Art. VI.—The Maori Language, with Remarks on the Reform of English Spelling.
I Use, for illustration, the vowels as generally pronounced in Italian, German, Spanish, excluding the French modifications. In a reform of the English alphabet it is difficult to say how to express the sound of the English e, the Continental i. This latter vowel is so much used in English, in such words as tin, sin, &c., that it would be difficult to establish as e, and therefore, perhaps, the German ie will be preferable for the purpose.
I use the German diphthongs au, ai, ei, iu. Italian, I think, has no diphthongs, the vowels in that language are all pronounced separately. I have used ae to represent the English a, as in fate. This is perhaps non-phonetic, but it is in accordance with Teutonic usnge; a has always the broad sound, as in man.
I have used ao to represent the English aw, as in law, but I am inclined to think that it would be better to adopt for this purpose what appears to be the Dutch plan, viz., aa.
It is sometimes inconvenient to use the German ie to represent the English e, as for instance, in Scripture names. In those cases I have retained i alone.
It is a matter for congratulation that, whoever reduced the Maori tongue into a written language, has avoided the absurd attempt to adopt it to English vowel sounds, and has adopted the Continental vowel system and pronunciation. The Maori language has, in consequence, assumed a form and appearance of structure and of culture which would have been lost had the English system prevailed, and the result is, that the moment a page 47 word in the language is seen, its pronunciation is at once apparent.
If we compare this system with that which was formerly in vogue when English orthography was applied to the names of persons and places in India, native names in Australia, and also in America, we may perceive at a glance the advantages gained by the practice adopted with reference to the Maori language.
In reading most books upon India, it is almost impossible for a person uninitiated in the native tongues to tell the sounds of the native names and designations. Thus we find the two chief tribes of Afghanistan described as the Barukzye and the Sud-dozye. When spelt Barukzai and Suddozai the pronunciation is obvious, but as they stand in the previous orthography there is an uncertainty about the sound, inasmuch as the letter y is pronounced in English in several different ways. The name of the kingdom of Oude is almost invariably pronounced wrongly by outsiders, as the spelling and the pronunciation are so inconsistent. One of the most irritating words, to my mind, in this orthography is sepoy, which is a barbarous corruption of sipahi, a foot soldier. In the English form the word has a ludicrous appearance.*
The other day, in an Indian work of merit, I came across the words eui hye; now who can tell, except he is told by an expert, what to make of this? Pronounce the words to a Maori, and he would at once write down kuai hai, about the sound of which there would be no mistake, Brandee pawnee low, a sentence which formerly was much heard in India, looks barbarous enough; a Maori would put it down as Parani paoni law, which looks civilized.
The orthography of native names in Australia has similar defects to those above described in India, chiefly caused by making the letter i stand for the diphthong ai. Thus we find Koraio spelt Corio; Bulai, Bulli; Molonyulai, Molonyulli; Merai, Merri. This blunder is not constant, however, for we find Gun-dagai spelt correctly.
In Fiji, and at the Cape of Good Hope, we find fanciful spelling. In the former we find c represents th, and 0 stands for om. Thus Thakombau is spelt Cacobau. In South Africa we find Ketchwayo spelt Cetewayo; Etchowe, Ekowe. This style is provoking, as apparently meant to puzzle people, without sense or reason. The result is that these names are generally pronounced wrongly.
One peculiarity the English have is in vulgarizing names. The King Kaofi Kalkali, of Ashanti, is reduced to Coffee Calcalee, although his name has doubtless nothing to do with coffee; the page 48 corn fodder of South Africa is spelt mealies, although not ground into meal, and milis would be the correct term. Various plants pass under the name of tea tree, including the ti (Cortyline australis) of New Zealand. The name of the old town of Aymouth is changed to Eyemouth, and Tung we find as Tongue. The euphonious name of the Pass of Branda is changed into Brander, giving one a suspicion of cooking. The names of the Irish towns, Tallogh and Mallogh, are changed into Tallow and Mallow from the dropping of the gutteral; but why not Tallo and Mallo. The w is of no use, but vulgarises the names by suggesting common articles. In Stanley's work, "How I found Livingstone," I find the word Seedy for Sidi, the name of a very useful tribe of negroes, many of the race being employed as firemen in the P. and O. steamers. There is no reason to suppose that they are of drunken habits, but the English spelling conveys that idea.
It was curious at the time of the war in Afghanistan to see the puzzle of the London newspapers, as to the spelling the name of the ruler of that State. His right name being Shir Ali, had been Frenchified into Shere Ali; and when a fort had to be named after him, instead of reverting to the correct name of Shir, they made the name Sherpur, "the town or fort of Shir Ali." A man must be very vowel deaf indeed who cannot see that this must alter the whole sound of the word.
Various attempts are now being made to reform the orthography of the English language by the Americans, and by the Spelling Reform Association and others in England.
