Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Higgs Live!

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  • Islander, in reply to linger,

    cites Bruce McFadgen’s book Hostile Shores in arguing that

    I had the great pleasure of listening to Bruce, and Martin Goff & Catherine Chague-Goff, outlining what "Hostile Shores" was going to contain & why...there was enough wine on my kitchen table to keep the conversation going for quite some time...

    It's been a fascination of mine, the interaction between tsunami & early coastal
    settlers, since I learned at Colac Bay, that the karara that had attacked an early kaik' there, was actually a wave...

    "Inundation" seems to have had quite a bit to do with the demise of the big North Westland settlement too-

    Whether such natural catastrophes caused the cessation of contact between here and other parts of Eastern Polynesia is debatable.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Scott Chris,

    at Tongatapu in 1643.

    In Tonga, where ocean-going waka would still have been necessary, even if they weren't voyaging quite so extensively as their ancestors back in the heyday of Polynesian navigating. Flipping a bit further through Te Ara, this page gives two reasons for Maori to switch to single-hulled waka. One is bigger trees allowing for a bigger, more stable hull, making the outrigger unnecessary. The other is that Maori built waka for navigating inland and coastal waterways. It doesn't give a date for the change, though. This image isn't terribly clear on the issue of single or double hulls, but I note at least one waka does have a sail. This page has mōkihi or amatiatia on the East Coast, and Wikipedia claims waka ama were still in use in Cook's time, although they were rare and on the way out.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Chris, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Thanks Chris. Nice to have such well informed comments in this forum. Certainly the local tree variety (amongst other materials) available would have affected the technology one would think. Hadn’t occurred to me.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    ill in use in Cook’s time, although they were rare and on the way out.

    Ama/amatiatia is used in the South for craft with an outrigger (it also means outrigger.) Our word for a craft made of bundles is mogi/mogihi, and they were certainly in use up to early last century. Kai Tahu occasionally hold wanaka to teach young people how to make them, and within the last couple of years, these craft have successfully journeyed down the Waitaki.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Islander,

    mogi/mogihi

    How is it that northern forms of words like mōkihi have come to dominate, even when discussing southern things? I'm actually quite curious as to how te Reo has been standardised, and the health of the dialects.

    Given your insistence on southern spellings (and presumably southern pronunciations), I wonder what you make of wikipedia's claim that the South Island dialects are extinct?

    In the extinct South Island dialects

    Strikes me as being an odd way to open an article that then goes on to admit the continued existence of southern word forms.

    hmmm.... didn't know that Kilmog is actually a Maori word.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Kilmog is actually a Maori word.

    The hill’s name, though occasionally disputed, is widely believed to be a corruption of the Southern Māori word kirimoko, kilimoko or kilimogo,[4] the name of a species of manuka tree used by early Māori for brewing a kind of tea

    -Wikipedia

    Huh. Well I can imagine if you were spending much time on the Kilmog, a hot cuppa would be most welcome! Such a chilly spot.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    BTW I’m finding all this discussion of seafaring fascinating.

    I remember when I read The Runaway Settlers , trying to picture the crossing of the swift Taramakau in small, manoeuvrable Maori craft which I think are described as “canoes”. Might these have been mogi?

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    I wonder what you make of wikipedia’s claim that the South Island dialects are extinct?

    Clearly the compiler of that piece of...hasnt been aware of the considerable resources and efforts Kai Tahu has put into keeping our dialect alive!

    Unhappily, our last native speaker of that dialect died some time ago - but a huge amount was recorded, from the notes in John Boultbee (in the 1820s!) to
    actual sound recordings from the 1930s to the present day. And we use it whenever we can-

    The southern dialects were written down by people who were familiar with northern dialects (or Tahitian!) and quite a bit was erm 'corrected.' Herries Beattie recorded a large number of specifically Southern words (his "Lifeways of the Southern Maori" is a treasure trove. And you will find words in Williams (for example) that are marked Tahu. (for Ngai Tahu.) I've been collecting them since my early teens but o! I really miss people like Taua Fan, Auntie Waiti & Jack B who gave me so many -with the proper pronounciations.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Lilith __,

    I remember when I read The Runaway Settlers , trying to picture the crossing of the swift Taramakau in small, manoeuvrable Maori craft which I think are described as “canoes”. Might these have been mogi?

    Bless Elsie!
    Mogi are sort of waka-shaped but you ride on - rather than really in - them. They are highly responsive - I'm told (having only been a passenger, not a paddler)- and dont sink (unless-aue! - your knotting starts coming apart...)

    Certainly a probability: the materials for making mogi are pretty well everywhere
    on the West Coast. I found remanants of one up the Okarito Lagoon over 35 years ago which must've been made within the past century.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Islander,

    quite a bit was erm ‘corrected.’

    grrr.... bloody prescriptivists. They've done much damage to many languages and to many people's perceptions of 'correct language'. Witness the current sorry state of France's minority languages, for example, thanks to the revolutionary fervour for enforcing Francien on the whole country.

