20 Endangered Languages in 2020: 6. Māori

20 langs in 2020 6 mi

Onto language number six, and one I’ve been quite excited to get started on! I spent a little time with Māori last September (not really learning the language as much as learning about it) and I’m interested to see how much I’ll learn in the next 18 days!

What is Māori?

Māori is the language of the Māori people, the indigenous population of New Zealand. Also known as te reo, the language, it is spoken by around 150,000 people across the country, and around 55% of the Māori population say that they have some knowledge of it. It is one of New Zealand’s three official languages (alongside English and New Zealand Sign Language), which it has been since 1987. Māori traditionally had no written form but now uses the Latin alphabet, usually with macrons to represent the longer vowels.

Why did I choose Māori?

So, across New Zealand (as far as I can tell), Māori language week is celebrated every year. It’s in September and it meant that last September, I was running some social media stuff for the company I work for that also involved celebrating and promoting the language.

And it turns out Māori looks really fun! I didn’t have much time to learn any (I was busy, but also I’d been in the job for just about a month!) but resolved that I’d have a dabble at some point and see if it was for me. The time has finally come! As Māori is a Polynesian language, too, it’ll be the first time I’ve spent any real time with the language family as well.

What can I expect to achieve in 18 days?

In all honesty, my Welsh performance was a bit abysmal, so I’m planning to knuckle down for Māori. I’m at home for the time being (aren’t we all?!) so I have plenty of time to spend with the language—I’m hoping I’ll be able to have some kind of unscripted chat about myself at the end of the 18 days (as in, a bit more like I was with Scottish Gaelic, which has been my strongest attempt so far!).

What resources am I using?

And this time, I will be back in six days to share my progress!

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