CHamoru Orthography Rules
|Editor’s note:||“Utugrafihan CHamoru, Guåhan (Guam CHamoru Orthography)” is adapted and epublished with permission from the Kumisión i Fino’ CHamoru yan i Fina’nå’guen i Historia yan i Lina’la’ i Tåotao Tåno’ (Commission on CHamoru Language and the Teaching of the History & Culture of the Indigenous People of Guam).|
With the enactment of PL 33-236 re-establishing I Kumisión i Fino’ CHamoru yan i Fina’nå’guen i Historia yan i Lina’la’ i Tåotao Tåno’ (Kumisión) came the responsibility to refine a standard way of linking the atfabeton CHamoru to the sounds of our indigenous language. We adopted some changes to the 1983 CHamoru orthography and hereby present this booklet so that we may embark on the Kumisión’s vision and planned goals and objectives.
An orthography is simply the establishment of the norms of spelling, emphasis, capitalization, punctuation, pre- and infixes, and other rules for writing language. We also know that there are always more sounds than letters and that no alphabet fits its language exactly. We can see this in the dialectal differences of spoken CHamoru. While spoken language varies from place to place and from time to time, written language will always be less flexible than its spoken parent. Written language has a different function and is produced mechanically. It must serve everyone who speaks the language, and it does this by keeping the spelling similar from one time to another. By this adopted Orthography, the Kumisión members made great efforts to provide a more standardized approach to writing CHamoru. The Kumisión acknowledges dialectical, generational, island specific and personal preferences.
In careful consideration of our movement forward, we agreed that our own orthographic rules and use of the Atfabeton CHamoru must also conform to the broader norms of language systems in society, e.g. the adherence to the rule on endonyms. Other considerations of language that must be explored in the standardization and the advancement of CHamoru includes, for example, studying the desired relationship that CHamoru, a non-English language, will have with English.
Agreeing on a shared way to use our Atfabeton CHamoru in writing is necessary in building proficiency and therefore, building stability into CHamoru as the mother tongue of our people of the Mariana Islands. The consistency that we sought was to be able to represent all and only the distinctive sound contrasts with the fewest possible symbols and conventions including an attempt at preserving historical information, highlighting cultural affiliations and supporting dialectal or regional variation. This booklet provides guidance in order that we do just that – communicate in a more standard way in CHamoru. We hope that you will cherish this booklet and employ the rules consistently and frequently.
By Hope A. Cristobal
Rule 1: Símbolon Atfabetu Siha
A. The following list of consonant and vowel symbols will be used in CHamoru spelling. They are given here in alphabetical order. Example words are given to illustrate the phonetic value of each of the spelling symbols.
|Letters||Example Word||English Meaning|
|i||hita||we (inclusive – dual or plural)|
|u||uchan / kuentos||rain / to talk|
B. The following are symbols used in written CHamoru:
- titda (tilde, the squiggly line ñ that appears above the letter n)
- lonnat (dotted å; the dot that appears above the letter a)
- a’gang na sunidu (acute/loud accent stress ǻ, á, é, í, ó, ú)
- dollan (hyphen [-] or clitic)
C. The letters c, j, q, v, w, x, z, ll, rr, will be used in the spelling of proper names only. These letters are not in the CHamoru alphabet.
D. The glottal stop [ ‘ ] is a consonant in the alphabet. It is never used at the beginning of a word. It is usually found within or at the end of the word after a vowel.
|gua’gua||to gag||nå’na’||to hide||ba’ba’||to pat gently on back side|
Rule 2. Buebuet
A. A diphthong is two vowels that come together to make one sound in a single syllable. The most common diphthongs are as follows:
|oi||hagoi||pond or lake|
B. All the vowel combinations listed below are considered diphthongs, unless the two vowels are separated into different syllables. This separation can be made by a glottal stop, distinctly heard between the two vowels.
|Letter Combination||Diphthongs||Not Diphthongs|
A sure test of a diphthong is when both vowels reduplicate.
C. The letter h shall be used to separate vowels in spelling of non- diphthong combinations of i + o, i + e, i + a, and i + u,
|i + o||esgaihon||not esgaion||i + a||biha||not bia|
|hihot||not hiot||tiha||not tia|
|i + e||liheng||not lieng||diha||not dia|
|sihek||not siek||i + u||fihu||not fiu|
Rule 3: Simbolon Konsonånte gi i Finakpo’ na Pusisión i Silåba
Consonant Symbols in the Final Position of Syllables
A. The following consonants are never used at the end of a word:
b ch d g h l ñ r y
In other words, CHamoru words do not end with these letters.
