Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Leksion Chamoru: Klå'an Siha (Pronouns)

Chamorro has 4 types of pronouns: hu-type, yo'-type, emphatic, and possessive.

Hu-type pronouns:
  • Hu (I)
  • Un (You, singular)
  • Ha (He/She/It)
  • Ta (We, inclusive)
  • In (We, exclusive)
  • En (You, plural)
  • Ma (They)
These are used in transitive definite sentence constructions. That means that when there is a definite direct object in the sentence, you use these pronouns. Here are some examples:
  • "Hu sångåni si Juan." = "I told John."
  • "Ha tågo' i tata i lahi-ña." = "The father commanded his son."
  • "Ma fa'tinåsi yo' nu inafliton månnok." = "They made me some fried chicken."

Yo'-type pronouns:
  • Yo' (I)
  • Hao (You, singular)
  • Gue' (He/She/It)
  • Hit (We, inclusive)
  • Ham (We, exclusive)
  • Hamyo (You, plural)
  • Siha (They)
These are used in several ways:
  1. Intransitive subject marker:
    • "Humånao hao." = "You (singular) went."
    • "Umo'o'mak gue'." = "She is showering."
    • "Giye'ña yo'." = "I am from Yona."
    • "Manlili'of siha." = "They were diving."
  2. Transitive subject marker with an indefinite object:
    • "Chumochocho yo' pån." = "I am eating bread."
    • "Manaitai gue' lepblu." = "She read a book."
    • "Manmama'titinas hamyo nenkanno'." = "You (plural) are making food."
  3. Transitive object pronoun.:
    • "Hu kuentusi gue'." = "I spoke to her."
    • "Un pacha yo'." = "You (singular) touched me."
    • "En tingo' siha." = "You (plural) know them."

Emphatic pronouns:
  • Guåhu (I/me)
  • Hågu (You, singular)
  • Guiya (He/She/It)
  • Hita (We/Us, inclusive)
  • Hami (We/Us, exclusive)
  • Hamyo (You, plural)
  • Siha (They)
These are used for emphasis. With an "um" verb the Emphatic pronouns require the verb to insert the -um- for singular case and use the prefix man- for the plural cases.
With a "man" verb it depends on the direct object. If the direct object is definite, then you insert "-um-" in both the singular and plural case. If the direct object is indefinite, or if there is no direct object, you add "man-" for the singular case, and "manman-" for the plural. Here are some examples:
  1. "Um" verbs:
    • Singular Case:
      • "Guåhu humånao para i tenda." = "I was the one that went to the store." or "Me, I went to the store." or "I myself went to the store."
      • "Hågu muñangu/ñumangu nigap." = "You were the one that swam yesterday." or "You, you swam yesterday." or "You yourself swam."
    • Plural Case:
      • "Hamyo mampaseo." = "You were the ones strolling around." or "You (pl.), you were strolling around." or "You yourselves strolled around."
      • "Siha mangånta." = "They were the ones that sang." or "Them, they sang." or "They themselves sang."
  2. "Man" verbs:
    • Definite direct objects:
      • "Guåhu tumågo' hao." = "I was the one that ordered you." or "Me, I ordered you." or "I myself ordered you."
      • "Siha chumule' i kareta." = "They were the ones that took the car." or "Them, they took the car." or "They took the car themselves."
      • "Hami numå'i gue'." = We (exclusive) were the ones that gave it to her." or "Us, we gave it to her." or "We gave it to her ourselves."
    • Infefinite direct objects:
      • "Kao hågu mangganna?" = "Were you the one that won?" or "Did you yourself win?"
      • "Guiya mananaitai." = "He is the one that was reading." or "Him, he was reading." or "He himself was reading."
      • "Hamyo manmannånå'i sålåpe'." = "You were the ones that were giving money." or "You (pl.), you were giving money." or "You yourselves were giving money."
      • "Siha manmananaitai lepblu." = "They were the ones reading books." or "Them, they were reading books." or "They themselves were reading books."
Possessive pronouns:
  • -hu/-ku (my)
  • -mu (your, singular)
  • -ña (his/her/its)
  • -ta (our, inclusive)
  • -måmi (our, exclusive)
  • -miyu (your, plural)
  • -ñiha (their)
These are used similarly to the possessives in English, but instead of placing them in front of the noun, you affix it to the end of the noun. Here are some examples:
  • "Ilu-hu" = "My head"
  • "Karetå-mu" = "Your (singular) car"
  • "Hinanao-ña" = "His/Her trip"
  • "Familiå-ta" = "Our (inclusive) family"
When you use -måmi, -miyu, and -ñiha, it's almost the same as the other ones. However, if the noun ends with a vowel, then you add the letter "n" to the end of the noun before adding -måmi, -miyu, or -ñiha.
  • "Guma'-måmi" = "Our (exclusive) house"
  • "Siyan-måmi" = "Out (exclusive) seats"
  • "Relos-miyu" = "Your (plural) clock"
  • "Sågan-miyu" = "Your (plural) habitation"
  • "Parientes-ñiha" = "Their relatives"
  • "Mågågon-ñiha" = "Their clothes"
Let me know if you need further clarification on any of this. Either drop me an email or write a comment, I'll get the message either way.


  1. I see many translations where the "yo'" type pronoun is spelled as "yu'" What is the difference or are they both correct?

  2. Yo' and yu' are both correct; the only difference at all is the spelling as yo' more closely follows the modern orthography, but both are commonly used and either will be understood just as well. I hope that answered your question.

  3. is yo the spanish pronon I, pronounced in chmorro?