Te Reo With Mnemonics: Head Words

Beard – paihau

A man with a really long beard keep talking and talking, so a woman grabs it, stuffs it into his mouth and says “Shut your pie hole!”

Chin – kauae

A man with an enormous chin keeps tapping on a woman’s shoulder. She turns around and says “Go away!”

Ear – taringa

A woman is wearing massive hooped earrings, when a car drives past, throwing up a chunk of tar onto her. On her ears are tar rings.

Eye – karu

A car opens up its headlights and instead of lights there are eyes there.

Face – kanohi

A man in a canoe paddles down a river, but the canoe gets stuck on the giant stone face of a moai in the current.

Forehead – rae

A man is praying on his knees when a ray of light bursts through the clouds and strikes his forehead.

The Maori word for forehead – rae – sounds like the English ‘ray’ as in ‘ray of light’

Hair – makawe

A man with incredible hair sits on a chair, as part of a contest. A woman walks up to him with a pen and clipboard and asks if she can mark his hair. “Mark away,” he replies.

Head – mātenga

At K-Mart, two disembodied heads get into an argument. The heads are exhibiting mart anger.

Lip – ngutu

A trendy-looking woman stretches out her lip and plays it like a banjo. To a nearby journalist, she says “It’s the thing to do!”

Mouth – māngai

An artist sits at a desk, practising how to draw mouths in the Japanese manga style.

Neck – kakī

A solider dressed in khaki has a neck that stretches high into the air.

Nose – ihu

A man walks up to a busker and, out of his nose, deposits a number of coins into the busker’s hat. Then he says “He who pays the piper calls the tune.”

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The above is an excerpt from the upcoming Learn Maori Vocabulary With Mnemonics, by Jeff Ngatai, due to be published by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2017/18.

Te Reo With Mnemonics: Travel Words

Boat – waka

Sailing through the ocean, impossibly managing to stay afloat, is a boat made of wicker.

Car – motokā

A woman drives out of a garage in a car. Then a man asks his son where the car is. The son replies “Ma took it.”

Bicycle – paihikara

A woman rides a bicycle past a line of noisy picketers.

Plane – manurere

An aeroplane crashes into a gigantic pile of horse manure.

Motorcycle – motopāika

A knight rides a motorcycle as if it was a jousting horse, only instead of a lance he has a pike. He is the motor piker.

drive – taraiwa

A man drives his car at different speeds along a road. Then he comes to a woman holding a bunch of ice-creams. “Try one,” she says.

The Maori word for aeroplane – manurere – shares a m-n-r pattern with the English word ‘manure’

arrive – whakaeke

A man walks through an arrivals hall at an airport. People keep offering him eggs. When he gets to the front of the queue, he knocks one egg away and says “Fuck eggs!”

depart – haere atu

A king and his retinue walk into a cannabis cafe. They get so high that they float off the ground, departing from the Earth entirely. They have departed because they are the high retinue.

Welcome – pōwhiri

A ferry full of very poor looking people arrives at a wharf. It is the poor ferry. The passengers disembark under a large “Welcome” sign.

Goodbye (to one going) – haere rā

A lion leaves its pride and climbs halfway up a mountain. Then it turns back and, to say goodbye, lets out a roar from up there. It is a higher roar.

Travel – haerere

A man is showing a slideshow of travel photos from all around the world. In them, the man appears to be very hairy.

Adventure – mātātoa

A backpacker climbs up through a bizarrely constructed building, and it looks adventurous. As they pass a dangerous-looking chunk of porcelain, the guide in front of him says “Mind the toilet”.

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The above is an excerpt from the upcoming Learn Maori Vocabulary With Mnemonics, by Jeff Ngatai, due to be published by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2017/18.

Te Reo With Mnemonics: Nature Words

Wind/Breeze – mātangi

A roaring gust of wind pulls up into the shape of a wild mustang.

Cloud – kapua

A mist floats through a section, and when it reaches the owner’s carport underneath their house it condenses into a cloud.

shine (Sun) – whiti

Thousands of rays of light burst out of the face of the Sun, and each of the rays has a foot at the end of it. The sunshine is very feety.

Sky – rangi

A man puts a phonecall through to someone. In the sky, another man picks up a phone made of clouds and says “You rang?”

Star – whetū

In the night-time sky, a star unwraps a block of feta cheese and starts eating it.

River – awa

An explorer stops by a river to get a drink of water, when an arrow lands in the water beside him.

The Maori word for mountain – maunga – shares a m-ng- pattern with the English word mango

Mountain – maunga

From the precipice of a craggy mountain, an avalanche of mangos roll down the cliff face.

Moon – marama

In the night-time sky, shining down in the place of the Moon is the face of Marama Davidson (if you don’t know who she is, imagine the Moon’s face is smeared with marmite).

Storm/stormy – tūpuhi

Seen from an inside window, a storm sets in, so bad that it blows a man’s toupee off his head.