|maolek||NOT maoleg/mauleg||tugap||NOT tugab|
|idǻt||NOT edǻd/idǻd||tommo||NOT tommoh|
B. The consonants b, d, g, and l may appear as the last letter of a syllable (except in the final syllable) only when the consonant is geminate (refer to Rule 11 for definition).
|yab•bao||to chop something down||hål•la||to pull|
|sod•da’||to find||cheg•gai||cowrie shells|
Rule 4. Propiu Nå’an Siha
A. The Names of Persons will retain their spelling.
B. Clan / Family Names (cultural or ‘also known as” names) should be spelled using orthographic rules herein.
C. Proper Names will not conform to Rule 7 (Spelling of Borrowed Words) and Rule 8 (Consonant Alternation).
D. Place Names that are of indigenous origin will be written using the orthographic rules herein. For example:
Guam Village Names
|CHålan Pågu||Chalan Pago||Otdot||Ordot||Humåtak||Umatac|
|Inalåhan||Inarajan||Sånta Rita||Santa Rita||Yo’ña||Yona|
Tåno’ Låguas yan Gåni (Islas Marianas)
|Guåhan||Guam||No’os||Farallon de Medinilla||Pågan||Pagan|
|Tini’an||Tinian||Guguan||Guguan||Må’ok||Maug (Maug Islands)|
|Sa’ipan||Saipan||Alamågan||Alamagan||Ulåkas||Farallon de Pajaros|
E. Places with no known CHamoru names will retain their spelling.
Paseo de Susanna
Plaza de España
NOTE: In its role as the official Guam Place Names Commission, the Kumisión is responsible for approving new place names and reviewing established placed names.
F. Months, Days, and Numerals shall conform to CHamoru spelling rules. Days of the week, months of the year, years, decades, and centuries as follows:
Traditional Lunar Months
Days of the Week
|Years will be written as follows||Dos Mit Bente for 2020|
|Decades will be written as follows||Mit Disinuebi Sisentai Tåntos for the 1960s|
|Centuries will be written as follows||Siklon Disisiette for the 1700s|
|Siklon Disinuebi for the 1900s|
G. The word CHamoru is spelled as CH-a-m-o-r-u in accordance with the Guam Orthography as specified in 5 Guam Code Annotated, Chapter 88.
Rule 5. Ma Kapitalisa
A. Proper Names of people, places, animals, things, institutions and organizations, titles, days of the week, months of the year and the beginning of sentences will be capitalized.
|People||Carmen, Jose||Organizations||Konsilión Mahót Guåhan Siha, Kumisión i Fino’ CHamoru|
|Places||Hagåtña, Malesso’||Titles||Siñot Teria, Siñora Flores, Maga’låhi Roberto, Maga’håga Esperansa|
|Animals||Spot, Bunita, Tiger||Days||Damenggo, Sǻbalu|
|Things||Puntan Dos Amåntes, Insular Guard||Months||Hunio, Disembre|
|Institutions||Unibetsedǻt Guåhan, Kulehon Kumunidǻt Guåhan||Beginning of sentences||Maolek este na fina’che’cho’!|
B. The Affixed Forms of Proper Names beginning with consonants shall be capitalized.
-um- + Taitano = Tumaitano
-in- + Taitano+ Tinaitano
-um- + To’to = Tumo’to
-in- + To’to = Tine’to
C. The Affixed Forms of Proper Nouns Beginning with Vowels will have both the affix and the name capitalized.
-um- + Afaisen = UmAfaisen
-in- + Afaisen = InAfaisen
-um- + Assan = UmAssan
-in- + Assan = InAssan
D. When the Plural Subject Marker (PSM) man– is affixed to a proper name, the M- will also be capitalized.
man- + Juan = ManJuan
man- + Rosario = ManRosario
man- + Dueñas = ManDueñas
man- + Babauta = ManBabauta
E. The conventional practice of Capitalizing Pronouns or Nouns Relating to the Divine itself will be followed.
|Gui’ / Guiya||He (referring to the Divine)|
F. The Letters CH and NG are considered one character and will be capitalized in proper nouns and at the beginning of sentences.
NGångas i na’-mu
NGinge’ si Nåna.
NGai’an i mafañagu-mu?
Rule 6. A’gang na Buet
A. The vowel sound of the stressed syllable is emphasized by being pronounced longer, louder, and often at a higher pitch than the surrounding syllables.
In the stressed syllable (the loudest syllable in the word), the stressed vowel will be represented by the distinct vowel sound that you hear. Stressed vowels can be in both closed (a syllable that ends in a consonant) and opened (a syllable that ends in a vowel) syllables.
Vowel Positioning Chart
Vowels are labelled according to the positioning of the tongue when pronouncing the vowels. High vowels are when your tongue is towards the roof of your mouth. Low vowels are when your tongue is low in your mouth. Mid vowels are when your tongue is midway between the two.
