Māori Dictionaries should stop being genre specific

A discussion about the reason why Māori Dictionaries should stop being genre specific and be more inclusive of all Māori words. I use loan words as an example here.

As a child who was brought up with te reo Māori (including Te Karere Māori News) in the late 70’s and early 80’s, I heard a great amount of Māori words that I would now categorise as:
· Kāi Tahu Dialect
· Anglicised Māori
· Loan Words
· Transliterations
· Common Māori words in the English Language.

Going from a home/marae base of interacting with the Māori language to an educational facility, and to a home environment of a language teacher who as educated at an education facility, I was utterly confused for many years as to what I heard and learnt as a child.

For years I was curious what happened to all of these kupu and why they were not published in mainstream publications. Through my involvement with Māori Language revitalisation using ICT and Dictionary work, I now know that Māori Dictionaries are generally compiled to be specific to a sub section of Māori Language speakers such as traditional (Williams), Everyday Māori (Ngata) and Modern (Ryan, Matatiki) and now we have more diluted Māori Dictionaries of Mathematics, Science, ICT and several other genre as their own publications.

Many Māori speakers will argue that they will never use Māori Loan words till the English speakers use Māori words. I find this amusing as I have documented the fact that the English language has over 1300 integrated Māori words as part of its vocabulary. The document is still being finalised and will be published on this site at a future date.
P.M. Ryan in his introduction (Ryan, P.M. 1997. Raupo Dictionary Of Modern Māori. Reed Publishing (NZ) Ltd.) sates he would not use or include Loan Words. This is despite the fact the Ryan (Raupo) Dictionary has copious and blatant Loan words contained (pi – bee, pea), but he has also omitted some of the more common Loan words such as kihi – kiss.

About 7000 Loan words are contained in the Papakupu project and are clearly identified as loan words. Where possible the dates of the Loan word are also included. Some Loan Words date from 1840 and are references to Captain James Cook and various British Officers who were involved with the Treaty of Waitangi.

In my opinion all Māori words need to be recorded in one repository despite their genre. The same method that is used for English Dictionaries that contain many scientific, slang and Latin words.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *