Māori language: Wikis

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Māori
Māori
Spoken in New Zealand
Region Polynesia
Total speakers 157,110 New Zealand residents claimed they could converse in Māori about everyday things, in the 2006 Census.[1]
Language family Austronesian
Official status
Official language in New Zealand
Regulated by Māori Language Commission
Language codes
ISO 639-1 mi
ISO 639-2 mao (B)  mri (T)
ISO 639-3 mri

Māori or te reo Māori (pronounced [ˈmaːoɾi, te ˈɾeo ˈmaːoɾi]) commonly te reo ("the language"), is the language of the indigenous population of New Zealand, the Māori, where it has is the status of an official language. Linguists classify it within the Eastern Polynesian languages as being closely related to Cook Islands Māori, Tuamotuan and Tahitian; somewhat less closely to Hawaiian and Marquesan; and more distantly to the languages of Western Polynesia, including Samoan, Tokelauan, Niuean and Tongan.

Contents

Official status

New Zealand has three official languages — Māori, English and New Zealand Sign Language.[2] Māori gained this status with the passing of the Māori Language Act in 1987. Most government departments and agencies have bilingual names, for example, the Department of Internal Affairs Te Tari Taiwhenua, and places such as local government offices and public libraries display bilingual signs and use bilingual stationery. New Zealand Post recognises Māori place-names in postal addresses. Dealings with government agencies may be conducted in Māori, but in practice this almost always requires interpreters, restricting its everyday use to the limited geographical areas of high Māori fluency, and to more formal occasions, such as during public consultation.

An interpreter is on hand at sessions of Parliament, in case a Member wishes to speak in Māori. In 2008, Opposition parties held a filibuster against a local government Bill, and those who could recorded their voice votes in Māori, all faithfully interpreted.

A 1994 ruling by the Privy Council[3] in the United Kingdom held the New Zealand Government responsible under the Treaty of Waitangi (1840) for the preservation of the language. Accordingly since March 2004, the state has funded Māori Television, broadcast partly in Māori. On 28 March 2008 Māori Television launched its second channel, Te Reo, broadcast entirely in the Māori language, with no advertising or subtitles. In 2008 Land Information New Zealand published the first list of official place names with macrons, which indicate long vowels. Previous place name lists were derived from systems (usually mapping and GIS systems) that could not handle macrons[4].

History

Detail from the carved ridgepole of a house

According to legend, Māori came to New Zealand from the mythical Hawaiki. Current anthropological thinking places their origin in tropical Eastern Polynesia, mostly likely from the Southern Cook or Society Islands region, and that they arrived by deliberate voyages in seagoing canoes[5] — possibly double-hulled and probably sail-rigged. These settlers probably arrived by about AD 1280 (see Māori origins). Their language and its dialects developed in isolation until the 19th century.

Since about 1800 the Māori language has had a tumultuous history. It started this period as the predominant language of New Zealand. In the 1860s it became a minority language in the shadow of the English spoken by settlers, missionaries, gold seekers, and traders from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds. In the late 19th century the colonial governments of New Zealand and its provinces introduced an English-style school system for all New Zealanders, and from the 1880s the authorities forbade the use of Māori in schools (possibly at the request of Māori leaders, who appreciated the value to their young people of fluent English[6] — see Native Schools). Increasing numbers of Māori people learned English.

Until World War II (1939-1945) most Māori people spoke Māori as their first language. Worship took place in Māori; it functioned as the language of Māori homes; Māori politicians conducted political meetings in Māori; and some literature and many newspapers appeared in Māori.

As late as the 1930s, some Māori parliamentarians suffered disadvantage because Parliament's proceedings took place in English. From this period the number of speakers of Māori began to decline rapidly. By the 1980s fewer than 20% of Māori spoke the language well enough to be classed as native speakers. Even many of those people no longer spoke Māori in the home. As a result, many Māori children failed to learn their ancestral language, and generations of non-Māori-speaking Māori emerged.

By the 1980s Māori leaders began to recognize the dangers of the loss of their language and initiated Māori-language recovery-programs such as the Kōhanga Reo movement, which from 1982 immersed infants in Māori from infancy to school age. There followed in the later 1980s the founding of the Kura Kaupapa Māori, a primary-school programme in Māori.

