplaneport."


Once you reach a certain level of basic Chamorro fluency, singing along to your favorite English songs in Chamorro can really help you get comfortable in the language. Start off with the chorus for a song that you really like singing along to and translate the chorus in such a way that it easily fits with the tune of the song. Then sing the Chamorro translation along with the English until it feels natural and comfortable. This can help you overcome the feelings of nervousness and uncertainty that many speakers of English feel when trying to learn Chamorro. One of my favorite songs to do this for is "Maps" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs or "Mapa siha" by the "Hu'u Hu'u Hu'u Siha." The chorus is simple, "Wait / They Don't Love You Like I Love You" x 2. There are many ways to translate this but what fits best for me is, "Nangga / Ti ma guaiya hao kalang Guahu. Nangga / Ti ma guaiya hao kalang Guahu."


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