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Saturday, August 27, 2005

Tay Rayo in Moree

I burst out laughing when I saw this headline. Of all people to be talking about correct pronunciation of te reo Maori, Helen Clark is the last person of whom anyone would take notice. I have blogged before on her God awful pseudo maori pronunciation. Still, she will sit well alongside Cullen and Maharey who can't pronounce English correctly either.

Tariana and Pita should be able to rip her arms off on this one. Surely we are not going to have our kids taught pidgin maori ala Clark?

Brash and English should have a bit of sport as well. What about making sure our teachers can read, write, count and actually teach before we start forcing them to pronounce Maori? What about applying the same criteria to Radio Left wing newsreaders and reporters.

Pathetically hilarious. Just a little forestaste of what we will get from three more years of serfitude.
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Posted by Adolf Fiinkensein | 8/27/2005 08:19:00 am

7 Comments:

Blogger colinm said...

I took Maori in school (I hated french even way back then), can't remember most of what I learned. I still practice my pronounciation of lacol place names, but usually fall back to the maoringlish ( a new word lol) pronounciation as I still feel a little shy about getting it wrong. A friend of mine is always smiles when I greet him with my very few accurately pronounced words, tena koe ehoa!.
I guess I'm an example of the average kiwi male in their forties who has a smattering of knowledge about correct pronounciation of Maori but can't be bothered getting it right often enough to stop using the maoringlish version. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I feel it's important that what you are trying to say is understood, if it is the job is mostly done even if your pronounciation is off.

8/27/2005 08:45:00 am  
Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

colinm. Interesting comment. I never learnt fluent Maori but of course due to my upbringing my accent is excellent. I enjoy languages and did well at sixth form French but discarded the language after it had got me my UE. Maori, like Spanish, is wonderfully melodic when correctly pronounced and plain bloody awful when botched. The PM's pronunciation is appalling and just plain lazy. That's what makes this latest nonsense so hypocritical. You must learn to correctly pronounce the name of your local Iwi. The sound is marvellous. Ngati Tuwharetoa. It's not hard. Just start very slowly and measure each sound, then run them together. nnngg-aaah-tee-too-far-rreh-toor-aah.

Incidentally some of the most beautifully spoken English may be heard coming from older well educated Maori people and, don't laugh, well educated Australians.

8/27/2005 09:39:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who's version of Maori is the right one? As far as I am concerned it's not the one that is currently in vogue. I base my argument on the factthat first people to write anything in Maori were missionaries whose native tongue was English. English has an F sound alrady, and so why would they use a wh sound if they wanted to write an f sound, ie fanau, which is really whanau (wh as in whale or whisper etc).
But then again it can be argued that Maori is a living language, and therefore has developed the F type sound. If this is the case, then what makes the PC version the right one. Do we still speak the same english that Chaucer spoke? English is surely a living language and has developed into what we speak today (some derivations like Maherey-esque are undoubtably abominations and natural selection will hopefully kill this version off)

8/27/2005 10:32:00 am  
Blogger colinm said...

Agree with your comment about well spoken english, those people have been taught grammar no doubt.
I have been perhaps a little disingenuous, I'm not as bad as I seem to have portrayed. Let me give you an example. One of our local lakes is Otamangakau. I know it's pronounced or-ta-ma-nah-co, but sounds kinda phony when I say it (maybe only to me?) like that, I usually use the maoringlish version oh-ta-man-a-cow. See what I mean?

8/27/2005 10:39:00 am  
Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

colinm, yes I do see and sometimes in Pakeha company I too revert although of late, not so often.

anonymous. Yes the Maori language evolves and I am no expert on it. However, I think you will find that when the Pommy missionaries arrived they found a variety of dialects throughout the land (just as there were in Pommyland. My understanding is that some tribes pronounced wh as a 'w' with a kinda pushed 'h' in front eg wh as in 'when' while others, Ngapuhi (I think) pronounced it with an 'f' sound.

What I object to is the gross and lazy mangling of even the most basic principles of pronunciation by politicians and media people, all of whom should and do know better but are just too damned lazy to try. Why, at one stage there, it almost seemed as though a speech impediment of some sort was a prerequisie for selection by Radio NZ, Television NZ and TV3.

8/27/2005 10:50:00 am  
Blogger colinm said...

I guess it's because we're not given enough information about the grammar, how the vowels and syllables are mixed or split etc (Take Kourarau for example, it took me ages to get my mouth around that. koo-ra-row (row as in boat) rather than koorow (row as argue)). To be good at it needs more study and practice to get right, and that's where the laziness comes in.

8/27/2005 11:04:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the dilect that my ancestors spoke never had an F in it, so to have it foistered upon me I find colonialistic. Especially given that the only tribe to ever subdue my ancestors was the great white one, with their new fangled muskets and bombs. No wonder the ancestors settled quickly and then started helping the new comers.

8/28/2005 10:07:00 am  

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