Column: How to use your te reo Māori words

in a sentence

David Karena-Holmes is a Nelson-based writer and tutor of grammar in te reo Māori.

Column: It’s one thing to learn the English meaning of a Māori word – that the word whare, for instance, means “house” or “building”, or that the word waiata means “song” or “to sing” – but it’s quite another thing to learn how such words are used in sentences in te reo.

The sentence-patterns of another language may be picked up in childhood simply by imitation of someone’s speech – and this is the principle adopted in Kōhanga Reo (Māori “language nests” or “kindergartens”) and in the Ataarangi or “direct method” courses offered at various institutions.

Adult speakers with patterns of English firmly embedded in their consciousness, however, may encounter difficulties in following the sentence-patterns of a language so different as te reo Māori, and explanations of these differences between English and te reo are the main focus of this column. The intention is that the explanations should be kept as simple as possible – using only a minimum of grammar terms such as “sentence”, “phrase”, “noun”, “verb” and a few others – and that description of the main principles should be regularly revisited, from various perspectives, for added clarification.

Link to article: Column: How to use your te reo Māori words in a sentence | Stuff.co.nz


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