In neither case are the results scientific or satisfactory.
The Americans seem to think that the main point to be attained lies in shortening the words, by omitting unnecessary consonants; the English by stereotyping existing sounds.
The English and American ears have become in a manner deaf to the true value of the vowel sounds, and require preliminary instruction before undertaking the reform.
Thus, by the American plan, by leaving out one l in such words as spelling, shilling, willing, &c., we should soon, with the defective ear, get to the following changes in pronunciation, viz:—speling, spieling; shilling, shailing; willing, nailing. Another American change is spelling plough as plow, which is non-phonetic and objectionable; ow is a barbarous way of rendering what can be better done by au; besides which it is discredited for the purpose, as we have bow = ban and bo; row = rau and ro; stow = sto, &c.
So much for American innovations. The English idea seems to be to stereotype all the defective sounds at present existing, and apparently in the interests of the South of England and the Cockney dialect, ignoring the North. Thus we should soon lose the broad a and the sound of the letter r. A notable instance of page 49 the latter is the proposal to render father and farther equally by fadha.
The most provoking thing in the interests of spelling reform is that men of the highest education in England are as unconscious of the defects in scientific orthography as the most ignorant of the people. Until they awake to a sense of the incongruity there is little hope of a reform in the right direction. Thus we hear Ismailia, Port Said, &c., pronounced in the French fashion, which is altogether wrong, either with reference to the diphthong or to the Arabic name. We have Aeden for Aden, Gaol for Point-de-Galle, Aethos for Athos. We may hear Mehemet Ali called Mihimet Aelai; although, strange to say, Pacha is not yet converted into Paechne. We find Lima called Laima; Rio, Raio; and even Panama, Paenaema. Lately I heard a learned archdeacon, who had travelled in the East, talk of Baeaelbec, unconscious that the double a should give an extra breadth to the sound.
At the time of the Crimean war, we used to hear of Bisaika Bay for Besika Bay, Skiuterai for Scutari, &c. On one occasion on returning from Lake Taupo, a well-known New Zealand statesman, an M.A. of Oxon, in a conversation we had together respecting the interior of the island, insisted on giving the French sound to the word Taupo, as if an represented the same sound as awe in English. I objected. He said, "I pronounce it as spelt, and I object to the foreign spelling of the Maori language." I replied, "How then would you spell Taupo in English fashion?" He said "Towpo." My reply was, "That would in English make the word sound Topo, although a Scotchman might probably hit upon the correct pronunciation."
A Saturday Reviewer lately objected to the spelling of Hawaii, preferring Captain Cook's orthography of Owhyhee. There is no accounting for taste; but the Hawaian language has been brought into a phonetic orthography, and Hawaii is the name of the island, and of the kingdom, which Owhyhee as usually pronounced is not; but if we accent Owhyhee thus, we arrive very nearly at the sound of Hawaii.
|1.||The peculiar sounds given to the vowels in the English alphabet.|
|2.||The adoption of a peculiar mode of pronouncing Latin, and also of Scripture names.|
|3.||The introduction of a number of French words into the language, which are sometimes pronounced in French, in others in English, fashion.|
|4.||The small attention which is paid in England to the study of other foreign languages than French.|
The first-named reason has probably been the cause of all the rest. The child is taught that a = ae; no broad a is taught. e = i, or German ie.
i is a diphthong = ai.
o, as in other European languages; but in practice has several sounds.
it, also a diphthong = iu.
y = uai.
Thus we find three diphthongs represented by i, u, and y three diphthongs in six letters. No other European language, that I know of, represents diphthongs by vowels. It is unfortunate that the broad a is not represented in the English alphabet, the child being taught that a = ae; the consequence is that in these days of education ae is rapidly taking the place of a. I lately heard a newsboy in London calling " Staendard." I find bass (fish), in the West of England called baess. At a meeting of a scientific society, I heard basalt called baesaolt. I was almost tempted to ask whether the lecturer was talking about bay-salt. It is a curious fact that when the letter a appears twice in an English word it is rarely pronounced the same way in both instances. One letter is a, the other ae: as in passage, passaege; facilitate, facilitaete. Often the change goes in the other direction. Thus we hear Garibaldi called Garibaoldi; Gibraltar, Gibraoltar; Malta, Maolta: malt, maolt; halt, haolt.
The introduction of French sounds into a Teutonic language has made great mischief. These in question are non-phonetic, and unsuited to the character of the English language. Thus, in French we have mais = mes, tais = tes; and we have introduced the same sound into English, as in tail, which to adapt to Teutonic spelling we should write tael; tailor, taelor; nail, nael; sail, sael.
Then au in French is sometimes equal to o, and at others to ao: as Pan = Po, maurais = move, maure = maor. We find the latter sound in English in Paul, maul, haul, &c.; whereas, phonetically, we ought to employ an to stand for such words as ow in how. and so accommodate to Teutonic spelling.
