Pronunciation: Poo-tee tai no-byoo
Part of Speech: Noun
Definition: Bougainvillea (flower)
The bougainvillea flower is considered to be the national flower of the island. Called the “paper flower”, its vibrant colors and shades grace Guam with its beauty. The often thorned flower can be seen adorning several places on the island with its wonderful splendor. Aside from the puti tai nobiu being known for the ladder, it can also be translated to a popular phrase: you are hurt because you don’t have a lover.
Puti is a word which means hurt or hurting. In the case of the flowers, one could be hurt from the thorns found on its stems. The word tai, or, rather, the particle is used to designate a negative meaning to a word or phrase. In terms of the phrase, it is where the translation of don’t or without comes from. Lastly, nobiu is the male term used to describe one’s lover (the female counterpart being nobia). Generally, nobiu is the preferred term if you don’t want to be gender specific.
Provided below is a link to a popular rendition of the song, Puti Tai Nobiu sung by the renowned CHamoru singer: Flora Baza Quan. This video specifically has lyrics on the screen for your karaoke enjoyment. Singing along for yourself or with the family!