Friday, November 21, 2008

Kapai goes Jet boating

Kapai by Uncle Anzac. The Kapai books are a compilation of author Jon Gadsby.

I bought this book to read to my children. We have been on these jet boats near Whakatane and in Queenstown.

In Maori, ka pai means great; good; well done

It's kapai that everyday English chat is peppered with te reo

By Jon Stokes

Kiwi-speak isn't pakaru, despite the mutterings of some waka-jumpers who korero on the kumara vine.

In fact, New Zealand's language is just kapai, says Victoria University linguistic and applied language expert John Macalister, who believes the frequency of Maori words in everyday conversations is likely to surprise some people.

His new book, the Dictionary of Maori Words in New Zealand English, goes on sale this week.

And, while many are words describing indigenous flora and fauna and place names, he believes the use of descriptive words - aroha, hikoi, kapai, koha, whanau and tangi, for example - is becoming more common.

"Typically nouns are what we borrow from other languages, but there are words, such as pakaru, a transliteration of buggered, hapu, waka, mana, kia ora, and waiata.

"Some of the more descriptive words are hybrid forms, like waka-jumper, mana-muncher."

The dictionary identifies more than 1000 Maori words that are in common use - about six of every 1000.

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