Learning te reo

from traditional sayings

COLUMN: A good understanding of how nouns, verbs and particles are used to form phrases and sentences in te reo Māori doesn’t detract in any way from the importance of the principle, described in Bruce Biggs’ Let’s Learn Maori, that “The phrase, not the word, is the unit of Maori speech which should be emphasised in learning”.

Indeed, focussing on phrases that for one reason or another seem particularly memorable is almost certainly a very good way of increasing one’s vocabulary and fluency.

Māori culture with its long oral tradition dependent upon remarkable feats of memorising – is particularly rich in proverbial sayings.

Whether one encounters anonymous whakatauki (or – with the penultimate vowel lengthened – whakatauāki from an historically known originator), tribally-connected pēpeha or kupu whakarite (“metaphors”) if the message strikes one as memorable there is added incentive to understand the Māori words fully.

Link to article: Learning te reo from traditional sayings | Stuff.co.nz


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