Loading...

The Influence of Maori Vocabulary on New Zealand English

Seminar Paper 2000 17 Pages

Didactics - English - Pedagogy, Literature Studies

Excerpt

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. The Maori La nguage and the Periods of Borrowing

3. The Wellington Corpora of New Zealand English
3.1 The Wellington Corpus of Written New Zealand English (WWC)
3.1.1 Structure
3.1.2 Problems
3.2 The Wellington Corpus of Spoken New Zealand English (WSC)
3.2.1 Structure
3.2.2 Problems
3.3 Comparison

4. Selection of Words

5. The Search Results
5.1 Search Results for the WWC
5.2 Search Results for the WSC
5.3 Comparison

6. The Use of the Maori ArticleTe

7. The Capitalisation and Declination of Maori Words

8. Creation of New Words

9. Maori Vocabulary in Other Standard Varieties of English

10. Conclusion

11. Bibliography

12. Tables

1. Introduction

In supermarkets all over the world we can find a small egg-shaped fruit with a greenish and brownish colour. Everyone knows this fruit as kiwi. In fact, the original name of the fruit is Chinese Gooseberry. But as the main kiwi- growing country in the world is New Zealand, the berry was named after an endemic flightless bird, the heraldic beast of New Zealand, the kiwi. This happened because of the similarity of both fruit and bird. Like the names of most plants and animals in New Zealand, the expression kiwi has its origin in the language of the native inhabitants of the islands, the Maoris. It is interesting to see that a word of such a very small people - the Maori belong to the Polynesian family of nations and now count about 350,000 (~ 10% of the population of New Zealand) - nowadays is known and common all over the world. But as the kiwi fruit is one of the main exporting products of New Zealand this does not surprise. How about other words from the Maori language? How far did they make it into other languages, especially into the standard variety of New Zealand English? How advanced is the level of integration into New Zealand English? What kind of words are, nowadays, used and where? Are they used only in the spoken language or in writing, too? To answer this questions a good way is to search the two corpora of New Zealand English, the Wellington Corpus of Written New Zealand English (WWC) and the Wellington Corpus of Spoken New Zealand English (WSC). But first it is important to know something about the history of the Maori language and the history of borrowings from Maori into New Zealand English.

2. The Maori Language and the Periods of Borrowing

In New Zealand English word borrowings from the Maori language (te reo Maori) are the most unique New Zealand part of the lexis. There are also borrowings from the Australian Aboriginal language and other languages in the south Pacific, but these are by far not as important. As mentioned before, the Maori language is a Polynesian language. Its structure is very different from Romanic and Germanic languages. Especially the syllable structure differs, there is only one consonant a syllable and all syllables end in vowels. This makes it relatively easy to identify Maori words in New Zealand English. There have been two main periods of activity in borrowing from Maori into English. In the 14th century the Maoris came from the south Pacific and settled in New Zealand, especially on the North Island. The first period of borrowing started directly after the first contact with the white people. In 1642 Abel Tasman discovered New Zealand as first European, but it took more than 100 years until James Cook’s reports from 1777 caused the colonisation by the British Empire. As in other colonies, the native language quickly came under an English domination. But in three specific fields words from Maori have been taken over into English. Words from the Maori society, expressions for native flora and fauna and proper names, especially place names. Most of the essential and most common loanwords come from this earliest phase. Examples from Maori life are haka (war dance), hangi (food in earth oven), mana (authority/power) or marae (Maori meeting complex). Words for trees and plants are Kauri or Pohutukawa (New Zealand Christmas Tree). Kiwi, Moa and Kakapo are names of birds. After this first period of borrowing there was a time where Maori was completely overshadowed by English and the survival of the native people’s language was threatened. But during the last 20 to 25 years, Maori experienced a revival - not only the language but especially the Maori culture. This was and still is part of the world-wide post-colonial movement of indigenous people seeking more influence in their own destinies and for their own identity. The flow of loanwords has resumed, with some of the old words being revived and many others appearing in English for the first time. This second phase of borrowing is mainly focused on words from the Maori society, for example Aotearoa (Maori expression for New Zealand, literally ‘land of the long white cloud’), iwi (tribe), tangata (person) or whenua (land). Today, new and old loanwords can even be found in the media and in public statements. A very important step to preserve and support the Maori language was the Maori Language Act of 1987, giving official status to Maori co-equally with English and establishing a Maori Language Commission. Today a lot of Maori radio and TV-programmes can be found throughout New Zealand. This second phase of borrowing is not receiver-oriented and pakeha-driven (pakeha is the Maori word for the white people) such as in the first phase, it is donor-oriented and Maori-driven. This active use of the Maori language has been and still is responsible for the fact that white people today are able to understand a lot of Maori words and sometimes even use them themselves.

