20 Endangered Languages in 2020: Māori – Review


While I might not have been especially active on this blog of late, I have kept up with my endangered languages. I’ve not missed a day of studying so far this year (!!) and although I know what I’ve learnt of these languages is going to drop off quickly, I still have learnt a lot. Anyway, here’s how I got on with te reo!

First of all: I’m stopping with the videos for now. Mostly because I’ve kind of forgotten a lot (as I’m writing up these reviews a couple of months after having done my stint with the languages), but also because I think they were bound to get a bit boring at some point. Who knows, I might do a bigger round-up at the end of 2020.

But! I did have a lot of fun with Māori, although it was way harder to get resources than I thought it would be. It’s mostly because I’m outside of New Zealand (which I get), so I was scrambling around for things to use some of the time.

Oh, and here’s a little of what I learnt:

Kia ora! Ko Charlotte tōku ingoa. Nō Peretānia ahau me kei te ako ahau i te reo Māori.

What did I get done?

I covered a few topics on uTalk (and really got into it after the first few days of struggling) and also spent a fair bit of time on the Tipu app, which is great as it builds you up and goes over the vocabulary again and again – so I really could feel that I was learning it.

I spent a little bit of time on Memrise and Drops as well, though I found neither as useful as uTalk or Tipu. I also found an old blog that has lots of different resources collected by a school to continue professional development. This was great, as it meant there were some slightly more detailed grammatical explanations (though there were also some explanations in the Tipu app).

How do I feel about this language?

I really enjoyed speaking it! And I think, with the apps I used, I did spend a lot more time speaking and listening this time around, which was interesting. However, it’s definitely a language where the geographical disconnect is (obviously) very strong. I joined some groups about learning Māori on Facebook – there are plenty of learners out there! – but I’m unlikely to meet someone in person who speaks Māori unless I ever end up going to New Zealand.

However, what was interesting is the way learners and speakers of Māori incorporate kupu (words) from the language into their English sentences. I’m in lots of different language learning groups and I’ve never seen it to that extent; even in the ones where we’re all learning the same language! I would assume it’s because there are very few speakers of Māori who don’t also speak English and so, the vast majority of people learning Māori do speak English and know they will be understood doing that. I don’t know for sure of course – but what I do know is that it seems like a fun, low-stakes way to get used to using te reo.

Although it seems unlikely (at this point!) that I’ll be learning Māori in depth in the near future, I’ve really enjoyed learning it!

What about those stats?

I ended up studying Māori for 597 minutes (9.95 hours) over 18 days, averaging out to approximately 33 minutes per day.

I learnt 48 words on Memrise – but I did only do this for a few days towards the end of the time – and scored a total of 2,772 points across 14 topics on uTalk.

Here’s a breakdown of everything I tried out:

chart (13)

So, yeah, while I seemed to have about as many resources here for Māori as I’ve had for other languages, the issue for the future is that none of them are designed for long-term study leading toward fluency. Obviously, for the purposes of my study, that’s not a big deal, but it is something to bear in mind – if you’re outside of New Zealand and plan to learn Māori, you might have to hunt around to find solid, comprehensive resources.

What’s next?

British Sign Language! Obviously, as I’m writing all these up, I have already worked my way through a few of the upcoming languages (BSL, Cornish, Ojibwe…) but I was very excited to move onto this one. The intro post will be up in a couple of days, with the review not long after that.

Thanks for reading and kia koa!

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