My column last week focused on the need to rethink the ways we talk about the Chamorro language and what we consider to really be Chamorro or not really be Chamorro. The idea that certain words that Chamorros use aren’t really “Chamorro” because they come via Spanish may make sense in casual conversation, but is at odds with how languages work. Languages adapt and change, sometimes for tragic reasons like colonization or imperialism, but they also change in less traumatic circumstances. It’s a natural feature of languages for them to change.
The presence of Spanish in the Chamorro language is not something we should spend too much time lamenting. One reason why I advocate this is because of the way Spanish terms that have been adapted into Chamorro create new layers and possibilities for expression in Chamorro. For instance, there are ways in which you can express yourself in Chamorro that use a great deal of Spanish terms, but there also are ways where you can use more of the Austronesian roots of Chamorro.