Word – kupu
An old woman walks up to a box and says “Eh, you words shouldn’t be cooped up in that box.” She opens the box and hundreds of words come out.
Sentence, Saying – rerenga kōrero
A woman reads from a piece of paper: “Rare anger, core ear? This sentence doesn’t make any sense!” The man next to her, who has apple cores for ears, gets angry. It’s a rare anger, core-ear.
Paragraph – kōwae
A boy is writing on a piece of paper, and a second boy reads the paper, and says “Paragraph, paragraph, paragraph.” The first boy says “Go away”.
Consonant – orokati
Two canoes are racing. One is covered in consonants and the other is covered in vowels. One of the rowers in the consonant canoe is a cat, and his partner says “Oh, row, catty!”
Vowel – oropuare
Two canoes are racing. One is covered in consonants and the other is covered in vowels. One of the rowers in the vowel canoe is a very wealthy-looking man, and he says to his partner “Oh, row, Poorer!”
Language – reo
A man says to a cat “Hey, do you speak human language?” The cat replies “Rrreoo!”
to spell – tātaki kupu
On a tarry road covered in tacks, there is a chicken coop. It is the tar-tacky coop. In it, the chickens are busy spelling out words.
to define, Definition – tautuhi
A schoolteacher asks a boy “Can you define the word for the class?” The boy says “Totally!”
Letter (lower case) – pūriki
A lower-case letter is being filmed doing a cooking show. It adds some meat into a frypan and say “This is the case of pork.”
Letter (upper case) – pūmatua
A bunch of upper-case letters are spectating a boxing photo shoot. The bout is between an Argentinan rugby player (a Puma) and David Tua. In upper-case letters above the shoot spell out: “P U M A – T U A”
Alphabet – arapū
A man says “Hey I composed a rap. It’s about the alphabet.” The man raps off A-B-C.
Phrase – rerenga kupu
Two men watch a chicken coop in which the chickens are angry and fighting. One says “That’s a rare anger coop.” The other says “You know the phrase: it’s a cold winter when you have a rare anger coop.”
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 2018/19.