The Chamorro Language
Since I was younger my father always told me “Take pride of where you’re from son.” Being young at the time, and not knowing any better I always thought my father said that because that’s what his father told him and his father before that. Now, when I sit and think about it; it’s an honor to come from the beautiful island of Guam. There is a definite camaraderie seen within Islanders. The delight felt when welcomed because your family name, never fails to reveal a distinct security that maintains character within my culture. I take pride in my culture and in my language, and so should others from the islands. I am now able to fully grasp the concept of my father’s ...view middle of the document...
After the U.S. regained the islands the people of Guam had to undergo very frustrating conversions to sustain the communication between the three languages. The struggle to revive the Chamorro language became a crucial responsibility to those left with the exceptional ability to articulate it.
The people of Guam use the Chamorro language when someone living in their household or someone in their family passes away and during masses in the church. When I remember praying the Rosary in Chamorro, it is so unique due to how quickly it is said to the extent that it isn’t too simple for someone to spit out or fully understand what is being said. As a seasoned islander that has had his share of trouble becoming a native speaker I can tell you that it is easy to distinguish a native Chamorro speaking islander. Sometimes the islands would argue over the meanings of words, because each Chamorro speaking island would use different words containing the same meaning. An example is the different way we say “Cheers!” some Guam people say “Biba” and other islands say “Hago lao” ultimately they both have the same meaning.
Being in the military you make friends from around the world, but it never fails to stop them in their tracks when they hear my telephone conversations with someone from back home.
Too often they ask me: “What did you just say?” or “What is that supposed to mean?” For instance, I can recall a phone conversation with a friend where I said “Shoot shoot” and my friend replied with “Shoot shoot.” My co-worker gave me a funny look and said, “Did you both just say Shoot shoot?” I then explained that in the Chamorro language we use “shoot shoot” as a slang term for us it’s like saying “see you later.” Not understanding Chamorro slang isn’t only an issue for those outside our culture. It is also an issue in our own culture; in places where the Chamorro language is not spoken often in the home, children do not understand the meaning of slang. Individuals not knowing the meaning to certain Chamorro word and phrases is happening much more today than ten years ago.
I can use myself as an example, when communicating with my peers in the Air Force. Most know that the Military has different types of people joining from all over the world coming from different dialects. There are times I catch myself using slang words when communicating with my friends and I feel out of place when I get that awkward stare from them, but they all know that I’m from Guam which is a good thing. However, if I were to present a briefing in front of a crowd of people who don’t know where I’m from, I would feel as if they were beginning to judge me. The outcome of getting judged causes me to get stage fright and in turn I am unable to perform as well as I expected.
Many people in America stereotype no matter what the situation or outcome it is still happening today; America as a whole is so diverse in ethnical groups it would be so difficult to prevent stereotyping. I have...