Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Leksion Chamoru: Prefix ke-

The prefix ke- is used to mean "to try to" or "about to."
  • Tungo' (to know) => Ketungo' (to try to know, about to know)
  • Målångu (sick) => Kemålångu (to try to get sick, about to be sick)
  • Chule' (to take) => Kechule' (to try to take, about to take)
  • Såga (to stay) => Kesåga (to try to stay, about to stay)
It is relatively simply to use within a Chamorro sentence after you've affixed ke- to the word, you just use the new word according to if it's a "man-" or "-um-" verb. So, using the above examples:
  • Ketungo' ("man-" verb) => Hu ketungo' i na'ån-ña. (I tried to know his/her name.)
  • Kemålångu ("-um-" verb) => Kumemålångu i patgon. (The child was about to be (getting) sick.)
  • Kechule' ("man-" verb) => Ha kechule' i bola ginen i ga'chong-ña. (He tried to take the ball from his friend.)
  • Kesåga ("-um-" verb) => Kumesåga si Juan giya Yoña. (Juan was trying to stay/live in Yoña.)
One thing to keep in mind is that the prefix ke- shows up in several different forms, but they are are essentially the same: keke- (reduplication of ke-), mange- (man- + ke-), mangeke- (man- + keke-). For example:
  • Ketungo' => Ha keketungo' ki ora måbaba i tenda. (He is trying to know (figure out) what time the store will be opened.)
  • Kemålångu => Mangekemålångu i tres na lålåhi. (The three men were about to be (getting) sick.)
Sometimes the word "chagi" is used to mean "to try to," however, while similar it is essentially different than the prefix ke-. "Chagi" does indeed mean "to try," but it is in the sense of testing, attempting, or proving.