Front vowels are when your tongue is toward the front of your mouth whereas back vowels are when your tongue is towards the back of your mouth.
|Front Vowels||Back Vowels|
Note: Vowel positioning becomes important in later rules.
Examples of opened syllable words:
|tu•bu||t(u)bu- high vowel u||tube||ti•su||t(i)su- high vowel i||stiff|
|bo•ti||b(o)ti- mid vowel o||boat||pa•se•hu||pas(e)hu- mid vowel e||to stroll leisurely|
|le•che||l(e)che- mid vowel e||milk||sa•bå•na||sab(å)na- low vowel å||mountain|
Examples of closed syllable words:
|yu’||y(u)’- high vowel u||I, me||påt•ma||p(å)tma- low vowel å||(hand) palm|
|ta’•lo||t(a)’lo- low vowel a||again||ma•tak•nga||mat(a)knga- low vowel a||brave|
|hot•no||h(o)tno- mid vowel o||oven||hi•nas•so||hin(a)sso- low vowel a||a thought|
B. The General Stress Rule of CHamoru is called the Penultimate Stress Rule (PSR). The primary stress is predictable for most CHamoru words. It usually falls on the next to the last syllable.
|to’•å•ya||towel||ta•yu•yu•ti||to pray for||dog•ga||footwear|
C. There are exceptions to the Penultimate Stress Rule in CHamoru. When a CHamoru or CHamorurized word does not adhere to the PSR then the stressed vowel, that is the loudest syllable, is made visible by marking the stressed vowel with the acute stress marker [ ́ ], above the loudest vowel (á, ǻ, é, í, ó, ú) in that syllable.
|bǻt•sa•la||to pull||tá•tai•tai||to be reading||á•sa•gua||to wed, to marry|
|é•kung•ok||listen||lǻ•la’•la’||still alive, living|
Rule 7. Dinilitrehan Inayao na Palåbra Siha
Spelling of Borrowed Words
A. English, Spanish and Japanese words which have been assimilated into CHamoru will be spelled according to the general rules for CHamoru spelling. The spelling will reflect the changes in pronunciation.
|ice cream||ais krim||imel||technology||teknolohía|
B. Some technical borrowed English words can retain their English spelling in which case they should be paced in ‘single quotation marks’ when in print.
For example: ‘x-ray’, ‘computer’, ‘badge‘, ‘cellphone’, ‘WhatsApp’
C. When CHamoru affixes are used with CHamorurized English words, then it will be spelled according to CHamoru orthographic rules.
Rule 8. Ma Tulaikan i Konsonånte
Consonant Alternation occurs when specific prefixes like man- and fan- are added to the beginning of a root word. The first consonant of the root word may change and/or be deleted.
A. There are two man- prefixes in CHamoru – (1) the Plural Subject Marker (PSM) referring to 3 or more subjects or actors, and (2) the Indefinite Object Marker (IOM) where the object is not specific (lepblo vs. i lepblo).
A transitive verb is a verb that takes a direct object. An intransitive verb is a verb that does not require and often cannot take a direct object. When the man- prefix is attached to the root word, a transitive verb may change to an intransitive verb.
|man- as PSM: man- + boka||Mamboka i babui siha.|
The pigs (3 or more) ate.
Bumoka i babui
The pig ate.
|man- as PSM: man- + misa||Manmisa i mañaina (siha).|
The elders (3 or more) attended mass.
Mumisa i saina.
The elder attended mass.
|man- as IOM: man- + fåhan||Mamåhan si Jose guihan.|
Jose bought fish.
Ha fåhan si Jose i guihan.
Jose bought the fish.
|man- as IOM: man- + chule’||Mañule’ i påtgon fina’mames.|
The child picked up dessert.
I påtgon, chumule’ i fina’mames.
The child picked up the dessert.
B. When consonants change due to affixation, the spelling will be changed accordingly. Some consonants are dropped and/or become different consonants. Most of the changes in consonants are caused by the affixation of the prefix man-.
|man- + po’lo =||mamo’lo||to put||man- + kåti =||mangåti||to cry|
|man- + puti =||mamuti||to hurt||man- + såga =||mañåga||to stay|
|man- + tunu =||manunu||to barbeque||man- + chålek =||mañålek||to laugh|
|man- + tanña’ =||mananña’||to taste|
In the Luta dialect of CHamoru, the consonant sounds do not change when affixed. For example, it is usually mansåga instead of mañåga. These are personal or dialectal preferences. ManCHamoru instead of Mañamoru is another common example.
