Māori language

Spoken in

  • Austronesian languages Polynesian languages Eastern Polynesian languages Māori



The Maori language ( Māori, Te Reo Māori ) is the Polynesian language of the indigenous people of Māori in New Zealand, where it is one of the three official languages.

The language was spoken in New Zealand in 2006 of around 157,500 people, 131,600 of them Maori descent. With a population of around 565 300 in 2006 Māori ie only 23.3% of Māori were able to apply the language in daily life, falling. Closer relationship of language is to Cook Islands Māori and Tahitian.

Before the arrival of Europeans, Māori was an unwritten language, today it is written in Latin script.

  • 4.1 Basic
  • 4.2 particles, prepositions and determiners 4.2.1 The following particle
  • 4.2.2 The above particle
  • 4.4.1 Pre- Coated subject
  • 4.4.2 Actor Emphatic
  • 9.1 dictionaries
  • 9.2 Linguistic websites
  • 9.3 Language Learning pages
  • 9.4 news and literature on Maori


Māori is one of the endangered languages ​​. This is mainly due to the contact of the population with the Europeans: names the first whalers and sailors of the surrounding islands with their own Pidgin little impact on the Māori arrived in 1800 as missionaries from other European countries. They held the first Māori, for example, by a translation of the Bible, written and led schools for the local population. From 1867, local lessons were in English instead, the use of the Maori language was punished and the parents should talk to their children at home exclusively English. This and the increasing urbanization of the Māori, the modern mass media and the education led to a steady decrease of the number of speakers of Māori in 1978 there were only 70,000, however mostly consisted of older, aged 45 or small isolated communities. 90 % of Māoribevölkerung are English-speaking, and as the main language - particularly the younger generation is no longer the Māori powerful. It is used only in ritual practices or in the church.

In the late 1980s, the early 1990s saw the language of a renaissance, the interest in the population increased and efforts were made to save them. So Māori was introduced in the preschools, there are bilingual classes, pure Māori primary schools, radio and television broadcasts in Māori and publications in the language that is particularly aimed at younger readers and learners. 1987 Māori became an official language of New Zealand and the Office Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (English Maori Language Commission, German about Māori Language Commission ) was founded.

Nevertheless, there remains a threatened Māori language. Only older speakers can still be described as a native speaker, the younger generations are semi-speakers (semi -speaker ) or speak it as a second language. Much of the present time can not be expressed in Māori, it comes with the vocabulary, grammar and intonation to a mix of English and Māori. In recent years, about 20,000 new words were created to adapt the language to the modern age. Many of these words are borrowings of English words, such as maki for English monkey ' monkey ', Anuru for the given name Andrew or Tiamani for English Germany ' Germany '.

Distributed over many regions of New Zealand to dialects had emerged, the differences are to be found today in more details. There are partly phonological and phonetic variations, but most are lexically. Today, there are variants of the Maori language still essentially between the North and the South Island. So that's a ka nga the North Island South Island.

At best, the language has kept among members of the tribe of Ngai Tuhoe in the east of the North Island.

The default language is the translation of the Bible, which is based on the dialect in northern New Zealand, as the missionaries were active there first.


The Māori has the original (East ) Polynesian sounds best preserves.

In the language a special emphasis on the vowels that are pronounced similarly to the Germans. The number of the consonant is low, so there is no S and D. As a rule, not always followed in each syllable in a consonant, a vowel or the syllable consists only of a vowel. Never, there are two consonants in direct succession. ( The wh forms only in Scripture an exception, it is very similar to a German speaking f. , The ng is considered a consonant and also as in English, so pronounced as in sing. )


The Māori has the five vowels a, e, i, o and u, the combination of the same vowels results in a long vowel, the combination of vowels in adjacent position near a diphthong. In the latter case, however, rule differences from one speaker to another, whether the two vowels form a diphthong or really the second vowel is pronounced as full (for example, as au / au / or / A'U / ).


In Māori, there are ten consonants: the plosives p, t and k, the nasals m, n and ŋ, the approximants w, r the flap and the fricatives h and f latter is spoken in modern Māori as such, in northern New Zealand, however, often referred to as so-called Thorn- sound, similar to the English th. The r is not rolled and is the closest to a very fast beaten d

Syllable structure, word stress and spelling

General syllabic structure (C ) V ( V (V)). Because there is no final or contiguous consonants, this leads, as mentioned above, to phonological adaptations in loanwords from English: aihi kiriimi = ice cream. Up to individual particles words all words in Māori are at least zweimorig ( a More consisting of ( C) V, whereas V is a short vowel ). The emphasis is on the first place More except in a long vowel ( kaumáatua, tutúu ) or nichtfinalem diphthong ( fakáeke, but: Marae ). The Māori alphabet used Latin letters and is a, e, h, i, k, m, n, ng, o, p, r, t, u, w, wh, where ng and wh digraphs for [ ŋ ] or [ ɸ ] are. The macron for long vowels ā, ū, ō, ē, ī is usually orthographic standard, although some writers use double vowels and in some, especially older texts no length marking is present: whanau, whaanau, whanau "family". The word Māori itself is pronounced with emphasis on the a, o is spoken very short and sometimes barely audible. To illustrate this point, has the spelling of Māori, so established with macron above the a. The r is a single blow with the tip of the tongue, similar to a very quick d



The general sentence structure is:

Predicate subject ( object (object )) ( comments, etc. )

The subject is indeed mandatory, but can be omitted if it is clear from the context.