3. The Wellington Corpora of New Zealand English

3.1 The Wellington Corpus of Written New Zealand English (WWC)

3.1.1 Structure

The texts used for the WWC are texts written and collected between 1986 and 1992. The main text categories (see Table 1, p.??) have been arranged to match those in the London-Oslo- Bergen-Corpus (LOB) as closely as possible. The WWC consists of 10 text categories of different sizes. Like in the two other corpora, there are 500 text extracts with about 2000 words each. By far the biggest category is the section of fiction. In contrast to the LOB and the Brown Corpus, this section is not divided into subsections, ‘for the simple reason that genuine mass- market fiction from New Zealand tends to be published overseas’ (WWC- manual). Because the collectors of the corpus wanted to use purely New Zealand fiction, they tried to avoid the influence of overseas editors.

3.1.2 Problems

In contrast to the WSC, it is impossible to identify the texts written by Maoris and to search in a subtly differentiated way. There only are the different text categories and no separate textfiles for each extract. Another problem is the different size of the categories.

3.2 The Wellington Corpus of Spoken New Zealand English (WSC)

3.2.1 Structure

The structure of the WSC is very different from the structure of the various written corpora. All texts have been recorded and transcribed between 1987 and 1992. The aim was to create a collection of every-day speech. ‘Informal conversational interaction is the most pervasive, unmarked, daily expression of New Zealand English, and should therefore be well represented’ (WSC-manual). 75% of the WSC are informal speech, 12% are semi- formal speech and 13% are formal speech. Each of those categories consists of different subsections. By far the biggest part of the corpus is the section of conversation (50% of the whole corpus!). In the WSC it is possible to exactly identify the texts Maoris are represented in and to search every single text on its own. This makes it easier to distinguish between Maori vocabulary used by Maoris themselves and those words taken over and used by pakeha. The Maoris are well represented in the corpus. Around 18% of all words have been spoken by Maoris before they were transcibed. This is even more than the representation of the ethnic group in the total population (~350,000 Maoris are 10% all New Zealanders).

3.2.2 Problems

The struc ture of the corpus with its huge number of different text- files results in a labourintensive search.

3.3 Comparison

While the WSC specialises in informal speech, most of the WWC consists of formal style. The main questions are whether Maori vocabulary is used more frequently in formal, written New Zealand English or in informal, spoken New Zealand English and whether only Maoris use Maori words or pakeha as well.

4. Selection of Words

The question in the beginning of my studies was whether there would be enough Maori words in the two corpora to search for and how often they would appear. In the manual of the WSC, a Maori glossary is included where all Maori words of the corpus have been listed. But one problem soon turned up: when searching for Maori expressions most of them are not very numerous. They do occur only once or twice. To say something about those areas or categories in written and spoken New Zealand English the Maori vocabulary made their entrance into, it is necessary to select those words that seem to be most common. Maori expressions for human beings in general or in particular and expressions for language are, by far, most frequent throughout both corpora, especially the names for both ethnic groups in the country, the Maoris and the pakeha. Other expressions are wahine (woman), tangata (person), reo (language, speech) and the word New Zealanders use to call themselves when travelling abroad, kiwi (not only used for the flightless bird or the fruit!). Other numerous words are expressions for the land or for things from the social life of the Maoris. Examples for this are Aotearoa (New Zealand, ‘land of the long white cloud’), whenua (land) and marae (meeting place).

5. The Search Results

As mentioned before, I chose the most frequent Maori words to search for (in order of most numerous hits when searching the WWC: Maori, pakeha, Aotearoa, kiwi, marae, tangata, whenua, wahine, reo). After having selected these words by searching the whole corpora for all Maori words in the WSC Maori glossary, the search was limited to every single category of each corpus. The search was also limited to the singular form of the words (see 7, p.11).

5.1 Search Results for the WWC (see Table 1, p. 14)

At first, it needs to be pointed out that the categories of the WWC are of different size. Some, like the category of religion, are very small (17 extracts of 2000 words each [Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten] 34,000 words), some are much larger (e.g. learned and scientific writings with 80 extracts [Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten] 160,000 words). At first glance, there seem to be most hits when searching for Maori words in category G (belles lettres, biography, essays). But the number of words found has to be seen in relation to the size of the category, and category G is relatively large.