Exception: There are poly-syllabic words in which the initial consonant of the root word is not altered. Some exceptions are found with words beginning with b or p where man- is clearly heard and written as mam-. These exceptions are usually found amongst borrowed words.
|man- + bendisi =||manbendisi||man- + bubula =||mambúbula*|
|man- + bunita =||manbunita||man- + babaila =||mambábaila*|
|man- + pachakåti =||manpachakåti||man- + bibiha =||mambíbiha*|
|man- + pagamento =||manpagamento||man- + piniti =||mampiniti*|
|man- + piligru =||manpiligru|
C. The first person singular possessive pronoun is written as –hu except for some borrowed words that use –ku instead. Possessive pronouns are attached to the root word using the dollan (hyphen) symbol. The sounds –hu and –ku are clearly audible. With some consonants, the h in –hu is swallowed and becomes inaudible so you may hear an elongated consonant at the end of the word. This occurs with words ending in the consonants k, s, or t.
- It is written as -hu when it follows a word ending with -t, as in pachot-hu (my mouth) even though you may hear pachot-tu.
- It is written as -hu when it follows a word ending with -s, as in lassas-hu (my skin) even though you may hear lassas-su.
- It is written as -hu when it follows a word ending in -k as in kalaguåk-hu (my side)even though you may hear kalaguåk-ku.
- It is written as -ku when it follows a word that ends with a vowel preceded by two consonants as in lep•blo. By adding the –ku, the stressed syllable shifts to the penultimate syllable in the affixed word, as in lep•blo-ku (my book).
Rule 9. Inimentan Konsonånte para Linakse’
Excrescent [Added] Consonants
Excrescent consonants are added before an affix for ease in pronunciation. When written, these consonants are added.
- n: lepblo + n + -måmi = lepblon-måmi (our book) NOT lepblo-måmi
- n: neni + n + -ñiha = nenen-ñiha (their baby) NOT neni-ñiha
- n: såga + n + ñaihon = såganñaihon (stay a while) NOT sågañaihon
- n: chocho + n + ñaihon = chochonñaihon (eat a while) NOT chochoñaihon
- ‘: å + ‘ + ågang = ǻ‘agang (to be calling someone – contingent upon another action) NOT åagang because the two consecutive vowels are not a dipthong.
- ‘: é + ‘ + éguihan = é‘eguihan (to be fishing) NOT éeguihan because the two consecutive vowels are not a dipthong.
- g: hånao – håna(o) + g + u [we] + i = hanågui (to go on someone’s behalf) NOT hanaogui because if a word ends in the diphthong ao then the variation of –i which in this case is –gui is what will be added. Also, the o is deleted in hånao to make it sound better.
- g: saonao – saona(o) + g + u [we] + i = saonågui (to proxy for someone) NOT saonaogui because if a word ends in the diphthong ao then the variation of –i which in this case is –gui is what will be added. Also, the o is deleted in saonao to make it sound better.
Note: If the word ends in the diphthong ai or ends in a vowel then the variation –yi is used. For example, dibi/apåsi when affixed with –i which in this case is –yi is what will be added. The new word will be dibiyi/apasiyi. In all other instances, then the suffix –i will be used. For example, li’of when affixed with –i will be written at li’ofi. Tuge’ when affixed with –i will be written as tuge’i.
Rule 10. Ti Nisisåriu na Konsonånte Siha
Superfluous [Unnecessary] Consonants
When the consonant t is heard before ch, but is not part of the syllable, then it should not be written. When the consonant t is an integral part of the syllable, then it should be written.
Not part of the syllable:
|le•che||NOT letche||milk||pe•cho||NOT petcho||chest|
|ku•se•cha||NOT kusetcha||harvest||pa•cha||NOT patcha||to touch|
|es•ka•be•che||NOT eskabetche||fried fish with vegetables||ga•cha’||NOT gatcha’||caught in the act|
|gang•go•che||NOT ganggotche||gunny sack|
Part of the syllable:
|tot•che||NOT toche||dip into liquid, to extend||måt•cha||NOT måcha||to march|
|bat•che•go’||NOT bachego’||slanted eyes||påt•che||NOT påche||to patch|
|kot•chon||NOT kochon||mattress; cushion|
Rule 11. Dinga’ Konsonånte yan i -h gi i Finakpo’ i Silåba
Geminate [Twin] Consonants and Final –h in a Syllable
A. Geminate or twin consonants are often heard as a single sound, but both consonants should be written because they are part of different syllables. The pronunciation of geminate or twin consonants may vary among speakers of CHamoru but should be spelled out as two consonants.
|meg•gai||many||gop•pe||to jump over||dåk•kon||liar|
B. The Final –h in a syllable may not be heard but will be spelled out because it is part of the syllable.
|moh•mo||to chew||NOT mo•mo||ma•måh•lao||bashful||NOT ma•må•lao|
|sah•nge||separate||NOT sa•nge||toh•ge||to stand||NOT to•ge|
Rule 12. Ti A’gang na Buet gi i Mababa na Silåba
Unstressed Vowels in Open Syllables
This rule applies to unstressed vowels in open syllables in the B, KB, KBKB, and KBKKB (V, CV, CVCV, and CVCCV) constructions.
