Learning Maori

Old Aug 3rd 2010, 10:15 am
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Default Learning Maori

Our team at work has started receiving training in speaking te reo Maori and Maori protocols.

I speak a few languages ........sorry, not showing off, it's a relevant point.... and I am particular interested in sounds and pronunciation.

I listened very carefully to our trainer who was explaining simple vowel sounds, how to say short vowels, long vowels, consonants, and I was starting to feel that I was getting it (the consonants are pretty much the same as Italian) but when he actually spoke, he didn't obey the rules he had told us!! When I questioned it he didn't really have an explanation and it got me thinking. Perhaps Maori was a spoken language before anyone tried to write it down and the rules don't really fit the sounds?

Anyone here tried to learn? I have to give speeches here and sometimes I should really start them off with Maori greetings but so far my confidence has deserted me

Jan
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Old Aug 3rd 2010, 10:47 am
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Default Re: Learning Maori

I'm no expert, but also asked for help - I think the key is not using English syllables but ending "syllables" on a vowel
eg Omapere - I used to pronounce it omap- erry but think it should be oh - ma- pe- re with the e pronounced as in egg
There is an online course where you can talk to the programme and it critiques your pronunciation - can't remember the name but will get back to you if Ifind it
Hope this is of some help
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Old Aug 3rd 2010, 11:46 am
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Default Re: Learning Maori

It also helps if you pronounce every syllable.

For example "Whakatane" which also presents the "Wh" pronounced as "F'.

Most of us may pronounce it "Wack-a-tane"

Whereas it is "***-a-taan-ee"

Excellent!
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Old Aug 3rd 2010, 11:50 am
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Default Re: Learning Maori

Well Whuck me you learn something new every Day
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Old Aug 3rd 2010, 11:55 pm
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Default Re: Learning Maori

Well it has onlly been written for the last 2-3 centuries so that makes sense.
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Old Aug 4th 2010, 5:22 am
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Default Re: Learning Maori

I have attempted to learn some basic maori as part of my job but find it frustrating as you say for the rules and pronounciations.

I have had the same discussion with several older maori people one of whome taught the language regarding the way things are pronounced.

I have come to the same conclusion that the language was verbalised for many many years and it was only when the English move here and wrote things down as they are now that the issues have arisen.

My argument has always been that the english would write things how it was sounding, for example; what, where when.
The maori insit that Whakatane is pronounced Fakatane which dooesnt comply with the English language rules.

The same goes for many other differences in the pronunciation of maori. Not one of the elders that I had the discussion with could argue, disprove or she some light onto the pronunciation in maori.

Therfore I pronounce Fakatane as a Whakatane, Te Kaufata as Te Kauwhata etc etc and have the discussion again!
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Old Aug 4th 2010, 6:03 am
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Default Re: Learning Maori

Originally Posted by Newfies View Post
I have attempted to learn some basic maori as part of my job but find it frustrating as you say for the rules and pronounciations.

I have had the same discussion with several older maori people one of whome taught the language regarding the way things are pronounced.

I have come to the same conclusion that the language was verbalised for many many years and it was only when the English move here and wrote things down as they are now that the issues have arisen.

My argument has always been that the english would write things how it was sounding, for example; what, where when.
The maori insit that Whakatane is pronounced Fakatane which dooesnt comply with the English language rules.

The same goes for many other differences in the pronunciation of maori. Not one of the elders that I had the discussion with could argue, disprove or she some light onto the pronunciation in maori.

Therfore I pronounce Fakatane as a Whakatane, Te Kaufata as Te Kauwhata etc etc and have the discussion again!
It was worse than that: our trainer went through short and long vowels, so short vowel "a" is as in "around" and long "a" is as in "car". The difference is symbolised by a macron above the letter (-) for the long vowel. Short "e" should be e as in "bed", not as in "hear"

So Whakatane should be all the same sounds for the letter a as there is no macron above the last one, but everyone says Fakataaaarney.

Confused? you will be
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Old Aug 4th 2010, 6:10 am
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Default Re: Learning Maori

Originally Posted by pricklykina View Post
Well it has onlly been written for the last 2-3 centuries so that makes sense.
Not even that - the missionaries invented the written version of Maori. It has always been traditionally a spoken language. They pretty much invented it so they could write the treaty of Waitangi.
Maori were able to recite their whakapapa going back tens of generations.
Learning your whakapapa was part of being allowed into the whare wananga (learning house) to be taught.
They had carved whakapapa sticks as a reminder to the oral recitation.
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Old Aug 4th 2010, 6:12 am
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Default Re: Learning Maori

I say go with the locals
For instance in Germany I say Koln not cologne
France i'd say Paree not PariS
Newcastle not new caaaaarstle

There are regional dialects here same as anywhere.
For instance Raki instead of Rangi down south where Kai Tahu pronounce there NGs as Ks and then the wh/f debate in Wanga vegas.

Don't get stressed about the rules Jan. It is an oral language so go with what you hear. I go with what's around me...some times I say pohiri some days powhiri. Some days towpo some days toepaw .
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Old Aug 4th 2010, 9:50 am
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Default Re: Learning Maori

I don't know so much, you do have to be very careful. It is very much a spoken language and seemingly very minor and subtle changes in the sounds and length of vowels can make one heck of a lot of difference in meaning;

One example:

Poaka = pig or pork
Pouaka = box
Pouako = teacher

It's not a good idea to call your teacher a pig or a box and similarly you wouldn't want to be offering barbecued box for dinner.
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Old Aug 4th 2010, 12:13 pm
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Default Re: Learning Maori

New Zealand History On Line

No help with pronunciation at all Jan. To be fair, it does seem to change from day to day. Year to year. I suppose that is what comes from translating an oral language to something written. Maybe no-one is really sure.
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