Mobile phone add-on opens door to te reo for everyone

By Yvonne Tahana

The new app will enable users to learn Maori by translating words and constructing sentences. Photo / Thinkstock
The new app will enable users to learn Maori by translating words and constructing sentences. Photo / Thinkstock

Technology is making it easier for all New Zealanders to feel they have a stake in te reo Maori, a leading language advocate believes.

This week, Vodafone and Auckland University senior lecturer Sophie Tauwehe Tamati released the Hika Lite smartphone application, which can translate 600 words and thousands of phrases.

Maori Language Commission chief executive Glenis Philip-Barbara said she had tried the app and loved how non-Maori speakers were using it. "I heard a few radio guys while I was driving the other night who were having a tutu [play around] making up their own sentences.

"The biggest enemy of language revitalisation is whakama [shame, shyness], a terrible sense of 'I'm not doing this right, I'm too nervous to say anything in front of anyone'," Ms Philip-Barbara said.

"The thing with these applications is they give people a bit of a hand.

"That's the really cool thing. When people believe it's our language - the collective 'our' rather than the exclusive 'our' - [anyone, not just] those with tuturu whakapapa ki tena iwi ki tena iwi [Maori], can use this language. For those of us who call Aotearoa home, this is our language."

Ms Philip-Barbara also praised the production of the app, which runs sentences together that are "pleasing to the ear" from a rhythmic Maori point of view.

The Hika Lite app contains English words that have been translated into Maori and saved as coloured tiles.

The user enters the English phrase to be translated, and the app links the tiles together to create sentences and paragraphs.

The translation can be read or listened to - in a male or female voice.

Te reo speakers have had a bit of fun with it this week, discovering it can be made to say things such as, "He tino reka ... te ngeru - hmmmm, the cat is tasty."

Learn some te reo

New Zealanders wanting to buff up their te reo vocab should check out nzhistory.net.nz. The website has a Maori word for every day of the year and a 100 must know te reo terms. Here's a pick of both lists.

Holidays and anniversaries
1. Tau-hou - New Year
2. Parairei Pai - Good Friday (also, Paraire)
3. Aranga - Easter Sunday
4. Ra Maumahara ki nga hoia o Aotearoa me Ahitereiria - Anzac Day
5. Ra whanau o te Kuini o Ingarangi - Queen's Birthday
6. Matariki - beginning of Maori New Year, Pleiades
7. Kirihimete - Christmas
8. A-tau - annual
9. Hararei - holiday
10. Whakata - rest
11. Whakanui - celebrate
12. Koha - present
13. Hana koko - Father Christmas
14. Hakari - feast

Days, months and seasons
15. Rahina; Mane - Monday
16. Ratu; Turei - Tuesday
17. Raapa; Wenerei - Wednesday
18. Rapare; Taite - Thursday
19. Ramere; Paraire - Friday
20. Rahoroi - Saturday
21. Ratapu - Sunday
22. Kohitatea - January
23. Hui-tanguru - February; also Pepuere
24. Poutu-te-rangi - March
25. Paenga-Whawha - April
26. Haratua - May
27. Pipiri - June
28. Hongongoi - July
29. Hereturi-koka - August
30. Mahuru - September
31. Whiringa-a-nuku - October
32. Whiringa-a-rangi - November
33. Hakihea - December
34. Ngahuru - autumn
35. Raumati - summer
36. Takurua - winter
37. Koanga - spring

Greetings
38. Nau mai - welcome
39. E noho ra - farewell (from a person leaving)
40. Haere mai - Welcome! Enter!
41. Haere ra - farewell, goodbye (from someone staying)
42. Hei kona ra - farewell, goodbye (less formal)
43. Ka kite - see you again, see you soon (informal)
44. Kia ora - can mean hello, hi, greetings, or to acknowledge or thank someone
45. Tena koe - formal greeting to one person
46. Tena korua - formal greeting to two people
47. Tena koutou - formal greeting to more than two people
48. Morena - good morning; also atamarie
49. Pomarie - goodnight or good evening
50. Tena tatou katoa - formal inclusive greeting, including oneself

Families and people
51. Whanau - family
52. Matamua - first-born
53. Potiki - youngest
54. Papa - father
55. Whaea - mother
56. Tamaiti - child
57. Tamahine - daughter
58. Tipuna or tupuna - ancestor
59. Wahine - woman, wife
60. Tamaiti whangai - adopted child
61. Tuakana - older brother of a male
Tuakana - older sister of a female
62. Teina - younger brother of a male
Teina - younger sister of a female
63. Tungane - brother of a female
64. Tuahine - sister of a male
65. Kuia - old lady
66. Koroua, koro - old man
67. Kaumatua - elder of group
68. Tane - man, husband
69. Tamariki - children
70. Tama - son, young man, youth Places
71. Taone-nui - city
72. Huarahi - roadway, highway
73. Rohe - boundary, a territory (either geographical or spiritual) of an iwi or hapu
74. Turangawaewae - a place to stand, a place to belong to, a seat or location of identity
75. Whenua - land, homeland, country; also afterbirth, placenta

Numbers
76. Tahi - one
77. Rua - two
78. Toru - three
79. Wha - four
80. Rima - five
81. Ono - six
82. Whitu - seven
83. Waru - eight
84. Iwa - nine
85. Tekau - 10
86. Tekau ma tahi - 11
87. Rua tekau - 20
88. Iwa tekau - 90
89. Iwa tekau ma iwa - 99
90. Kotahi rau - 100
91. Iwa rau - 900
92. Kotahi mano - 1000

Food and drink
93. Kai - food. E kai - command to eat
94. Inu - drink. E inu - command to drink
95. Hoko - buy (as in ice cream)
96. Miti - meat
97. Hua whenua - vegetables
98. Hua rakau - fruit
99. Hiakai - hungry. Kei te hiakai au. I am hungry.
100. Hiainu - thirsty. Kei te hiainu au. I am thirsty.

Source: www.nzhistory.net.nz/culture/maori-language-week/365-maori-words

- NZ Herald

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