Saturday, 14 February 2009

Mac-ing about with Māori macrons

In New Zealand Māori language plays a large part of our curriculum being one of our official languages and part of our cultural identity as New Zealanders regardless of race. Māori however uses macrons to indicate long vowels which are essential for correct pronunciation. Up until today I have been typeing without them and just adding the macrons in later (when I remembered) with a pen. As a beginning teacher I was lucky enough to get my first Apple Mac and have discovered that Mac's are all set up for easy use of macrons. The University of Otago site provides an excellent and easy to follow guide to setting up the use of macrons on your computer. Click here to go to their site. This site also provides instructions for setting up macrons on a PC.

What I found interesting is that the language icon that appears on the top right hand of your screen is the flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand, the first flag of New Zealand adopted on 9 March 1834 and was a symbol of the independence declared by the Māori chiefs. This is from Wikipedia, but I have found the same reference from other sources.

Another useful Māori resource is the online Ngata Māori / English dictionary. This can be used by teachers and students to work on dictionary and Māori knowledge at the same time.