Thunder – whaitiri

A skyful of clouds emits a peal of thunder and then, out of the clouds, comes a squadron of fighter planes.

Land – whenua

A Land Rover drives across a wide range of different landscapes, then hits a rock and damages its fender.

Rain – ua(-ina)

It starts raining. Instead of raindrops, weiner sausages fall from the sky.

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The above is an excerpt from the upcoming ‘Learn Maori Vocabulary With Mnemonics‘, by Jeff Ngatai, due to be published by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2017/18.

Te Reo With Mnemonics: Food Words

to bite – ngau(-a)

A man pulls up a pile of food from a hangi, and starts to gnaw on a meaty bone.

to eat – kai(-nga)

A man dressed as a king sits down in front of a hangi and starts eating the food there.

to chew – ngaungau(-a)

Watching through a pair of binoculars, a policeman sees a teenage girl put a piece of gum in her mouth and start chewing. The policeman picks up his radio and shouts “Now! Now!” as if orchestrating a hostage rescue.

bitter – pūkawa

A cow takes a bite of a flower and its facial expression shows intense bitterness; then it defecates. The bitter taste caused a poo cow.

sweet – reka

On a pile of junked cars and vans at a wrecker‘s yard, a young boy sits and eats sweets, ice-creams and chocolates.

to feed – kainga

Two boys are playing checkers. One moves a piece to the far side and says “King me!” His opponent picks up the board and feeds it to him.

The word ‘tower’ and the Maori word for flavour, tāwara, share a t-w-r- sound

Flavour – tāwara

A teenage boy walks up to a teetering tower made of salami. He takes a bite out of it, and then says “This tower is tower-flavoured.”

Food – kai

A woman walks into a grocery store to buy some food. Instead of regular food, the shelves are full of keys of all descriptions.

fresh – mata

A matador walks up to a table full of food. Under his breath, he mutters “Fresh? Is this food fresh? Fresh enough?”

hunger/hungry – hiakai

Hercules sit does in front of a meal with a rumbling stomach. He tucks into the food in a way that shows a striking level of hunger.

taste – rongo

A man watches as a woman takes a bite out of an apple. She says “It tastes like banana.” “Wrong!” the man replies.

thirst/thirsty – hiainu

Through the bars of a prison cell, a prisoner says to a guard “I’m dying of thirst in here.” The guard replies “A fitting punishment for your heinous crimes.”

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The above is an excerpt from the upcoming ‘Learn Maori Vocabulary With Mnemonics‘, a book by Jeff Ngatai.

Learn Maori Vocabulary With Mnemonics

Leading up the Southern Summer Solstice of 2017, VJM Publishing will be co-operating with Jeff Ngatai to put together a book about learning the vocabulary of Te Reo Maori by using mnemonics.

A follow up to our 2012 publication Learn Spanish Vocabulary With Mnemonics, this book will essentially seek to achieve the same goal: to help native speakers of English learn another language as efficiently as possible.

A mnemonic is a way of arranging information so that, when you learn it, it is much easier to remember. An example of a mnemonic is the fictional boy’s name ROY G. BIV – not a real name but if you can remember it you can remember red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet: the colours of the rainbow.

Mnemonics were used by ancient Greek and Roman statesmen to memorise the 20 or 30-minute speeches that they were forced to give in order to prove their mental competence to govern.

Used skillfully, they are capable of rapidly increasing the speed at which a student can learn a set body of information as well as the length of time that the body of information can be remembered before it starts to degrade.

A common way to use a mnemonic to learn a piece of foreign language vocabulary is to imagine a scene, as realistically as possible, replete with sights and smells and sounds.

There must be something about the scene that links the sound of the word that you are trying to learn with the word in English, so that the two of them become associated in your memory (associative learning is the basis of mnemonics).

If you wanted to learn that the Swedish word for ‘table’ is ‘bord’ you can imagine a man sitting at a table with his head in one hand, looking bored. Once you associate the sight of the table with the word ‘bored’ you have also associated table with the similar-sounding ‘bord’.

An example of a mnemonic to learn Maori language vocabulary might be as follows.

Let’s say you want to learn that the word for ‘man’ is ‘tane’. You might imagine yourself peering into a fog and seeing a fleeting shape. The shape takes the form of a man, and you hear him speak in a man’s voice.

It is definitely a man – and then the fog clears more and you see that the man was Tony Soprano (if you don’t know who Tony Soprano is, imagine that man is anyone else you know named Tony).

If you need to remember the name for ‘man’ at any point, this mnemonic should help your subconscious mind recall the link between the idea of ‘man’ and a sound similar to ‘Tony’ – and so you should remember that the translation is ‘tane’.

All of the mnemonics in the upcoming book Learn Maori Vocabulary With Mnemonics are of this kind: a simple, powerful visual image that makes a phonetic connection between a word in English and its translation in Te Reo Maori.

Starting tomorrow, this website will start to present short lists of English-Maori mnemonics that are excerpts from the upcoming book.