As part of the experience of being in New Zealand I thought it would be a great idea to learn a bit more about the country's native people, the Māori.
And what better way is there to learn something about a different people than learning its language? So I enrolled for the class Te Reo Māori - Māori for Beginners - at the Community Education Whangarei (CEW).
It's kind of like the Volkshochschule in Germany. For the next couple week Jason will teach me and the ten other "students" the basics of Māori language, how words are pronounced, sentences structured, we'll get some basic vocabulary and will also learn about the Māori culture and their beliefs.
The class started last Monday but I was so sick that I only made it half way through before having to head back home with a terribly upset stomach. This week was a lot better so I could actually concentrate and take it all in.
The Māori language is not comparable to any language I've ever heard or spoken before. The alphabet is quite similar to ours with a few exceptions. "wh" is pronounced like "f" - but the "f" doesnt't exist. If you put a line above any vowel it means you have to stretch that vowel while speaking. Then you have some letters that are simply swallowed when saying a word.
I think three of us tried to ask Jason today whether by looking at a word you instantly know how to pronounce it - like in Spanish for instance. He said you probably could, but it takes a long time, until you understand the structure of the language and get some practice.
One of the most important things we learnt today is to ask someone how they feel.
E pēhea ana koe? would be the question for that - but only if you just ask one person. If you want to ask a couple (or two people in general) you'd have to say E pēhea ana kourua? and if it's three or more people you're adressing you ask E pēhea ana koutou?. Sounds simple, doesn't it?
Here's a few possible answers to that question:
E pai ana ahau - I feel good
E ngenge ana ahau - I feel tired
E māuiui ana ahau - I feel sick
Also very important:
E hiawai ana ahau - I am thirsty ("hia" meaning "I want" and "wai" being "water)
E hiakai ana ahau - I am hungry ("hia" meaning "I want" and "kai" being "food")
And my favorite Māori word of today's lesson:
katakata - laugh
Oh, and I almost forgot this one - for all the German people reading this:
oma is also a Māori word and means "to run" - grandma would like that =D
With this I'm going to end this post, but not without saying:
Mā kite anō - Goodbye for now :-)
Written and contributed by maerchen82