Monday, November 1, 2010

Leksion Chamoru: Prefix la-

The prefix la- is a comparative degree marker meaning slightly or a little bit more. It can be used with most nouns and adjectives/adverbs in Chamorro, however here are several which are more commonly known/used:
  • Maolek = Good, well.
    La- + maolek => Lamaolek = Better (slightly).
  • Meggai = Many, several.
    La- + meggai => Lameggai = Very many.
  • Bunitu = Beautiful.
    La- + bunitu => Labunitu = More (slightly) beautiful, prettier.
  • Chaddek = Fast.
    La- + chaddek => Lachaddek = Faster.
  • Guse' = Quick, lively.
    La- + guse' => Laguse' = Quicker, livelier.
You can also use the word mås to mean "more," but some words, like chaddek, usually use the prefix la- rather than mås, i.e., it is more common to hear lachaddek rather than mås chaddek.

The prefix also takes the primary stress of new word, so for the above examples:
  • Lamaolek => LA-mao-lick
  • Lameggai => LA-meg-guy
  • Labunitu => LA-boo-knee-too
  • Lachaddek => LA-chad-deck
  • Laguse' => LA-goo-see'
Note: Some use la- to almost mean "to make more..." rather than just "more." This is not "wrong" per se, but it is safer to use na'la- or na'mås.