July 29, 2007

Māori Language Week

Last week was Māori Language Week here in New Zealand. Māori Language Week has been marked since 1975 as a time for New Zealanders to celebrate te reo Māori and use Māori phrases in everyday life. What makes 2007 special is it also marks 20 years since Māori became an official language of New Zealand.

Since I'm a little slow on the uptake, I'm going to post Māori phrases every day this week, from a handy-dandy mini book I bought called "Instant! Māori".

Today I'll start with some pronunciation:

A macron placed over a vowel extends that vowel length by half. A double vowel doubles the vowel length. An example which features both a macron and a double vowel is ātaahua.

Hyphenated words like "ko-toe" are one word (koutou) and are separated into their individual phonetics. You run hyphenated words together.

Roll all Māori "r's" slightly.

Pronouncing the "E" vowel

E - as in the word "beg"
Te - as in Ted (without the 'd')
Re - as in Red
Me - as in Med
He - as in Hep
Pe - as in Pep
Ne - as in Ned

"Te" is never pronounced "Tee" or "Tay".

Vowel sounds

a = across (short), car (long)
e = centre (short), beg (long)
i = key (short), sheep (long)
o = or (short), awe (long)
u = foot (short), toot (long)

Ok, today's phrase then:

I only speak a little Māori.
He iti noa iho taku reo Māori.
He eatee gnaw ee-haw tuck-oo re-oh Ma-ree.

No comments: