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Grammar of the New Zealand Language

Classes of Nouns in Respect to Origin

Classes of Nouns in Respect to Origin.

Nouns in Maori may be comprised under three classes, primitive and derivative, and verbal.*

(a.) Nouns primitive are those which designate animals, plants, numbers, members of the animal body, some of the great objects of the natural world.

N.B.—It is often impossible to distinguish between primitive and derivative nouns.

(b.) Nouns derivative, which are altogether the most numerous, comprise,

1st. Nouns derived from verbs, i. e., the verb, in its simple form, used as a noun; e. g.,

  • He noho noa iho taku, it is a simple sitting of mine; I have no fixed object in stopping (here.)

  • He haere pai to haere? Is your going a good going, i. e., are you going with good intent?

(2.) Nouns derived from adjectives; e. g.,

  • He aha te pai o tena mea? what is the worth of that thing?

    * We are aware that verbal nouns should properly have been classed under derivative; but as we shall often have to speak of them as a distinct class, and as moreover they closely resemble, in some respects, the participal form of the verb, and are very frequently used instead of the finite verb itself, we have consulted our convenience in thus distingushing them.

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  • Keihea te pakaru, where is the broken place.

(3.) Nouns derived from adverbs and prepositions, e.g.

  • He kore rawa, it is nil.

  • Engari a reira e pai ana, there (or that place) is better.

  • Kua ki a roto, the inside is full. Parua a tua, coat the other side (with raupo.)

(4.) Compound Words. These are always formed by two words placed in immediate juxta-position, without any elision of either; e.g.

  • Hia kai, (desire food) hunger; mate moe, (craving sleep), sleepiness; hoa riri, (angry friend), enemy; mahi atawhai, (cherishing act, &c.) a cherishing, &c.; kai whakaako, (one that teaches) a teacher; kai whakamarie, (one that pacifies) a paeifier; tangata atua, a man having a God; tangata pakeha, a man having a European to live with him; he hunga kainga, a people having a place to reside on; ahu taonga (bent on gain) avariciousness; ahu whenua, (having the mind occupied with the earth) industriousness, or peaceableness; whenua rangatira, (a noble land, not disturbed by invasions) peace; houhanga rongo, making peace; ngakau whakakake, pride; he whare kore, (a no house) homelessness; he horoi kore (a no soap) soaplessness; whakaaro kore, thought lessness, &c

(c.) Verbal nouns are well worthy of the attention of the critical student. They are of very extensive uses in Maori, and a proper introduction of them will give animation and elegance to the sentence. The rules for their formation will be found hereafter. See verbs.

They are generally employed to denote time, place, object, means, or some accompaniment on, or relation of page 18 the act, or quality of the groand form.—Other uses of them will be mentioned in the syntax.

To set forth the various uses of the verbal noun hero would carry us beyond our limits. We shall therefore only give a few examples;—sufficient, however, we trust to lead the critical student into more extensive inquiry;

  • Ko tona moenga tena, that is where he slept.

  • Te pumautanga o te Whakaaro, the full assurance of hope; te whakangarungarunga o te wai, the troubling of the water.

  • Te peheatenga i meatia ai, the manner in which it was done.

  • Te patunga poaka, the place where the pigs are killed.

  • Kahore aku kete kumara hei whakahokinga atu mo to puka, I have no basket of kumara with which to send back, (i e., to pay for the loan of) your spade.

  • I to hanganga o te ao, when the world was made.

  • I ana inoinga, in his prayers, (i.e., when he prayed.) Ko tona kiteatanga tenei, this is the opportunity for looking for, or seeing, it.

  • To tatou nuinga, the rest of our party. I taku oranga, while I live.

Note.—Instanees will sometimes occur in which the simple root, or the verbal form, may be indifferenfly used in the sentence. The critical student, however, will generally be able to see the reason; e.g., te here o tona hu, the thong of his shoe; te herenga o tona hu, the holes, &c., by which the thong is fatened.

Proper Names should, perhaps, have been classed under the head of derivatives nouns.

They are epithets arbitrarily assumed, as among the Hebrews, from some circumstance, quality, act, or thing. Sometimes they are simple; e. g., ko te Tawa, Tawa (a tree). Sometimes compound; e. g., Tangikai, cry page 19 for food. They are generally known by a prefixed; when a is not prefixed, by the context.

Note.—Sometimes we meet with English appellatives employed as appellatives in Maori, but with the form peculiar to proper names; e. g., a mata, the mistress; a pepi, the, baby; a te kawana, the governor. These, however, must be regarded as solecisms, and as in no way supported by Maori analogy.*

We sometimes also meet with a Maori proper name employed as an appelative; i. e., If an individual of a particular district has been remarkable for any quality, his name will often be predicated of any other in whom the same feature of character is discernible: thus, Ropeti, of Waikato, was remarkable for making a great show of hospitality:—hence, to any person else who has been detected acting in a similar way, it will be said, Ko Ropeti, There is Ropeti.

As all these terms are necessarily limited in their use to a particular district, we need not notice them further.

* It is true, that we have mentioned (Chap. II. § 6 notes) a few cases which might seem to warrant such a use. But those clearly belong to different class.