Friday, January 25, 2008

Pronouncing funny-looking Maori words


I've gathered three rules that basically have helped me pronounce just about all of the location names / animals / etc. down here in New Zealand. (Thanks to BK for the frist two.) They're pretty easy:
  1. Give each syllable with equal emphasis.
  2. Each syllable ends with a vowel.
  3. The "wh" is pronounced as an "f" (more or less).
Also, of course more info can be found at this Wikipedia page. I really like this excerpt:
"While pronunciations vary, <wh> generally denotes a bilabial fricative [ΙΈ], a sound comparable to that of an "f" articulated by putting the lips together as if to make a "w" sound"

Now you try:
Whakatane
Taumarunui
Whangamomona
Te Anau

And of course, the old favorite: Whakapapa

(The huge eyes, protruding tongue, and tattoos were used to scare other tribes in battle.)