Linguistic classification

The major subgroups of East Polynesian

Comparative linguists classify Māori as a Polynesian language; specifically as an Eastern Polynesian language belonging to the Tahitic subgroup, which includes Rarotongan, spoken in the southern Cook Islands, and Tahitian, spoken in Tahiti and the Society Islands. Other major Eastern Polynesian languages include Hawaiian, Marquesan (languages in the Marquesic subgroup), and the Rapa Nui language of Easter Island[7][8][9] While the preceding are all distinct languages, they remain similar enough that Tupaia, a Tahitian travelling with Captain James Cook in 1769-1770, communicated effectively with Māori. Speakers of modern Māori generally report that they find the languages of the Cook Islands, including Rarotongan, the easiest other Polynesian languages to understand and converse in. See also Austronesian languages.

Geographic distribution

Nearly all speakers are ethnic Māori resident in New Zealand. Estimates of the number of speakers vary: the 1996 census reported 160,000, while other estimates have reported as few as 50,000.[10] According to the 2006 census, 131,613 Māori (23.7%) "could [at least] hold a conversation about everyday things in te reo Māori".[10] In the same census, Māori speakers were 4.2% of the New Zealand population.

The level of competence of self-professed Māori speakers varies from minimal to total. Statistics have not been gathered for the prevalence of different levels of competence. Only a minority of self-professed speakers use Māori as their main language in the home. The rest use only a few words or phrases (passive bilingualism).

Māori still is a community language in some predominantly-Māori settlements in the Northland, Urewera and East Cape areas. Kohanga reo Māori-immersion kindergartens throughout New Zealand use Māori exclusively. Increasing numbers of Māori raise their children bilingually

Urbanisation after the Second World War led to widespread language shift from Māori predominance (with Māori the primary language of the rural whānau) to English predominance (English serving as the primary language in the Pākehā cities). Therefore Māori-speakers almost always communicate bilingually, with New Zealand English as either their first or second language.

The percentage prevalence of the Māori language in the Māori diaspora is far lower than in New Zealand. Census data from Australia show it as the home language of 5,504 people in 2001, or 7.5% of the Māori community in Australia. This represents an increase of 32.5% since 1996.[11]

Orthography

The modern Māori alphabet has 20 letters, two of which are digraphs: A Ā E Ē H I Ī K M N O Ō P R T U Ū W NG and WH. [12] Attempts to write Māori words using the Roman alphabet began with Captain James Cook and other early explorers, with varying degrees of success. From 1814, missionaries tried to capture the sounds of the language. William Kendall published a book in 1815 entitled He Korao no New Zealand, which in modern orthography and usage would be He Kōrero nō Aotearoa. Professor Samuel Lee, working with chief Hongi Hika and Hongi's junior relative Waikato at Cambridge University, established a definitive orthography based on Northern usage in 1820. Professor Lee's orthography continues in use, with only two major changes: the addition of wh to distinguish the bilabial voiceless fricative phoneme from the labio-velar phoneme /w/; and the consistent marking of long vowels. The macron has become the generally accepted device for marking long vowels (hāngi), but at times the device of double vowel letters was used (haangi).

The Māori embraced literacy enthusiastically, and missionaries reported in the 1820s that Māori all over the country taught each other to read and write, using sometimes quite innovative materials in the absence of paper, such as leaves and charcoal, carved wood, and hides.

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Resolution of the problem of spelling long vowels

The alphabet devised at Cambridge University was deficient in that it did not mark vowel length. The follow examples show that vowel length is phonemic in Māori:

  • ata 'morning', āta 'carefully'
  • mana 'prestige', māna 'for him/her'
  • manu 'bird', mānu 'float'
  • o 'of', ō 'provisions for a journey'

Māori devised ways to mark vowel-length, sporadically at first. Occasional and inconsistent vowel-length markings occur in 19th-century manuscripts and newspapers written by Māori, including macron-like diacritics and the doubling of letters. Sir Apirana Ngata's Maori Grammar and Conversation (7th printing 1953) uses macrons, but only inconsistently. Once the Māori language started to be taught in universities in the 1960s, vowel-length marking was made systematic. At Auckland University, Professor Bruce Biggs (of Ngāti Maniapoto descent) promoted the use of double vowels (thus Maaori), and this became the standard at Auckland until Biggs died in 2000. But the use of macrons was promoted by other universities and eventually by the Māori Language Commission, established by the Māori Language Act 1987 as the authority for Māori spelling and orthography.

Phonology

Māori has five phonemically distinct vowel articulations and ten consonant phonemes.

Vowels

Although it is commonly claimed that vowel realisations (pronunciations) in Māori show little variation, linguistic research has shown this not to be the case.[13]

Vowel length is phonemic; but four of the five long vowels occur in only a handful of word roots, the exception being /ā/.[14] As noted above, it has recently become standard in Māori spelling to indicate a long vowel by a macron.

