Wednesday, March 11, 2015

"Everyday Chamorro: Chamorro Language Phrases for Beginners" (Paperback/Kindle)

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Learning a language isn't an easy task, even if you're the type who's more linguistically inclined. However, when one is learning a rare language such as Chamorro, the indigenous language of the Mariana Islands, using it in everyday conversation can be extremely intimidating.

In "Everyday Chamorro: Chamorro Language Phrases for Beginners," you'll find a variety of tips, common phrases, and cultural tidbits that will help you on your way to achieving your language goals.

Whether you're learning Chamorro because it's part of your heritage, for pure polyglot curiosity, or just to learn a few phrases to be a polite visitor to the Marianas, "Everyday Chamorro" can be used as a resource in navigating a variety of basic conversation topics from travel and family interaction to everyday tasks and more.


Click here to purchase the Paperback edition

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Saturday, January 31, 2015

I Utugrafian Chamorro yan i Areklamento-ña - Chamorro Orthography and Rules

Part of learning Chamorro is not only understanding it in the colloquial sense, but also when it's used in official documents.  The following is an excerpt from an official Government of Guam document written back in September 8, 1978.  The document is linked below where you can see inconsistencies and why it was, and still is, so important to maintain language consistency.  The following written portion is written with corrections so you can see the difference in use, spelling, and punctuation.


Gubetnun Guahan Ufisinan Maga'lahi Hagatña, Guahan
Government of Guam, Office of the Governor,  Agaña, Guam

Iksekitibu na Otdin Numiru 78
Executive Order No. 78

I Utigrafian Chamorro yan i Areklamento-ña
Chamorro Orthography and Rules

Komu, i Chamorro i priopiu na finihu' Guahan yan i Islas Marianas siha; yan 
Whereas, Chamorro is the indigenous language of Guam and the Marianas Islands; and

Komu, i finihu' Chamorro marikunisa ufisiatmenti yan mafa'layi komu unu gi ufisiat na finihu' siha gi Guahan; yan
Whereas, the Chamorro language has been officially recognized and codified as one of the official languages of Guam; and

Komu, sisteman na tinigi' Chamorro taya na mana'klaru i mariprisinta-ña gi tinigi'; yan 
Whereas, the Chamorro writing system has never been explicitly delineated in any official form; and

Komu, taya ufisiat na areklu humuyung meggai na klasi yan difirentis tinigi' manma'usa; yan
Whereas, the lack of any official rules has resulted in inconsistent usage and form; and

Komu, pa'go na tempu meggai manmamannge' madalalalaki i hinasson-ñiha yan i petsunat na histilu-ñiha yannggin manmangge' gi fino' Chamorro; yan
Whereas, at the present time most writers follow their own intuition and personalized style when writing in Chamorro; and

Komu, i Marianas Orthography Committee ha adopta i sisteman madilitreha gi mit nuebisiento setentaiunu na sakan; yan
Whereas, the Marianas Orthography Committee adopted a spelling system in 1971; and

Komu, i sisteman manoilitreha ma'u'usa pa'go gi bilingual education na prugrama gi eskuelan Guahan yan gi sanlagu na Islas Marianas; yan 
Whereas, this spelling system is currently being used by the bilingual education programs in schools on Guam and the Northern Marianas Islands; and

Komu, asta pa'go na fecha taya ufisiat na utugrafia ma'adoptan; yan
Whereas, to date, no official orthography has been adopted; and

Komu, prisisu na uma'istapblesi un ufisiat yan unifotmi na utugrafian Chamorro para uma'asigura un klasin tinigi ha' gi finihu' Chamorro; yan
Whereas, an official standard Chamorro orthography should be adopted to assure uniformity in the use of the Chamorro language; and

Komu, i Chamorro Language Commission ha' estudiayi, ha' analisa, yan ha' diskuti apmam na tempu todu i guaha yan difirentis na tinigi' gi finihu' Chamorro para umalaknus unu ha' na sisteman tinigi' gi finihu' Chamorro; yan
Whereas, the Chamorro Language Commission has devoted numerous months and countless hours, past attempts and proposals to systematize the Chamorro writing system; and

Komu, i Chamorro Language Commission ha' prisenta gi as Maga'lahi un sistema yan i gumachuchungi na areklamentu siha ni muna'anuk hafa diputsi i Chamorro na finihu' yan para umanalibiyanu ma'usa-ña yan mafañgue-ña gi eskuela siha; yan
Whereas, the Chamorro Language Commission has presented the Governor with a system and a set of rules that they feel is reflective of Chamorro and will facilitate its use and teaching in the schools; and

Komu esta munhayan-hu istudia i rikumindasion i Chamorro Language Commission ya hu aprueba i mapruponi;
Whereas, I have reviewed the recommendation of the Chamorro Language Commission and concur with their proposal;

Pues, put este siha na rason, guahu si Ricardo J. Bordallo, Maga'lahin Guahan put i uturidat ni mana'i yu ginen i Organic Act of Guam ni ma'amendi-hu otdin na uma'adopta sigun gi matugi' guini "I Chamorro na Utugrafia yan Areklamento-ña"...
Now, Therefore, I, Ricardo J. Bordallo, Governor of Guam, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Organic Act of Guam, as amended, do hereby order the adoption of the following "Chamorro Orthography and Rules"...

As you can see from the following document, even in the 1970s, there was a defnite struggle on Guam regarding the use and perpetuation of the Chamorro language.  While other public schools in the Northern Marianas used English at school, Chamorro was often the primary language, if not the sole language, used at home.  Orthography and spoken language was deemed to be the responsibility of Chamorro family, but one wonders where the disconnect may have occurred in Guamanian Chamorro households.

Compare the spelling and message to modern Chamorro and see how even in the 1970s, there was much confusion and inconsistency in Chamorro orthography on Guam:

http://documents.guam.gov/sites/default/files/E.O.-78-26-I-Utugrafiyan-Chamorro-Zan-I-Areklamento-Na-Cham.pdf

In any case, it is up to all Chamorros who do speak the language to help our fellow brothers and sisters achieve language proficiency.  We can contribute by posting bilingual videos, audio, and writing in Chamorro and English to help others get used to vocabulary and phrase acquisition as well as building their confidence.  Together, we can all contribute to saving the Chamorro language.