Vowel Positioning Chart (see Rule 6 for definitions)
|Front Vowels||Back Vowels|
A. The high front vowel i and high back vowel u will be used to represent unstressed vowels in open syllables.
|lå•hi||male||NOT lå•he||tu•pu||sugarcane||NOT tu•po|
|pu•ti||pain||NOT pu•te||tå•si||ocean||NOT tå•se|
Examples with polysyllabic words:
|u•má•chu•le’||to resemble||NOT o•má•cho•le’|
|mu•chå•chu||male worker||NOT mo•chå•cho|
Exception: This rule does not apply in polysyllabic words (usually borrowed words) when the preceding unstressed vowels are o or e. In KKB/CCV construction, the vowel in the following syllable will be either o or e.
|tri’•ǻng•go•lo*||triangle||NOT tri’•ǻng•gu•lu||prók•se•mo||approximate||NOT prók•si•mu|
|dǻng•ko•lo*||big||NOT dǻng•ku•lu||sép•te•mo||seventh||NOT sép•ti•mu|
*In the case of tri’ǻnggolo and dǻngkolo, the first o results from the preceding consonant cluster ng+g and ng+k. The second o is harmonized with the first; this is known as vowel harmony.
B. The use of mid vowels in unstressed open syllables
The unstressed vowels in open syllables following a cluster of two consonants will be represented by front mid vowel e or back mid vowel o (instead of i or u).
|tåt•te||back, behind||NOT tåtti||ho’•ye||agree||NOT ho’yi|
|lis•to||ready||NOT listu||tom•mo||knee||NOT tommu|
T å t t e
C V C C V
Although you hear tåtti in a CVCCV construction you will use front mid vowel e.
The sounds represented by some of the vowels above may appear to be incorrect (i.e., tåtte instead of tatti). For CHamoru speakers, one way to see if the correct vowel is being used is to apply the singular possessive test, adding –hu or -ku, -mu, -ña, or –ta to the word.
C. The front low vowel a instead of the back low vowel å will be used in unstressed open syllables in both the CVCV and CVCCV constructions.
D. The following consonant blends or combination of letters (digraphs) will be considered as one consonant for spelling purposes.
Rule 13. Ti A’gang na Buet gi i Machom na Silåba
Unstressed Vowels in Closed Syllables
The mid vowels e and o and the low front vowel a will be used to represent the unstressed vowels in closed syllables, i.e., syllables which end with a consonant.
|hu•yong||to go out||NOT huyung||hak•mang||sea eel||NOT håkmang|
|hå•lom||to go in||NOT hålum||tu•gan||to pick / take out||NOT tugån|
|lå•pes||pencil||NOT låpis||ta•pon||type of clam||NOT tåpon|
|li’•e‘||to see||NOT li’i’||Guåhan||Guam||NOT Guahån|
Rule 14. Iná’achilong na Buet
Vowel Harmony means that vowels in words may change to become more like their preceding vowels. Vowels in CHamoru words must, under certain conditions, agree with each other in terms of whether they are front or back vowels, and whether they are high, mid, or low.
Vowel Positioning Chart (see Rule 6 for definitions)
|Front Vowels||Back Vowels|
A. Vowel Fronting
Vowel fronting is the change that occurs when a back vowel is drawn forward to become a front vowel. When specific particles (i, ni’, gi, in [pronoun], en, -in- [infix], sin, mi) are placed in front of a word, if the proceeding vowel is a back vowel it becomes a front vowel. When the pronunciation of a vowel is changed due to vowel fronting, this change will be reflected in the spelling.
|i + foggon =||i feggon||the stove (back vowel o becomes front vowel e)|
|i + potta =||i petta||the door (back vowel o becomes front vowel e)|
|gi + i + guma’ =||gi i gima’||at the house (back vowel u becomes front vowel i)|
|ni’ + suni =||ni’ sini||the taro (back vowel u becomes front vowel i)|
|-in- + ågang =||inagang||was called (back vowel å becomes front vowel a)|
|i + låhi =||i lahi||the boy (back vowel å becomes front vowel a)|
Some borrowed words are not fully fronted and may be written without fronting.
With borrowed numbers, the vowel fronting rule does not apply.
dos remains i dos not i des
dosse remains i dosse not i desse
ocho remains i ocho not i echo
onse remains i onse not i ense
B. Vowel Raising
Vowel Raising is the change that occurs when certain suffixes (-on, -an,– i, -iyi; see Rule 16C for definitions) are attached to CHamoru words causing one of the two mid vowels, e or o, to be raised to its corresponding high vowel, i or u.
