Iden­ti­fy­ing te reo M¯aori di­alects

North Taranaki Midweek - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - TARA SHASKEY

Across Aotearoa one te reo Ma¯ ori word can be pro­nounced a mul­ti­tude of ways.

‘‘You can tell where some­body’s from straight away, in­stantly, by the words they use and by their ac­cent,’’ Taranaki woman Tamzyn Pue ex­plains. ‘‘It’s your iden­tity.’’

Whether it’s the drop of a con­so­nant, a glot­tal stop or re­plac­ing a let­ter with an­other, vari­a­tions of the lan­guage are unique in­di­ca­tors of the coun­try’s dif­fer­ent iwi.

In Taranaki and Whanganui the sound ‘‘wh’’ be­comes a glot­tal stop with the ‘‘h’’ be­ing dropped and the word whakarongo (lis­ten), for ex­am­ple, be­ing pro­nounced ‘‘w’akarongo.’’

The peo­ple of Tuhoe in the Bay of Plenty change the ‘‘ng’’ sound into an ‘‘n’’ and so would say ‘‘whakarono’’, while in the South Is­land speak­ers from iwi Nga¯i Tahu swap the ‘‘ng’’ sound for a ‘‘k’’ and would in­stead say ‘‘whakaroko,’’ and so re­fer to their tribe as Ka¯ i Tahu.

Fur­ther­more, Pue, who is of Te A¯ tiawa, Nga¯ ti Maru and Nga¯ ti Ruanui de­scent, said within the dif­fer­ent re­gions there were vari­a­tions of the lan­guage again.

The Te Kori­mako o Taranaki ra­dio sta­tion host, whose first lan­guage is te reo Ma¯ ori, said, for ex­am­ple, it wasn’t quite as sim­ple

‘‘Why be main­stream when you can be unique?’’

Tamzyn Pue

as just ‘‘drop­ping the H’’ in Taranaki. ‘‘The reo can be bro­ken down into three waka; Toko­maru, Aotea and Ku­ra­haupo¯ .’’

Aotea, which in­cludes Whanganui and South Taranaki, quite ob­vi­ously drop the H, while peo­ple of Toko­maru in North Taranaki would soften it, she said.

The peo­ple of Ku­ra­haupo¯ were quite dif­fer­ent again and would in­stead speak with an H sound in front of words that be­gin with a vowel ‘‘even if it didn’t ex­ist in the writ­ten text.’’

‘‘Each tribe and each hapu and each marae through­out the coun­try has its own ac­cent, their own di­alect, their own dic­tion and rhythm.’’

She said each unique ver­sion was a re­flec­tion of the land­scape, en­vi­ron­ment and tongue of tribal group­ings.

Some­body want­ing to learn the reo who per­haps had links to many iwi, or was non-Ma¯ ori, had a plethora of di­alects to choose from, Pue said.

‘‘It’s a blank can­vas.

‘‘Why be main­stream when you can be unique?’’

Tamzyn Pue said the vary­ing di­alects of te reo Ma¯ori iden­ti­fied which iwi peo­ple were from.

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