    My wife code switches between Standard Mandarin/Putonghua and her county's dialect - specifically, the sub-dialect of her village in the northwest of her county*. Her mother switches between and sometimes mixes the dialects of her home county (again, specific sub-dialect) and the one she married into**. I have a student from the same county, but a more central area closer to the county town, who tells me he speaks the dialect with his parents, but he couldn't produce any in class - perhaps the embarrassment of being surrounded by his classmates? But otherwise, it's depressing how many of my students tell me their parents only taught them Putonghua - sometimes for good reason, like the guy who grew up in Guangdong but who's father is from Hunan and mother from.... somewhere else, but far too often because China's ever more neurotic parents are so desperate to get their kids every little bit extra opportunity to get ahead and labour under the ridiculous idea that if they speak a local dialect, they won't learn good enough Putonghua and English. Kids are great little language sponges, especially in their very early years, and raising them bilingual/bidialectal does them so much good for their later life, both cognitive function and rooting them in a particular culture, tradition and identity.

    Especially frustrating one day was to hear a student from Datong say her parents never taught her Datonghua. [Insert exasperated spluttering sound here] Datong is in the Jin-speaking area, and nobody can decide if Jin is a Mandarin (Beifang Guanhua, from which Putonghua/Standard Mandarin, based on the Beijing dialect, was developed) dialect or a separate Sinitic language. What we do know about Jin is it's the only set of dialects in the north or Mandarin-speaking area (which includes the southwest) to have preserved the entering tone from Middle Chinese. Entering tones are otherwise only preserved in the southeastern languages like Cantonese, Min, Gan, Hakka.

    I found this, but there's no eBook available. Guess it'll have to go on the list of books to track down when we get back.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    I found this, but there’s no eBook available. Guess it’ll have to go on the list of books to track down when we get back.

    Chris, I have 2 copies (plus a lot HB's booklets) and am very happy to lend you a copy for as long as it takes for you to absorb when you're back.

    I am gobsmacked to learn that native speakers' own dialects/languages are being self-censored from their own children! I thought it was only English that had this paralysing effect. Sob.

    O, Matariki calendar still coming!

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    A story I heard in the late eighties, when doing my undergraduate degree, and to which I am not entirely sure how accurate it is- During the large scale urbanization from the 1950s one tribe in particular went into the civil service, and this dialect became "Standard Maori". No citations or attributions for that though.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Islander,

    Thanks, and thanks. It'll be a few years before we get there, but as I keep telling my increasingly impatient mother, we'll be there before the wee one needs a primary school.

    I thought it was only English that had this paralysing effect. Sob.

    No, and it's spreading. The Manchu language is virtually dead. I read not so long ago about Mongolians in Inner Mongolia not teaching their kids Mongolian, only Putonghua, for the same absurd reason. It makes me wonder how these kids are going to cope when they grow up. And it's especially frustrating because while Mongolia (and, I presume, related peoples in Siberia) switched to Cyrillic under Communism, China has preserved the old Mongolian script.

    But the news isn't all bad. Found via Omniglot. Amazing what happens when you give people their language back.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to David Hood,

    Nonetheless, in the early stages of government support for the preparation of Maori language materials (in the late 1950s and 1960s) perceptions of favouritism for writers from a particular dialect area provoked intense, if relatively short-lived, resentment elsewhere.

    From Language Policies in English-dominant Countries: Six Case Studies, edited by Michael L. Herriman and Barbara Burnaby page 79, found here.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    the sub-dialect of her village in the northwest of her county*. Her mother switches between and sometimes mixes the dialects of her home county (again, specific sub-dialect) and the one she married into**.

    Oops, forgot a couple of little appendices:

    *A county of roughly 300,000 people, but subtle differences in accent between east and west.
    **She's from the neighbouring county, but the two villages are only about 15km apart. The two counties have quite distinct accents, and it's clear when she's switched fully into her home county's dialect. Then last Spring Festival I was taking a carload of people up to her home village to visit her brother. As we were passing a village right on the border, but just inside our county, the talk turned to how this border village has an accent quite distinct from either our village (7ish km to the east) and the one we were heading to (7ish km to the west). How these two counties manage to maintain such clear differences in accent and dialect given their tiny populations, the long history of intermarriage between the two, and the now near total dominance of Putonghua/Standard Mandarin I don't know.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Many thanks for all links Chris.
    Our suspicion, as a tribe, was that it was Nga Puhi or Ngati Porou...we really didnt think it was the latter, because we descend from them.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    How these two counties manage to maintain such clear differences in accent and dialect given their tiny populations, the long history of intermarriage between the two, and the now near total dominance of Putonghua/Standard Mandarin I don’t know.

    Because people hear it as they take in their mother's milk?
    (Well, that's the Kai Tahu explanation - and the why of how we lost the Southern KaiTahu dialect...)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Hmmm...Higgs Boson.

    No "S" or a "B" in Maori.

    We've gone a long way from the post eh what. Aren't connections wonderful.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Islander,

    Our suspicion, as a tribe, was that it was Nga Puhi or Ngati Porou…we really didnt think it was the latter, because we descend from them.

    FWIW, I was explicitly told when learning Maori in school that we were learning the Ngati Porou dialect, but I don't know if that's a facet of the curriculum/textbooks or because our teacher was Ngati Porou.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

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