NOTICE: Citizendium is still being set up on its newer server, treat as a beta for now; please see here for more.
Citizendium - a community developing a quality comprehensive compendium of knowledge, online and free. Click here to join and contribute—free
CZ thanks our previous donors. Donate here. Treasurer's Financial Report -- Thanks to our content contributors. --

Māori language

From Citizendium, the Citizens' Compendium
(Redirected from Maori language)
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is a stub and thus not approved.
Main Article
Talk
Related Articles  [?]
Bibliography  [?]
External Links  [?]
Citable Version  [?]
 
This editable Main Article is under development and not meant to be cited; by editing it you can help to improve it towards a future approved, citable version. These unapproved articles are subject to a disclaimer.
Māori
Te Reo Māori
Language family Austronesian
 Malayo-Polynesian
  Oceanic
   Polynesian
    Nuclear Polynesian
     Eastern Polynesian
      Tahitic
Note: This page may contain IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. See IPA chart for English for an English-based pronunciation key.

An Eastern Polynesian language of the indigenous Māori people of New Zealand (Aotearoa). Its closest relative is Cook Island Māori, which has particular affinities to the New Zealand Māori dialects of Northland and Taranaki, and the k-dialect of much of the South Island. It is part of the Tahitic subgroup of Eastern Polynesian. The extinct Moriori language of the Chatham Islands, east of mainland New Zealand, is a widely divergent dialect of Māori.

Phonology and alphabet

The letters of the Māori alphabet are, in order:

a, e, h, i, k, m, n, ng, o, p, r, t, u, w, wh.

The digraphs ng and wh each represent single sounds, and are treated as distinct letters, so that ngaru is after noho, and whare after wiri alphabetically.

The vowels a, e, i, o and u have phonemic length. In older written and printed Māori, vowel length is not normally indicated. Nowadays, length is most commonly indicated by the macron: ā, ē, ī, ō, ū. In some publications, especially those by people associated with Auckland University, length is indicated by doubling: aa, ee, ii, oo, uu.

Pronunciation

Vowels

Many grammars state that Māori long vowels have the same quality as the corresponding short ones. This is true of e and o, but many, probably most, Māori speakers differentiate the other vowels.

Vowel Short Long
a
like u in NZE but. A low central vowel, a little higher than the long sound, though the difference is slight as in NZE pass. A low central vowel, between the British Received and Standard American pronunciation of the a in pass
e
as in NZE bed. Higher than the corresponding British vowel, but lower than the i in bid like the short vowel, lengthened. NZ/British air is similar, but the Māori vowel does not slide off into schwa.
i
non-word-final as in NZE bid. Similar to i in German wissen. Word final as ee in feet. as in machine
o
like au in NZ/British taut, but shorter. Higher than the corresponding American vowel. like the short vowel, lengthened. Like au in NZ/British taut. Higher than the corresponding American vowel.
u
non-word-final as in put. Word-final as o in NZE hairdo—a high central vowel with lip-rounding. like oo in NZE zoo—a high central vowel with lip-rounding

Consonants

Consonant Pronunciation
h
as in hard
k
similar to k in NZE kettle, but unaspirated, and further back in the mouth. In the syllables ka, ke and ki, it is in a similar position to the c in NZE cool. In ka, it is further back, and often released with a rasping sound. In ko, it is further back still, but there is no rasp.
m
as in man
n
as in now, but with the tongue touching the back of the teeth.
ng
as in sing. Speakers of other languages often have difficulty pronouncing this sound at the beginning of a word.
p
as in pen, but without aspiration
r
as in some Scots' pronunciation of arrow. Not a trill, but a single tap. Similar to a very lightly and rapidly spoken d.
t
Similar to t in top, but with the tongue touching the back of the teeth. In the syllables ta, te and to, it is unaspirated. In the syllables ti and tu, it is affricated, with a slight s sound on release: [tsi], [tsu]
w
as in will
wh
row 2, cell 2

The syllable

The syllabic pattern of Māori is (C)V(V)—a consonant followed by a pure vowel or a diphthong, or a pure vowel or diphthong without a preceding consonant.

References

Ray Harlow: A Māori Reference Grammar, Longman, Auckland, 2001