The change caused by vowel raising will change the syllable construction from CVC to CVCV (KBK to KBKB).
|tågo’||+ on =||tågu’on||someone who is reliable|
|fan + maigo’||+ an =||fanmaigu’an||place for sleeping|
|tuge’||+ i =||tugi’i||to write for someone|
|chenchule’||+ i =||chenchuli’i||to reciprocate for someone|
|kuentos||+ iyi =||kuentusiyi||to speak for someone|
C. Vowel Lowering
Vowel Lowering is the change that occurs when the excrescent consonant n is added to words to show a modifying relationship, the KB/CV structure at the end of the word will cause one of the two high vowels, i or u, to be lowered to its corresponding mid vowel, e or o.
The change caused by vowel lowering and the addition of the excrescent consonant will shift the syllable construction from CVCV to CVCVC (KBKB to KBKBK).
|suni + n||= sunen agaga’||red taro|
|tupu + n||= tupon rayǻo||striped sugarcane|
Rule 15. Difirensiáo na Palåbra Siha
Free Standing Words, Function Words, and Derivational Prefixes
A. Adjectives, verbs, and nouns are words that do not need to be associated or appended to other words. They are considered free standing words.
B. The following function words (articles and particles of speech) will be written as separate words in CHamoru:
|Function Word||Example Phrase||English Meaning|
|i||i palao’an||the woman|
|ni’||ni’ palao’an||from, which (relational term) woman|
|si||si Juan||(honorific) John|
|sin||sin guinaiya||without love|
|as||as Juan||(specifically) John|
|nu||nu hågu||you are the one/for you|
|na||dǻngkolo na taotao||big man|
|ha’||Hu tungo’ ha’||I already know|
|fan||Nangga un råtu fan||Wait a minute, please|
|ni||ni håyi guini||no one here|
|u||para u hånao||she/he/it will go|
|bai||para bai hu hånao||I will go|
|góf/géf*||góf malångu||very sick|
|gós/gés*||gós maolek||very good|
C. Examples of Derivational Prefixes
1. The word góf- functions as a derivational prefix, where it attaches to the word and changes its meaning.
Ha gófli’e’ si Juan i che’lu-ña.
Juan likes/loves his sibling.
[As compared to: Ha gof li’e’ si Juan i litråtu.
Juan saw the picture very clearly. – which is not derivational]
2. The word tai- functions as a derivational prefix, where it attaches to the word and changes its meaning.
Taimagagu si Rosa.
Rosa doesn’t have clothes.
Taimamahlao macho’gue-ña i che’cho’.
That’s not the way to do the work.
3. The word gai- functions as a derivational prefix, where it attaches to the word and changes its meaning.
Gai‘ase’ nu guåhu.
Have mercy on me.
4. The word sen- functions as a derivational prefix, where it attaches to the word and changes its meaning.
Senmannge’ i néngkanno’!
The food is delicious.
D. Use of derivational prefixes sen-, tai-, and gai- and the function word sin with infix -um and prefix man-. The spelling of these function words change when they are infixed with -um- or prefixed with man-. These function words should not be combined with any content words.
|sen + -um-||= sumén||= suméndǻngkolo|
|tai + -um-||= tumái||= tumáisalåppe’|
|gai + -um-||= gumái||= gumáisalåppe’|
|man- + sen-||= mansén||= manséndǻngkolo|
|man- + tai-||= manái||= manáisalåppe’|
|man- + gai-||= manggái||= manggáisalåppe’|
|sin + -um-||= sumín||= sumín magågu|
|man- + sin||= mansín||= mansín magågu|
Rule 16. Totche Siha
An affix is a general term to describe the smallest unit of sounds that have meaning which are then attached to a word (bound morphemes). Affixes do not stand alone as separate words. Derivational affixes will change the meaning of the word it attaches to. There are five types of affixes: (1) prefix, (2) suffix, (3) infix, (4) circumfix, and (5) reduplication.
