Friday, April 29, 2011

Leksion Chamoru: Prefix na'-

One of the most common prefixes in Chamorro is na'-. The formal definition is that na'- is a causative prefix, that just means that it causes or makes something to happen. To use the prefix you simply add it in front something to be caused. Here are some examples:
  • Hånao = To go.
    Na'- + hånao => Na'hånao = To make (someone) go.
  • Sugon = To drive (the car/cart/...).
    Na'- + sugon => Na'sugon = To make (somone) drive (the car/cart/...)
  • Bulåchu = Drunk, intoxicated.
    Na'- + bulåchu => Na'bulåchu = To make (someone) drunk, to intoxicate (someone).
  • Magof = Happy.
    Na'- + magof => Na'magof = To make (someone) happy.
Notice that na'- causes "someone" or "something" to do whatever na'- is attached to. Using the above examples we can start to see what that means:
  • Na'hånao i lahi-mu para i tenda. = Make your son go to the store.
  • I tata ha na'sugon i hagå-ña ni kareta = The father made his daughter drive the car.
  • Ma na'bulåchu yo' gi painge. = They got me drunk last night.
  • Na'magof si nånå-mu! = Make your mother happy!
The more grammatically technical part of the prefix na'- is that you need to keep plural and "transitive" aspect of the verbs intact. That is to say, if the verb is plural, then keep it plural, and if the verb is "intransitive", then keep it that way. Also, since it's a potential action, things change to the future forms. Hopefully some examples will make more sense:
  • Manhånao siha. = They went/go.
    Na'- + manhånao => Na'fanhånao
    Ha na'fanhånao siha = He made them leave
  • Mañugon yo' = I drive/drove.
    Na'- + mañugon => Na'fañugon
    Si tåtå-hu ha na'fañugon yo'. = My father caused me to drive.
  • Mambulåchu i lalåhi. = The men are drunk.
    Na'- + mambulåchu => Na'fambulåchu
    I famalao'an ma na'fambulåchu i lalåhi gi painge. = The women got the men (caused them to become) drunk last night.
  • Manmagof i famagu'on. = The children are happy.
    Na'- + manmagof => Na'fanmagof
    Nihi para Disneyland ya ta na'fanmagof i famagu'on. = Let's go to Disneyland and make the children happy.
 One last thing to keep in mind is accentuation/pronunciation. In all the above examples the prefix na'- does not change the emphasis/stress of the syllables. However, in some cases na'- takes the primary stress of the new word; in these cases na'- means "one who causes" or "that which makes." There are several well known examples of this case:
  • Na'magof = One who makes others happy.
    Pronounced: NAH'-ma-guf
  • Na'bubu = One who makes others angry.
    Pronounced: NAH'-boo-boo
  • Na'chålek = One who makes others laugh; something which causes laughter.
    Pronounced: NAH'-chuh-lick
  • Na'o'son = One who makes others bored; boring, tiresome.
    Pronounced: NAH'-o'-sun
  • Na'må'åse' = One who makes others merciful; miserable; pitiful; pathetic; wretched.
    Pronounced: NAH'-muh'-see'; Nah'-muh'-ah-see'

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