As in many other Polynesian languages, there are no diphthongs in Māori (when two vowels are adjacent, each belongs to a different syllable), and all or nearly all sequences of nonidentical vowels are possible. All sequences of nonidentical short vowels occur and are phonemically distinct.[15]

The following table shows the five vowel phonemes and the allophones for some of them according to Bauer 1997. Some of these phonemes occupy large spaces in the anatomical "vowel triangle" (actually a trapezoid) of tongue positions. For example, /u/ is sometimes realised (pronounced) as IPA [ʉ].

Front Central Back
Close i u [ʉ]
Open-Mid e [ɛ] o [ɔ]
Open a

Consonants

The consonant phonemes of Māori are listed in the following table. Seven of the ten Māori consonant letters have the same pronunciation as they do in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For those that do not, the IPA phonetic transcription is included, enclosed in square brackets per IPA convention. Māori stops /p, t, k/ are nonaspirated, unlike in English. Māori /r/ is a tap, identical or very similar to the /r/ in Spanish and to the r in "very" in many dialects of England (and slightly less similar to the t in the American English pronunciation of "city" or "letter").

Bilabial Alveolar Velar Glottal
Nonaspirated Plosive p t k
Voiceless Fricative wh
[f, ɸ]
h
Nasal m n ng
[ŋ]
Tap r
[ɾ]
Semivowel w

The pronunciation of /wh/ is extremely variable,[16] but its most common pronunciation (its canonical allophone) is the labiodental fricative, IPA [f] found in English. Another allophone is the bilabial fricative, IPA [ɸ], which is usually supposed to be the sole pre-European pronunciation, although in fact linguists are not sure of the truth of this supposition.

Because English stops /p, t, k/ primarily have aspiration, speakers of English often hear the Māori nonaspirated stops as English /b, d, g/. English speakers also tend to hear Māori /r/ as English /l/. These ways of hearing have given rise to place-name spellings which are incorrect in Maori, like Tolaga Bay in the North Island and Otago and Waihola in the South Island.

Syllables

Syllables in Māori have one of the following forms: V, VV, CV, CVV. This set of four can be summarized by the notation, (C)V(V), in which the segments in parentheses may or may not be present. A syllable cannot begin with two consonant sounds (the digraphs ng and wh represent single consonant sounds), and cannot end in a consonant, although some speakers may occasionally devoice a final vowel. All possible CV combinations are grammatical, though wo, who, wu, and whu occur only in a few loanwords from English such as wuru, "wool" and whutuporo, "football".[17]

As in many other Polynesian languages, e.g., Hawaiian, the rendering of loanwords from English includes representing every English consonant of the loanword (using the scanty native consonant inventory; English has 24 consonants to 10 for Māori) and breaking up consonant clusters. For example, "Presbyterian" has been borrowed as Perehipeteriana; no consonant position in the loanword has been deleted, but /s/ and /b/ have been replaced with /h/ and /p/, respectively.)

Dialects

Biggs proposed that historically there were two major dialect groups, North Island and South Island. South Island Māori is extinct[18] Biggs has analysed North Island Māori as comprising a western group and an eastern group with the boundary between them running pretty much along the island's north-south axis.[19]

Within these broad divisions regional variations occur, and individual regions show tribal variations. The major differences occur in the pronunciation of words, variation of vocabulary, and idiom. A fluent speaker of Māori has no problem understanding dialects other than their own.

There is no significant variation in grammar between dialects.[20] Vocabulary and pronunciation vary to a greater extent, but this does not pose barriers to communication.

North Island dialects

In the southwest of the island, in the Wanganui (native spelling Whanganui) and Taranaki regions, the phoneme /h/ is a glottal stop and the phoneme /wh/ is [ʔw]. In Tūhoe and the Eastern Bay of Plenty (northwestern North Island) ng has merged with n. In parts of the Far North, wh has merged with w.

South Island dialects

In the extinct South Island dialects, ng merged with k. Thus Kāi Tahu and Ngāi Tahu are variations in the name of the same tribe (the latter form is the one used in acts of Parliament). Since 2000, the government has altered the official names of several southern place names to the southern dialect forms by replacing ng with k. New Zealand's highest mountain, known for centuries as Aoraki in southern Māori dialects that merge ng with k, and as Aorangi by other Māori, was later named "Mount Cook", in honor of Captain Cook. Now its sole official name is Aoraki/Mount Cook, which favors the local dialect form. Likewise, Dunedin's main research library, the Hocken Library, has the name Te Uare Taoka o Hākena rather than northern Te Whare Taonga o Hākena.