Before looking at the search results of each section, I want to have a look at the results when searching the whole WWC.

It does not surprise that, by far, Maori is the most frequent word. There does not exist another expression for the native population, and therefore Maori is used by both, Maoris themselves and pakeha. It is also used to describe various sorts of expressions concerning the Maoris. Examples are Maori people, Maori education, Maori language, Maori land. The fact that Maori belongs to the active vocabulary of white people and Maoris, can not be proved exactly when looking at the WWC but will become clearer when looking at the WSC or newspapers. Pakeha is also very common and appears in nearly all categories of the WWC. Like Maori it is used more or less by both ethnic groups, but it is mo re likely for Maoris to call white people pakeha.

There is a striking difference between the number hits when searching Maori and pakeha and the number when searching for the rest of the words. Aotearoa seems to be more or less concentrated on the categories of press (A,B,C), popular lore (F) and biography (G). Kiwi does not appear as often as Maori and pakeha but we can find it in nearly all categories and is especially frequent in the press sections (A,B,C). This expression is used with a number of different meanings, and some new words containing it have been created in New Zealand English (see 8, p.11). All other words, especially reo and wahine, do not seem to be very frequent in written New Zealand English, at least they are not frequent in the WWC. Looking at the different categories, it soon becomes clear that the sections F, G and J are most influenced by Maori vocabulary. Especially when we look at the expressions for Maori social life (marae, tangata, whenua), nearly all hits of the search in the WWC appear in the categories F and G. In category F, the percentage of occurrence is even higher because this part is smaller. This does not surprise when we think about the content of the category: written knowledge of traditions and legends. In contrast o this it was to assume that, in categories like hobby (E), religion (D) or scientific writings (J), only words with a higher familiarity throughout the whole population (like Maori) would appear. And because most hobbies in New Zealand do have their origin in England, because most people in New Zealand are Christians and because the language of science is English, it is improbable that Maori words become integrated in these parts of the language.

5.2 Search Results for the WSC (see Table 2, p.15)

In order to say something about the use of Maori words in every-day life, the WSC is clearly much more suitable. Another great advantage of the Spoken Corpus is the possibility to search every single text-file for itself. The manual contains a list of all files and an identification of the persons participating in it. There is information on the person’s ethnicity, gender, age and occupation and/or education. As mentioned before, the words spoken by Maoris come to 180,681 which means 18% of the whole corpus. The problem is, that in some categories the Maoris are very well represented (Social dialect interview with nearly only Maoris or Broadcast interview with about 40% Maori words) and in some others (Sports commentary, Telephone conversation or Transactions and meetings), they are completely or nearly completely excluded.

When looking the WSC it is obvious that the category of conversation is by far the biggest. It represents the most casual, informal style of speech. The search results make clear that the frequency of Maori words is the highest in this aspect of language. Especially words like marae, wahine and reo, that rarely exist in the Written Corpus, are relatively common. One reason for this could be that in many files of the conversation part of the WSC, the Maoris are by themselves. Here they talk about their history and tradition, their social life, about friends and family. Although in the WSC, only spoken language by primarily English speaking people has been collected, it was to be expected that Maoris use their old language more often when talking to Maoris. Sometimes they even tend to code-switch by using te reo Maori for whole sentences and then coming back to English. In other categories where the Maoris are represented, the ethnicity is more often mixed (pakeha and Maoris together).

When having a closer look at the conversation part (only those texts with Maoris involved), it did not become evident that old people or females use the Maori language more often then others (although it could have been expected that these groups are more used to the old language).

Comparing the texts with Maoris involved and texts without Maoris a discrepancy concerning the use of Maori words becomes more evident. Especially Aotearoa, reo, wahine and marae are almost exclusively used by Maoris (at least only in texts with Maoris!). The situation is slightly different when we look at the words Maori and pakeha. They seem to be used by white people as well. The expression kiwi, once only the name for the bird, seem almost completely to be taken over by the white population.

5.3 Comparison

When comparing the WWC and the WSC, there is no big difference in the total number of Maori vocabulary. Maori, the most common word in both corpora, and kiwi appear almost in the same numbers. Pakeha, Aotearoa, tangata and whenua are even more frequent in the WWC, mainly because of the high representation in the category of Popular lore. Thus, it is not possible to say that the use of Maori vocabulary is more common in spoken or in written New Zealand English. On the other hand, it was possible to prove that Maoris themselves do use their own language more frequently than Pakeha and that the Maori language is most common in informal speech style (category conversation in the WSC and category popular lore in the WWC).