Prefixes are affixes that come before the word. When prefixes are attached, they become part of the word. The following list contains the prefixes of CHamoru:
|to respect each other|
to love each other
|achá-||similarity, sameness, equally||achálokka’|
what was used
|chát-||not very/not quite/|
|not very pretty|
|é-||to look for, to hunt for||épanglao||to hunt for crabs|
|ó-||ótenda||to shop for|
|fa’-*||to pretend, to change to|
to cause, to make
|to pretend to have|
to take care, to make good
|ga’-||to like something very much||ga’maigo’||likes to sleep|
|gé-||more in that direction||gé’papa’||further down|
|gi-||person from||giBarigåda||from Barigåda|
|há-||often||hápoddong||prone to falling|
|hát-||more in the direction of||háttalom||move further in|
|ká-||having, exhibiting||káma’gas||having some authority|
|ké-||about to, try||kéhatsa||about to lift|
|ma-||passive marker||mataitai||was read|
|man-||indirect object marker||Manåyuyot yu’||I prayed|
|man-||plural subject marker||Manhåspok siha||They (3 or more) are full|
|mí-||have lots of||mísalappe’||having lots of money|
|na’-||to cause, make, let do something||na’gåsgas||to make clean|
|pinat-||majority of/mostly||pinatdonne’||mostly hot peppers|
|san-||in the direction of||sanme’na||toward the front|
|ták-||in the direction of||tákhelo’||way up high|
|talak-||look towards the direction of||talakhiyong||look towards the outside|
|ya-||towards the direction of||yamó’nana||way up front|
*Note: The prefix fa’- when attached to words that require the addition of the particle i will be attached to the root word with the use of a dollan (hyphen).
|fa’ + i + macheng||= fa-i-macheng||to act like or pretend to be a monkey|
The classifiers na‘, ga’, gimen and iyo will be written as separate words or with a hyphen (dollan) when used with a possessive pronoun.
|na’ ga’lågu||dog food||gimen neni||drink for baby|
|na’ babui||pig food||gimen gå’ga’||drink for an animal|
|ga’ taotao||animal belonging to a person||iyon nåna||thing belonging to a mother|
|ga’ Juan||animal belonging to Juan||iyon ma’estra||thing belonging to a teacher|
With possessive pronouns:
|na’-hu||my food||na’-ña||his/her/its food|
|ga’-mu||your animal||ga’-ta||our animal, inclusive|
|gimen-ña||his/her/its drink||gimen-miyu||your drink, exclusive|
|iyon-ñiha||their thing||iyo-ku||my thing|
Infixes are affixes that occur within the word. They always immediately occur before the first vowel in the word, but if the word begins with a vowel then the infix will precede that vowel. When infixes are attached, they become part of the word. In CHamoru, there are two infixes -um-, -in-, and -l-.
|-um- + hugåndo||= humugåndo||-in- + nå’i||= nina’i|
|-um- + huyong||= humuyong||-in- + magof||= minagof|
|-l- + dingding||= dilingding||-l- + pångpang||= pålangpang|
When the word begins with a vowel:
|-um- + o’mak||= umo’mak||-in- + ayuda||= inayuda|
|-um- + ékungok||= umékungok||-in- + ipe’||= inipe’|
Suffixes are affixes that come after or follow the word. When suffixes are attached, they become part of the word. The following list contains the suffixes of CHamoru:
|-an/-guan||attributive||minigu’an / påguan||having secretion from the eye / smelly|
|-guan||unintentional, covertly||pinalakse’guan||slip of the tongue|
|-i/-yi/-gui||referential marker||sangåni / nå’iyi / li’ofgui||to tell / give / dive for someone|
|-iyi/-guiyi||benefactive||sanganiyi / hanåguiyi||tell / went for or on behalf of someone|
|-ñaihon||for a little while||såganñaihon||stay for a while|
|-on/-yon||abilitative / capable of||guaså’on / guaiyayon||sharpener / lovable|
D. Circumfixes – Part Prefix, Part Suffix
CHamoru has a discontinuous affix. The prefix fan- is dependent upon the suffix -yan or -an to give a complete meaning of the word. The suffix -yan is used when the word ends with a vowel and the suffix -an is used when a word ends with a consonant.
fan- … -yan or fan- … -an
|fan- + binådu + -yan =||fambinaduyan||place of deer|
|fan- + pika + -yan =||famikåyan||cutting board|
|fan- + uchan + -an =||fanuchånan||rainy season|
|fan- + halom + -an =||fanhaluman||entrance, gate|
Reduplication is a special type of affix which results from the repetition of a syllable up to the first true vowel (not a diphthong) in a root word. There are three types of reduplication:
- Reduplication of the stressed syllable (alters the penultimate stress):
