Do not be surprised if the first words spoken by Kate and William Midleton’s baby is Maori. This is thanks to Mrs. Sharon Holt who sent a couple of Maori language books as a present to the royal baby that is to be born in 2013. Mrs Holt writes and publishes sing-along books that are mainly targeted towards young children with the intention of encouraging them to learn the Maori language in a fan manner through the use of songs and games. In return for her books, Mrs Holt received a letter of acceptance from the Royal couple, which stated that they were ‘touched’ by her gift.
Maori is an Austronesian language that is spoken in New Zealand or the ‘Land of the White Cloud’ and the Cook Islands by approximately 36,000 people. It is suspected that the language was introduced from Tahiti around 800 AD. Maori is closely related to the Tahitian language and Rarotongan, which is a language that is spoken in the Cook Islands. Maori speakers can also speak English. Maori has borrowed a number of words from New Zealand English. The Maori language that is spoken by most young people has been heavily influenced by English in terms of pronunciation, vocabulary and word order. Many fluent speakers of Maori are adults who are 50 years or above. There are 3 main dialects of the language. This includes the Eastern North Island dialect, South Island dialect and Western North Island dialects. The main differences between the dialects is the pronunciation of words and the vocabularies used. A fluent Maori speaker can easily understand other dialects. Maori is not that difficult to learn as basic conversational structures are not difficult.
Since 1975 New Zealanders have celebrated the National Maori week in an effort to popularize the language and keep it alive. Since the 1960s, a lot of revitalization efforts have been put in place to ensure that the language does not decline. Many people have learned Maori as a second language in primary schools, colleges, polytechnics and universities. There is also a Maori language television station. Maori is written using Roman script.