6. The Use of the Maori ArticleTe

One way to accumulate information about the level of integration of Maori vocabulary into New Zealand English is to look at the article of Maori words. There are three possibilities: the first is the use of the original Maori article te, the second the use of the English article the and the third is a mixed usage of the and te (e.g. the te Maori). In both corpora nearly all words are accompanied by the English article. This means that those words used in connection with the English language are accepted as ‘English’ words. Especially Maori shows this tendency. There are only 7 cases in the WWC and 2 cases in the WSC where it appears with the Maori article. The only two words that seem to have made it into English as a term connected with the article te are te aroha (the love) and te reo (the language). Te aroha appears 20 times in the WWC, 11 with the article te. Te reo appears 65 times in the WSC, 23 times with the article te. There is only one case where both articles are used (the te Maori exhibition), and this only because of the name of the exhibition.

7. The Capitalisation and Declination of Maori Words

The only Maori words that are capitalised are proper nouns like Aotearoa and Te Puni Kokiri (the Ministry of Maori Development), and the word Maori. Pakeha also is on its way to transfer into a proper nouns but this conversion is not completely finished. The capitalisation is also transferred into New Zealand English. Maori is also the only word together with kiwi that is declined frequently. This may be the case because right these two words are mostly integrated into English. Connected with other nouns (e.g. Maori culture, kiwi dollar) only the singular form is used. For all other nouns there is almost no plural form (only very few plural forms of pakeha).

8. Creation of New Words

There are some cases in the corpora where Maori vocabulary is connected with an English word to form a new word (compounding). Examples are kiwicard (a bank card), maoridom, nonmaori, Maoriland, kiwidollar (sometimes written together, sometimes seperately) and Eurokiwi (expression in the field of stock markets).

9. Maori Vocabulary in Other Standard Varieties of English

When searching corpora of other standard varieties of English, the Australian Corpus of English, the Frown Corpus (American) and the FLOB Corpus (British), the only Maori word that can be found is kiwi. Even this expression is very rare and mostly used as the name of the fruit.

10. Conclusion

In the two corpora the Maori vocabulary is not as frequent as it could have been expected in view of 10% of Maori people in the population. Especially the fact that, in a large majority, the Maori expression are used by Maoris themselves does not give the impression that the influence of Maori vocabulary on New Zealand English is great. Even the Maoris seem to have lost the majority of their old language or, at least, do not use it frequently. It has to be pointed out that both corpora have been collected in the late 80ie s and the early 90ies. It is possible that the Maori Language Act (1987), which gave official status to the Maori language, did not show immediately an effect. It would be interesting to see whether nowadays the Maori language is more common throughout all styles of speech and throughout all groups of speakers than in the late 80ies and early 90ies. This is what one would suppose after searching current newspaper catalogues. Here, it seems that Maori vocabulary appears much more frequently than in the corpora. The problem is that the material to be searched in is rather small. Another possibility would be to create a current corpus, just like the FROWN and FLOB Corpora as updates for the BROWN and LOB Corpora.

11. Bibliography

- Bell, Allen and Koenrad Kuiper (Edit.): New Zealand English, Varieties of English Around the World Vol. 25, John Benjamins Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1999

- Burridge, Kate and Jean Mulder: English in Australia and New Zealand, An Introduction to its History, Structure and Use, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1998

- Gordon, Elizabeth and Tony Deverson: New Zealand English and English in New Zealand, New House Publications, Auckland, 1998

Internet:

Manuals of the Wellington Corpus of Spoken New Zealand English

(http://khnt.hit.uib.no/icame/manuals/wsc) and the Wellington Corpus of Written New Zealand English (http://khnt.hit.uib.no/icame/manuals/wellmann)

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Table 1: Search results in the Wellington Corpus of Written New Zealand English

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Table 2: Search results in the Wellington Corpus of New Zealand English

Details

Pages
17
Year
2000
File size
367 KB
Language
English
Catalog Number
v103109
Institution / College
University of Freiburg
Grade
2
Tags
Influence Maori Vocabulary Zealand English Proseminar Variation

Author

Share

Previous

Title: The Influence of Maori Vocabulary on New Zealand English