Some words in te reo

have no parellels in English

COLUMN: A recent enquiry into the meaning of the Māori word “ko” – particularly when the enquirer advised that he had been told that “ko” means “is” – has prompted reflections on an issue which has been addressed several times in this column but in relation to which some additional clarification, it’s hoped, may not go amiss.

In viewing another language from the perspective of one’s own first language it may well seem quite logical to assume that a word in the other language must be translatable, even if only approximately, by a word in one’s own.

With closely related languages, as are English, French and German, such expectations can usually be realised. But te reo Māori is so different from English that in some types of constructions there are words used for which there are no parallels in English.

Base words – nouns and verbs – do have translatable meaning.

Link to video and article: Some words in te reo have no parellels in English | Stuff.co.nz


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