|hu•chom + hu||= hú•hu•chom||closing|
|bi•ra + bi||= bí•bi•ra||turning|
|bu•la + bu||= bú•bu•la||filling|
|ma’•å’•ñao + å’||= ma’•ǻ’•a’•ñao||being scared|
|bai•la + ba||= bá•bai•la||dancing|
|kon•ne’ + ko||= kó•kon•ne’||taking (live person / animal)|
|tok•tok + to||= tó•tok•tok||hugging|
|guai•ya + gua||= guá•guai•ya||loving|
|é•kung•ok + e||= é’•e•kung•ok||listening|
|gé’•he•lo’ + ge||= gé•ge’•he•lo’||moving up|
|eg•ga’ + e + man-||= man•é’•egga’||watching|
|op•pe + o + fan-||= fan•ó’•op•pe||answering|
2. Reduplication of the first syllable (nominalizer): The stress will shift to the first a.
|fa’nå’gue + fa’||= fáfa’nå’gue||teacher|
|fa’tinas + fa’||= fáfa’tinas||cook|
|fa’ñague + fa’||= fáfa’ñague||ghost, scary thing|
2. Emphasis Reduplication: The final vowel and consonant pair in the final syllable of the word is reduplicated.
|bu•la + la||= bú•la•la•la•la||very very full|
|ya•yas + ya||= yá•ya•ya•yas||very very tired|
|ñå•lang + la||= ñǻ•la•la•lang||very very hungry|
Rule 17. Klå’an Gai Iyo yan Palåbran Kinalamten Siha
Possessive Pronouns and Compounded Movement Words
The hyphen (dollan) will be used to show the special relationship that possessive pronouns, directional words and others have with the root word to which they are attached.
A. Possessive Pronouns
Possessive Pronouns are suffixes that are attached to root words to signify ownership. The hyphen (dollan) will also be used to attach possessive pronouns to the root word.
|rilos-hu||my watch||rilos-miyu||your (dual, plural) watch|
|rilos-mu||your watch||rilos-ñiha||their (dual, plural) watch|
|rilos-ña||his / her / its watch||matå-hu||my face|
|rilos-ta||our (inclusive) watch||matan-måmi||our face|
|rilos-måmi||our (exclusive) watch|
B. Compounded Movement Words
Compounded Movement Words are two words (a verb and a location word) that are attached to each other to describe motion in a direction or to a location. In CHamoru, these compound words describe an action that happens while one is traveling in a given direction. The hyphen (dollan) will be used to attach the verb to the location word. The stressed vowel will shift to the last syllable of the verb when attached to the location word.
|hanǻo-guatu||on your way over, go to||po’lón-hulo’||drop (it) on your way up|
|hanǻo-huyong||on your way out, go out||po’lón-papa’||drop (it) on your way down|
|chulé’-halom||bring (it) on your way in||na’én-guatu||give (it) on your way over there|
|chulé’-magi||bring (it) on your way over here||na’én-magi||give (it) on your way over here|
Glossary of Terms
|affix||General term to describe the smallest unit of sounds that have meaning which are then attached to a word (bound morphemes).|
|closed syllable||A syllable that ends with a consonant.|
|consonant cluster||Two or more consonants that follow each other without an intervening vowel.|
|dialect||The variety of a language spoken in a specific area or by a certain group of people.|
|diphthong||Two vowels that come together to make one sound in a single syllable.|
|excrescent consonant||Consonants added to the end of the word before an affix for ease in pronunciation.|
|function word||A word that has little meaning on its own, but is grammatically significant.|
|geminate consonants||Two identical consonants that come together across a syllable boundary. They are often heard as a single sound, but both consonants should be written because they are part of different syllables.|
|infix||Affixes found within the root word. When attached, they become part of the word.|
|intransitive verb||A verb that does not require and often cannot take a direct object.|
|open syllable||A syllable that ends with a vowel.|
|orthography||A system of spelling in a language.|
|penultimate||The next to the last; frequently used to refer to syllables. The primary stress in most CHamoru words falls on the penultimate stress.|
|prefix||Affixes that come before the root word. When attached, they become part of the word.|
|reduplication||A special type of affix which results from the repetition of the stressed vowel in a root word plus the preceding consonant in that syllable if there is one present.|
|root||A word which cannot be reduced any further. It may take affixes to form other words.|
|stress||The degree of loudness of a syllable. Sometimes the term “accent” is used to describe stress.|
|superfluous||A consonant that is part of a syllable, but is not always heard.|
|syllable||A unit in the sound system of the language which has a vowel to provide its essence.|
|suffix||Affixes that come after the root word. When attached, they become part of the word.|
|transitive verb||A verb that takes a direct object.|
|vowel fronting||The change that occurs when a back vowel is drawn forward to become a front vowel. When specific particles (i, ni’, gi, in, en, -in-, sin, mí-) are placed in front of a word, if the first vowel is a back vowel it will then become a front vowel.|
|vowel harmony||The process where vowels in words may change to become more like their preceding vowels. Vowels in CHamoru must, under certain conditions, agree with each other in terms of whether they are front or back vowels, and whether they are high, mid, or low vowels.|
|vowel lowering||The change that occurs when the excrescent consonant n is added to words that have the CV structure at the end causing one of the two high vowels, i or u, to be lowered to its corresponding mid vowel, e or o.|
|vowel raising||The change that occurs when certain suffixes are attached to CHamoru words causing one of the two mid vowels, e or o, to be raised to its corresponding high vowel, i or u.|