Let’s talk about pronunciation

I had the privilege of being invited to Manurewa Central School and one of the first topics for discussion was this-correct pronunciation of te reo Māori. For so many of us we have tried unsuccessfully to pronounce te reo correctly, or perhaps felt berated for incorrect delivery. We have cultivated the fixed mindset of “I’m not a languages person”.
It gets a bit delicate when talking about pronunciation. If you make a huge deal out of incorrect pronunciation people often feel affronted. Sometimes these feelings are enough to cause one to give up and be put off even trying. If we choose to not target it, words can be misunderstood and important names of people and places have a loss of mana. 
Listen to what these rangatahi have to say about pronunciation of their names. They have some good advice for us! 
What came through clearly in our discussion was that many kaiako are so respectful of the language, that they are not wanting to mispronounce words and especially names for fear of being disrespectful. I get the feeling that in actual fact almost everybody wants to be able to speak Māori but it’s a case of where do I start and how do I do it? 
I think as Kaiako we are in a perfect situation of being a learner alongside other learners. The big advantage in teaching te reo is that you can learn by teaching. For me planning and delivering lessons was the most effective way of accelerating my reo. So, to begin with, we need the right mindset.

As simple as growth mindset is, it continues to be my approach to learning. 

To me it’s like a proven trusted path to follow. You just simply stay in the waka and keep going, learning along the way!
“Pai tū pai hinga nāwai rā ka oti” Brush yourself off when you make a “mistake” and haere tonu…keep going. Get back on track.
If we as kaiako tell our ākonga that “mistakes are opportunities for learning” and “effort will make all the difference” we too can model that in our learning.

The next step is having some resources. These could be other kaiako, websites, waiata, recordings, Tōku reo, He reo tupu he reo ora.
Let’s start with this great website. It is from Otago University and it has sound bites for  vowels, consonants and diphthongs (vowel blends). Just select a male or female voice and fire away! Once you get those vowel sounds correct you’re three quarters of the way there. Te reo is so consistent with it’s sounds.
Of course there is no going past our good old tried and trusted waiata 
a ha ka ma na to practice those rhyming sounds.
Then you may like to share this cool little waiata with your tamariki or staff.
Ki mai māori, ki mai…. (say it to me in Māori) Kia ora Springston tube!

To practice some important kupu here is another fab website with sound bites. It includes the 100 Māori words every New Zealander should know. 
The trickiest vowel blend for most new learners seems to be the “au” blend which sounds like the letter o. Luckily for us there is an amazing little waiata written by Pita Sharples called “Ka tangi te kurī e”. The waiata can be found on TKI “Hei waiata hei whakakoakoa” scroll down that page and its number 12. Also Miss Ogle whoever you are, wherever you are, thank you for uploading all these waiata on Youtube. (Ngā mihi nunui ki a koe)

Whakarongo click here to listen to this little wai.
Here is a link for this waiata (ppt) for you to download. There are some questions to ask your tamariki. (Try to always have a question to ask from newly acquired knowledge)
He aha te tangi a te kurī? (What is the cry of the dog?)
For you QR coders, the tamariki can scan and sing the waiata from their device.
What I love about waiata is that the tamariki can learn by listening without us having to learn then teach the waiata and they are hearing correct pronunciation.

QR code for “Ka tangi te kurī e” then press the underlined first line of the waiata 


OK so we’re getting somewhere.
Scotty Morrison has a good little pukapuka “Māori Made Easy”
He has these Youtube clips to help with the pronunciation of some well known words. Even if these are words you are not ready to use yet, it is good to get your ear attuned to the rhythm and intonation of this beautiful language.

Instead of snuggling up with netflix  on a Friday night there are some lovely episodes of Waka huia (with subtitles) that you can watch.
This post is definitely a “to be continued…..” post.
Do you know of any helpful websites to add to these? Let me know if you find these links helpful. (In the comments below)
Kia pai te rā ki a koutou!
Ngā mihi

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