Māori is a Akkusativsprache.

As in other Polynesian languages ​​, yet rather than the word, phrase, the basic unit of Māori sentence structure. All parts of sentences above are those and are divided into three categories: the noun phrase NP, the prepositional phrase PP and the verb phrase VP. All three have in common. Phrases in Māori consist of a nucleus and two peripheries, one above and one below VRP NaP. In the following example, all three phrases mentioned are the same available:

The nucleus may also consist of several bases, wherein the first of the "head" and the others are in each case modified in the preceding one.

Particles, prepositions and determiners

The above before and following peripherals consist of particles which are assigned to each phrase and have specific meanings and are an important part of Māori.

The following particle

There are few subsequent particle with the following meaning:

Normally there is always only one particle in a phrase; however, there are several, then they appear in the above order.

The above particle

The much larger amount of the above particles is governed by the three phrases categories. Only the most commonly -emergent called.

The particles have here temporal, aspectual ( = subjective opinion of the speaker ) and modal meanings.

  • Ka: only indicates that there is a VP; usually present
  • I: shows strictly the past
  • Kua: this indicates Perfect, ie, the result / seclusion of an action; in unreal condition records
  • Kia: a) imperative of adjectives, verbs tripod and experience verbs
  • E ... ana: shows the waveform of an action in any time to form
  • Me: "weak imperative" ( should 'd have, would have )
  • Kei te / i te: course also form in the past and present
  • E / Ø: imperative of transitive and intransitive verbs, Ø is used in subsequent particles or more than zweimorigen verbs
  • Ai: as above particle is marked in modern Māori also a VP, for example, if a regular plot is shown

Here, the particles act as determiners of the core of the phrase.

  • Articles with suffix - t for singular / plural Ø for
  • Te / NGA: as certain articles Equivalent singular / plural
  • Height: indefinite article
  • Tētahi / ētahi, also: ngātahi: undefined, specifying, for something in particular, the one / the other
  • Taua / ouch: indicative of previous speakers.
  • A: personal article for proper names, pronouns, and sometimes place names
  • Demonstrative

There are three " places " distinction in Māori: " close to the speaker ," " near the hook" and " off of two" (see also The following particles)

  • Local noun: konei " here," Kona " there with you ," Kora " over there "
  • Adjectives: pēnei " as the (here) ," Pena " like that of you," Pera " like over there "
  • Tenei / Enei "that / those", Tena / ENA " the / this with you," tera / era "that / those over there "
  • Possessive

The basic formula for possessive determiners is t / Ø for SG / PL Real Estate ā / ō owner Real Estate

  • Question
  • Tēhea / EHEA: " what " SG / PL
  • I: for direct object, reason, according to agent tripod verbs, location, time information, among other
  • Ki: in the sense of "to" in motion to a place, indirect object, time limit; Instrumental, object in experience verbs
  • E: marker for the agent in passive constructions
  • Me: "with" in the accompanying NPs or markers of " circumstances "
  • No: location is not in the past
  • ā: future

The predicate

The fact that, as mentioned above, all the parts of a sentence are phrases, and the predicate can take the three categories of VP, NP and PP, which is indicated by the above particles.

  • Hey N = Subj is a noun
  • Hey A = Subj is an adjective
  • Hey N, Subj owning = owner has a noun

Here the particles are introduced, which have not been mentioned above.

  • Ko initiates definite same predicates
  • Na / nō and mā / mō be used as actual or foreseeable ownership


Although the predicate always follows in the first place, according to sentence structure, can be pulled forward, except objects (!), Although other parts of sentences. Again play again characterizing particles have a major role.

Pre- Coated subject

Each definite subject - NP can be brought forward and is then introduced with ko.

Through the advancement creates two intonations and two readings:

Actor Emphatic

The name for the early agent labeled with Na ( past) / mā ( future ) VP marked with i ( past) / e ( future ) patientive as a subject.

Interrogative sentences

Questions without structural mark as inversion or particles in Māori. Direct Yes / No questions have the same syntax as normal declarative sentences with rising intonation at the end. If these approval invitation stands at the end, followed by the general shortcuts NE or nE rā at the end:

Wh-questions are formed with the corresponding thereto question words, while each word class has its interrogative and this follows exactly the syntax of each class:

The question words are placed directly to the site of the item, which will be requested. In focus is the question word in the first phrase of the sentence. If constituents such objects can not be brought forward, the question word takes its customary position in the rear set.


A characteristic feature of the language the repetition of sequences of letters in words ( such as the repetition of the maki in makimaki what Monkey means ). They met in the Māori different purposes and can be broken down as follows:

  • Partial reduplication: first More patu - papatu
  • Complete reduplication: whole root hoki - hokihoki

In dreimorigen or longer words former is most productive ( takahi - takatakahi ) but is also a reduplication of the last two Moren, including a lengthening of the first vowel place ( haere - haerēre ). For the individual word classes, the respective doubling a different function and often associated word meaning change.

  • Partial reduplication of adjectives = plural
  • Color adjectives = attenuation
  • Partial reduplication of verbs = reciprocal actions
  • Complete reduplication of verbs = Plurality

= Individual action of the subject

= Individual action of the object