Saturday, February 27, 2010

Leksion Chamoru: Prefix ga'-

The prefix ga'- has two completely different uses. The first use of ga'- is that of an animal classifier, and the second is that of connoting preference, or strong liking towards something.

Ga'- : Animal Classifier
While many Chamorro speakers decide not to use this construction, it's still used by most, and is not very difficult to understand. In this application ga'- simply denotes an animal.

The most common usage of the prefix is with one of the possessive suffixes, i.e., -hu, -mu, -ña, etc. For example:
  • Ga'-hu = My animal
  • Ga'-ña = His/Her animal
  • Ga'-ñiha = Their animal
The prefix also may be added to the beginning of other words to indicate "an animal of." However, I know only of one instance where this happens in modern Chamorro:
  • Ga'lågu = Dog
Note: Ga'lågu did not mean "animal from the north," it originally meant "animal from outside the island."

Ga'- : Strong liking or Preference

This application of the prefix is rather simple, because when it's added to the front of a word it just means that it's preferred or strongly liked. Here are some examples:
  • Ga'sålåpe' si Juan. = John really likes/loves money.
  • Ga'kumentos gue'. = S/he likes to talk (is talkative).
  • Ga'maigo' si Maria. = Maria loves to sleep.

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