Archive for the ‘Māori (mri)’ Category

sbuusaɫ sqʷuʔalikʷ dxʷʔal ti dxʷləšucid – 2

23 April 2013

Among the talks at the Fourth Annual Lushootseed Language Conference on Saturday was “Teaching Language Use” by Zalmai ʔəswəli Zahir, who has been teaching Lushootseed (lut) since 1989.

Noting that learning Lushootseed in the classroom does not translate into everyday use, Zahir focused on how to create a speaking environment.

He said that language nests are the only known method that works to revitalize a language. He also mentioned that in addition to  Maori and Hawaiian, languages that language nests have been applied to include Blackfoot, Cherokee, Chinook Wawa and Navajo. He also noted that modern Hebrew (heb) got its start with a language nest (see also Eliezer Ben-Yehuda).

His suggestion was to create a language nest in your home, preferably your kitchen. The steps he outlined are:

  1. Define the room or area where the language nest will be located, discussing the issue with all family members.
  2. Learn vocabulary for micro-domains, such as washing the dishes and cutting up vegetables. By working on one a week, a reasonable vocabulary can be built up in six months. Put up labels.
  3. Launch the nest, allowing only the target language to be spoken there. When friends and family members visit, tell them beforehand about the rules.

Once the nest is well established, language use can be expanded to other domains. Zahir also talked about the importance of maintaining motivation, and how talking to others in the home and the community about the progress of the nest and other aspects of language learning can keep people motivated.

More doubts about te reo Māori

23 July 2012

Te reo (the language) Māori (mri) holds a special place in language revitalization as the first language to undergo successful revitalization. Their language nest program provided a cultural framework with which to promote language use, and their model was adapted for the Hawaiian language, which has also been successful. The Māori program is therefore looked to for both practice and inspiration.

This week is Māori Language Week, running from 23 to 29 July, and 1 August will be the 25 anniversary of the Māori Language Commission. And this occasion is also bringing focus to questions that have risen recently about whether the Māori program will survive.

Read “Māori Language Week: Te reo becoming lost in translation” for an outlook of both optimism and pessimism about the future of Māori. Also, see other posts on this blog by clicking on the Māori link below.

Development of a Māori-English dictionary of legal terms

13 July 2012

Te Kaupapa Reo-a-Ture or the Legal Māori Project was established in 2008 to develop a glossary of legal terms in Māori (mri) and English to aid Māori speakers. The dictionary is scheduled to be issued at the end of this year.

During the term of the project, an interesting turn in New Zealand linguaculture has occurred: The  Waitangi Tribunal of New Zealand announced that the Crown has become Māori, a “reality” that must be grasped.

Read more in “Making a Legal Dictionary for an Indigenous Language: The Legal Maori Dictionary.”

Samoan Language Week 2011: Samoa Ola – Samoa Active

31 May 2011

In addition to being an official language of Samoa (along with English), Samoan (smo) is spoken in American Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand, Tonga and the US. According to the Ethnologue, there are 370,000 speakers all told, 200,000 of which are in Samoa. The UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger does not list Samoan, but the desire to keep the Samoan culture intact while the community has spread throughout the Pacific Ocean has led to an interesting movement: the Samoan Language Week.

Samoan Language Week runs from Wednesday, June 1 to Tuesday, June 7, starting on Samoan Independence Day. (According to “Happy 47 and 1/2 Birthday Samoa!” the actual date of independence was January 1, 1962, but was moved because January 1 is a holiday for the new year.)

According to “Celebrate Samoan Language Week with the NZETC” on the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre, Radio Niu FM began the Samoan Language Week movement at least four years ago. According to “Samoan Language Week USA Kicks Off Today” on Voxy, New Zealand’s Human Rights Commission and the National Commission for UNESCO set up a Facebook page in 2010. This is the main page for participants to communicate.

According to the Human Rights Commission page, “Samoan Language Week was first promoted by Radio Niu FM as part of a series of Pacific language weeks leading up to Māori Language Week.” The Facebook page for Māori Language Week says that Māori language celebrations have been held since 1975.

This year, the US is joining in the Samoan Language Week celebrations. There is a special Facebook page with a calendar of events, including a day for reading and a day for conversations.

News in Brief: High school students in New Zealand and Lithuania, languages on Wikipedia

20 April 2011

19 Saskatchewan students to visit New Zealand on cultural exchange, trip to include Māori (mri) language learning centers:  ‘Chance of a lifetime’ awaits N.Z.-bound Oskayak students

High school graduate to study status of Karaim (kdr): Endangered Language Research Project

Some endangered languages have a relatively large number of Wikipedia articles: The Linguistic Geography of the WikipediaEndangered Languages and the Wikipedia

Opinion: Why does the Māori language struggle continue?