Grammar

Bases

Biggs (Biggs 1998) developed an analysis that the basic unit of Māori speech is the phrase, rather than the word. The lexical word forms the "base" of the phrase. "Nouns" include those bases that can take a definite article, but cannot occur as the nucleus of a verbal phrase; for example:ika (fish) or rākau (tree). Plurality is usually marked only by the definite article (singular te, plural ngā). Some nouns lengthen a vowel in the plural, such as wahine (woman); wāhine (women).

Statives serve as bases usable as verbs but not available for passive use, such as ora, alive, tika, correct. Grammars generally refer to them as "stative verbs". When used in sentences, statives require different syntax than other verb-like bases.

Locative bases can follow the locative particle ki (to, towards) directly, such as runga, above, waho, outside, and placenames (ki Tamaki, to Auckland).

Personal bases take the personal article a after ki, such as names of people (ki a Hohepa, to Joseph), personified houses, personal pronouns, wai? who? and Mea, so-and-so.

Particles

Like all Polynesian languages, Māori has a rich array of particles. These include verbal particles, pronouns, locative particles, definitives and possessives.

Verbal particles indicate aspectual properties of the verb they relate to. They include ka (inceptive), i (past), kua(perfect), kia (desiderative), me (prescriptive), e (non-past), kei (warning, “lest”), ina or ana (punctative-conditional, "if and when"), and e … ana (imperfect).

Pronouns have singular, dual and plural number. Different first-person forms in the dual and in the plural express groups either inclusive or exclusive of the listener.

Locative particles refer to position in time and/or space, and include ki (towards), kei (at), i (past position), and hei (future position).

Possessives fall into one of two classes marked by a and o, depending on the dominant versus subordinate relationship between possessor and possessed, so ngā tamariki a te matua, the children of the parent, but te matua o ngā tamariki, the parent of the children.

Definitives include the articles te (singular) and ngā (plural) and the possessives and . These also combine with the pronouns. Demonstratives have a deictic function, and include tēnei, this (near me), tēnā, that (near you), tērā, that (far from us both), and taua, the aforementioned. Other definitives include tēhea? (which?), and tētahi, (a certain).Definitives that begin with t form the plural by dropping the t: tēnei (this), ēnei (these).

Personal pronouns

Like other Polynesian languages, Māori has three numbers for pronouns and possessives: singular, dual and plural. For example: ia (he/she), rāua (they two), rātou (they, three or more). The dual and plural suffixes are modern reflexes of historical words rua and toru. Māori pronouns and possessives further distinguish exclusive "we" from inclusive "we", second and third. It has the plural pronouns: mātou (we, exc), tātou (we, inc), koutou (you), rātou (they). The language features the dual pronouns: māua (we two, exc), tāua (we two, inc), kōrua (you two), rāua (they two). The difference between exclusive and inclusive lies the treatment of the person addressed. Mātou refers to the speaker and others but not the person or persons spoken to (i.e., "I and some others, but not you"), while tātou refers to the speaker, the person or persons spoken to, and everyone else (i.e., "you and I and others"). Examples:

  • Tēnā koe: hello (to one person)
  • Tēnā kōrua: hello (to two people)
  • Tēnā koutou: hello (to more than two people)

Syntax

Qualifiers generally follow nouns.

Calendar

From missionary times, Māori used transliterations of English names for days of the week and for months of the year. Since about 1990 the Māori Language Commission / Te Taura Whiri o te Reo Māori has promoted new ("traditional") sets. Its days of the week have no pre-European equivalent but reflect the pagan origins of the English names (for example, Hina = moon), the months of the year on one regional traditional calendar which, being lunar, does not quite match the Julian/Gregorian months.

Day Transliteration Official
Monday Mane Rāhina
Tuesday Tūrei Rātū
Wednesday Wenerei Rāapa
Thursday Tāite Rāpare
Friday Paraire Rāmere
Saturday Rāhoroi/Hāterei Rāhoroi
Sunday Rātapu/Wiki Rātapu
Month Transliteration Official
January Hānuere Kohi-tātea
February Pēpuere Hui-tanguru
March Māehe Poutū-te-rangi
April Āperira Paenga-whāwhā
May Mei Haratua
June Hune Pipiri
July Hūrae Hōngongoi
August Ākuhata Here-turi-kōkā
September Hepetema Mahuru
October Oketopa Whiringa-ā-nuku
November Noema Whiringa-ā-rangi
December Tīhema Hakihea

