Chamorro Language

I’m thinking of reading up on this language to figure out how it ticks, but not following through to learn it. It takes more than a dictionary to learn a language– in particular you need a community. I’m in the DC area, so I’d have to track down what tiny number of Chamorro speakers there are in DC. By my rough estimates, most Chamorro speakers in North America are in Washington state. In DC, I’d have to be build a community out of people who don’t speak the language as a first language, which means finding a group of incredibly motivated and linguistically talented people. Outside of Guam, typical cultural events would be book, movie, and potluck events– which works well if the language in question has a good set of books in translation, movies with subtitles.

I found sources of Guamian music, esp Betelnut Radio, but not so much in the way of books and movies. Update! I found the independent movie Shiro’s Head, an authentic Guam/Chamorro movie that is English-Chamorro with subtitles. And another Chamorro indie film on the way. A few more movies are not really Chamorro movies: Noon Sunday, Max Havoc, Godzilla, No Man an Island (the last has the Chamorro speaking Tagalog!, the first three just take place/were filmed in Guam.)

As for me personally, as a vegetarian, at a Chamorro potluck I’m too picky to eat most Chamorro authentic foods– a problem I have at Icelandic potlucks as well–and Russian for that matter. This isn’t to say things are too hard for someone else to pull it off, but probably too hard for me to pull it off, especially with so many additional great language out there to study.

Resources for learners
There is a dictionary, it’s online and suitable for converting to Anki flash cards (with some processing).
There is a grammar. (and others)
There is a text book.
There is an online version of the bible, which appears to be the largest online corpora of Chammoro.
There is sort-of a Chamorro wikipedia.

There isn’t an online forum or mailing list that I could find.
There is a Facebook page.

There are cook books. (Cookbooks? In every language group I’ve been in, there is a significant subgroup who is there just for the food) I have no idea how I’m going to make vegan spam balls.

I couldn’t find any Chamorro comics– another language learning tool I found invaluable when learning Icelandic.

There are youtube videos, and Betelnut Radio, but no obvious publishing of Chamorro language books, movies, music or other media.

To find more, google “Fino’ Chamoru

Chamorro on the Social Web
There are a handful of people tweeting in Chamorro. By handful, I mean about 2 who tweet a non-trivial amount of Chamorro.

I don’t see a suitable hashtag yet- #cha is Chattanooga, TN. #ch means Switzerland.

Chamorro Language Blogs – about the language, not in the language

Chamorro in Washington, DC
(Why DC? As I said above, I happen to live around there)

I couldn’t find any Chamorro language resources, but as it turns out there is a non-trivial sized Chamorro community here represented by the Guam Society.

Other Chamorro Clubs/Societies/Organizations outside of Guam
Starting with a meta-site “Guam Liberation” (a list of chamorro clubs/events world wide)
Kutturan also aggregates Chamorro events world wide and as I write this, they mention a Chamorro language class in Long Beach, CA
Che’lu in San Diego
Chamorro Assoc of Central Texas
Chamorro Golf Club in Washington State
Chamorro Club in Hawaii

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