16 April 2011

The Māori of New Zealand sparked the language revitalization movement around the world when they implemented a community-based education program to teach children to speak te reo or “the language” as Māori (mri) is often called.

The most well known part of their revitalization movement is the language nest, an early education component such as for kindergarten known as kōhanga reo (pūnana leo in Hawaiian). Immersion schools are known as kura kaupapa.

According to “Fight to save national taonga,” however, despite nearly three decades and hundreds of millions of dollars in investment, the language has not taken full root. While some can speak the language and even Pākehā (non-Māori New Zealanders) have adopted words for everyday use, the language has failed to rise to a level of common use.

The author writes, “What Maori lacks, and what most minority languages lack, is this life-sustaining linguistic community, the sea of language in which speakers can happily swim at all times.”

The author notes that there is a similar situation in Wales, and it was only the need for a unifying language by Jews coming from many different countries the resulted in the success of Hebrew revitalization.

The opinion article was written in response to a Māori/English bilingual report titled “Te Reo Maurioraissued by Te Paepae Motuhake to Te Puni Kōkiri (Ministry of Māori Development).

The recommendations of the report include:

  • Working toward a goal of 80% of Māori speaking Māori in the home by 2050
  • Funding for family- and community-oriented programs
  • Establishing Iwi Wānanga (tribal schools)
  • Establishing a position for a Māori-speaking minister
These items were selected from pages 45 and 49 of the report.

Video making the case to revitalize

13 April 2011

Last autumn, the BBC had an article titled “Are dying languages worth saving?” that includes a video.

The article provides pros and cons for revitalization, but the video is on the side of revitalization. Speaking in seven languages, people make the case with English subtitles to assist those people who are not septaglots (speaking seven languages).

The languages used are:

Immersion Schools and Identity

11 March 2011

Two references on immersion schools, one from last fall and the other from 2008.

The Heritage Language Journal‘s fall 2010 edition has a special theme of identity. The articles are available free of charge online. Of the articles, at least two bear directly on endangered languages:

The other is “Can Schools Save Indigenous Languages?Policy and Practice on Four Continents,” edited by Nancy H. Hornberger. Published in hardback in 2008 and paperback last fall, this book looks at four cases of language revitalization around the world. Coverage includes of the communities where Māori (mri), Sámi (family), Hñähñö or Otomi (family), and various Latin American languages are spoken.

The book can be purchased from Palgrave for GBP 55.00 hardback or 19.99 paperback, and from Macmillan for USD 85.00 hardback. The book is reviewed in volume 31, issue 2 of “Applied Linguistics.” An excerpt of the review is available on their site, or the article can be accessed for one day for USD 25.

Table of Contents from the Macmillan page:

  • Introduction— by N.H. Hornberger
  • Out on the fells, I feel like a Sámi – Is There Linguistic and Cultural Quality in the Sámi School? — by V. Hirvonen
  • Different or Equal? Policy and Indigenous Perspectives on Bilingual Intercultural Education in Latin America — by L.E. Lopez
  • Maori-Medium Education in Aotearoa/New Zealand: Current Issues and Challenges — by S. May & R. Hill
  • Learning with Differences: Strengthening Hñähñö and Bilingual Teaching in an Elementary School in Mexico — by N.R. Recendiz
  • Commentary from a Saami and International Perspective — by L. Huss
  • Commentary from an African and International Perspective — by N.M. Kamwangamalu
  • Commentary from a Native American and International Perspective — by T.L. McCarty
  • Conclusion: Commentary from a Maori and International Perspective — by B. Spolsky

This blog entry inspired by Indigenous School Based Projects, an article by Gina Putt on that highlights five programs.

Conditions for Language Revitalization by Spolsky

4 March 2011

Conditions for Language Revitalization: A Comparison of the Cases ofHebrew and Maori,” in Current Issues In Language and Society in 1995 is available at no charge online. It is a fascinating look at the histories of Māori and Hebrew revitalization, how they are similar and how they differ.

Māori in the Return of the King

21 February 2011

It’s been eight years since Peter Jackson’s version of Tolkien’s “Return of the King” was released. Tonight, passing through the credits, I happened on some Māori (mri). It says:

Me mahara tonu tātou ngā Uri-āpakura nō tūnuku nei, nō te wāotū, te tu kekehua ana o ngā Eldarin kua hohoū mai i te Uru-moana.

According to the IMDB,  AbercrombieOfRohan, and Rand al’Thor, this means:

Let us dedicate our memories to the spirits of the Eldar who came to us from the Ocean that lies to the West.

The film was filmed in Aotearoa (New Zealand), and the Making Of portions of the DVDs show Māori actors as well as the incorporation of Māori culture in scenes such as at the Battle of the Hornburg.