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ Statistics New Zealand:Language spoken (total responses) for the 1996-2006 censuses (Table 16).
  2. ^ "NZ Sign Language to be third official language". New Zealand Government. http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/nz+sign+language+be+third+official+language. Retrieved 2009-12-04.  
  3. ^ New Zealand Maori Council v Attorney-General [1994] 1 NZLR 513
  4. ^ "New Zealand Gazetteer of Official Geographic Names". Land Information New Zealand. http://www.linz.govt.nz/placenames/find-names/nz-gazetteer-official-names/index.aspx.  
  5. ^ K. R. Howe. 'Ideas of Māori origins - 1920s–2000: new understanding', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 4-Mar-09. URL: http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/ideas-of-maori-origins/5
  6. ^ "Toi te kupu, Toi te whenua, Toi te mana 1840 - 1900". Archives New Zealand. http://www.archives.govt.nz/exhibitions/pastexhibitions/tereo/1840_eng.php. Retrieved 2009-01-29.  
  7. ^ Biggs, Bruce (1994). "Does Māori have a closest relative?" In Sutton (Ed.)(1994), pp. 96-105
  8. ^ Clark, Ross (1994). "Moriori and Māori: The Linguistic Evidence". In Sutton (Ed.)(1994), pp. 123-135.
  9. ^ Harlow, Ray (1994). "Māori Dialectology and the Settlement of New Zealand". In Sutton (Ed.)(1994), pp. 106-122.
  10. ^ a b QuickStats About Māori, Statistics New Zealand, 2006, http://www.stats.govt.nz/Census/2006CensusHomePage/QuickStats/quickstats-about-a-subject/maori.aspx, retrieved 2007-11-14   (revised 2007)
  11. ^ "Languages Spoken at Home" (PDF), Australia: 2001 and 1996 Census, http://www.omi.wa.gov.au/WAPeople%5CSect1%5CTable%201p04%20Aust.pdf, retrieved 2007-11-14  
  12. ^ An underlined k sometimes appears when writing the Southern dialect, to indicate that the /k/ in question corresponds to the ng of the standard language. Various methods are used to indicate glottal stops when writing the Wanganui dialect.
  13. ^ Bauer 1993: 537. Bauer mentions that Biggs 1961 announced a similar finding.
  14. ^ Bauer 1997: 536. Bauer even raised the possibility of analysing Māori as really having six vowel phonemes, /a, ā, e, i, o, u/.
  15. ^ Harlow 1996: 1; Bauer 1997: 534
  16. ^ Bauer 1997: 532 lists seven allophones (variant pronunciations).
  17. ^ A. H. McLintock (editor) (1966). "'MAORI LANGUAGE - Pronunciation'". Encyclopedia of New Zealand (1966). http://www.teara.govt.nz/1966/M/MaoriLanguage/Pronunciation/en.  
  18. ^ Biggs 1988: 65
  19. ^ Bauer 1997: xxvi
  20. ^ "Most of the tribal variation in grammar is a matter of preferences: speakers of one area might prefer one grammatical form to another, but are likely on occasion to use the non-preferred form, and at least to recognise and understand it." Bauer 1993: xxi-xxii

References

  • Biggs, Bruce (1994). Does Māori have a closest relative? In Sutton (ed.)(1994), pp. 96–105.
  • Biggs, Bruce (1998). Let's Learn Māori. Auckland: Auckland University Press.
  • Biggs, Bruce. 1988. Towards the study of Maori dialects. In Ray Harlow and Robin Hooper, eds. VICAL 1: Oceanic languages. Papers from the Fifth International Conference on Austronesian linguistics. Auckland, New Zealand. January 1988, Part I. Auckland: Linguistic Society of New Zealand.
  • Bauer, Winifred (1997). Reference Grammar of Māori. Auckland: Reed.
  • Bauer, Winifred. 1993. Maori. Routledge. Series: Routledge descriptive grammars.
  • Clark, Ross (1994). Moriori and Māori: The Linguistic Evidence. In Sutton (ed.)(1994), pp. 123–135.
  • Harlow, Ray. 1996. Maori. LINCOM Europa.
  • Harlow, Ray (1994). Māori Dialectology and the Settlement of New Zealand. In Sutton (ed.)(1994), pp. 106–122.
  • Sutton, Douglas G. (ed.) (1994). The Origins of the First New Zealanders. Auckland: Auckland University Press.

External links

Māori language edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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