On the other hand, we have such French words as invite, divide, to which we have given English sounds. How to deal with them is one of the most puzzling things in spelling reform. If the spelling is altered phonetically, it takes the word away from its derivation; and the question is, whether a change back to the French sound can be brought about.
Then we have from the French the words ending in turn, such as attention, promotion. The French sound of tion is peculiar, something between sion and siong. The English shorten this into shun, which hideous termination the spelling reformers propose to adopt. I am inclined to say with Lord Melbourne, page 51 "Can't you let it alone;" but if a change is to be made, I would suggest stow. The admixture of French words has been most damaging to the reform of English orthography.
The English mode of pronouncing Scriptural names no doubt has come about from the mode of pronouncing Latin. It is melancholy to see the loss of euphony which is brought about by this plan. I call to mind the archdeacon, with ore rotundo giving out the text from Aisaiah, without the smallest conception that i and ai should have a different sound. When I hear Hebrew words pronounced from the pulpit in English style the effect on my mind is neither sacred nor solemn, but, on the contrary, ludicrous. When I hear Sinai called Sainaeai, the effect passes the ludicrous, and the speaker seems silly. It is surely too bad to burlesque sacred things from the pulpit. There would really be no difficulty in bringing about a correct pronunciation of Scripture names. Forty years ago everyone in church responded Aemen. The High Church decided upon Amen, and it has carried the day.
The spelling reformers would retain the present absurd pronunciation of Scripture names and alter the spelling. Thus Isaac is to be changed to Eisak; it should more properly be Aisak. Abraham is to become Aebraham.
If anyone cannot see the loss of force and of cadence which the English pronunciation of Scripture names involves, he must be very deficient in perception.
It is astonishing what small attention is given in England to the study of the Teutonic languages in comparison with that devoted to French. No doubt more attention has of late been given to the study of German, but few know anything of Dutch or Danish, languages closely related to English. I do not remember ever meeting an Englishman who spoke Dutch, except my own father, and he learnt it almost accidentally when commanding a frigate for several years off Java and in the Eastern Archipelago. I would strongly recommend every spelling reformer to read up Dutch and Danish, as well as German, and then he would see the correct lines to go upon.
I think it was Huxley who told the parsons to read up biology before he would take the trouble to argue with them. An English spelling reformer must remain thoroughly incompetent until he has obtained some knowledge of the other Teutonic languages.
Great uncertainty of pronunciation is caused by the use of the letter y, it having in English two different sounds. In the Scandinavian languages it seems to represent the sound of the English e, the y grec, and therefore we get an idea of how Danish names in England such as Whitby, Appleby, &c., should be pronounced. As pronounced in English there is a loss of euphony. Thus if we take the name of an island in the Eastern page 52 Archipelago commonly spelt by the English Rally, and substitute for this Bali, we gain much in euphony. We might apply this to Baliniahon for Ballymahon, Balishannon for Bally-shannon, &c. The use of y as representing the diphthong ai or uai ought to be abolished.
The change to a correct pronunciation of Latin is sometimes opposed, because people cannot decide upon the Latin pronunciation of the consonants, cannot settle whether or not Cicero is to be called Sisero or Kikero, Csesar or Kaisar. Probably, like the Italians, the Romans pronounced c soft before e and i, and hard before the other vowels. Thus Kaisar would be correct, and Kikero wrong. Now this is matter of comparatively little con-sequence, and might be left alone; but no doubt the English do make a mess of the consonants as well as of the vowels. Thus, in German we hear them call Schwalbach, Swalback, Schlangen-bad, Slangenbad: and when the tourists go to the Highlands in autumn what a burlesque they make of the Celtic names !
The effect of the degradation of the letter a to the inferior sound of ae is to eliminate the basso sounds from the language, and the result is similar to that which would be produced in an opera if all the basso sounds were omitted.
The tendency also to reduce the sound of r to a minimum, particularly in the South of England, diminishes the force of the language. Thus, what must a Roman think when an Englishman calls him a womaeno, with a faint approach to a roll in the middle of the w? Or imagine an Englishman in the days of Lord Palmerston proclaiming himself, in the English fashion, "Saivis womaenus sum."' The force of the expression has evaporated in the feeble and effeminate pronunciation.
For the sake of force, also, it may be regretted that the English have dropped all the strong gutturals, as in such words as light, might, which still retain their old sounds in broad Scotch. With regard to the word height, the Americans give us an excellent illustration of a step in the wrong direction by changing the spelling to hight, thereby converting a diphthong into a vowel. Instead of this they ought to change might, right, &c., into meight, reight. The gh in these words are now of no use, but they do no harm, and serve to show where the gutturals once existed.
I must confess to a liking for strong gutturals. What force there is in such words as Junta, Xeres, Ojos, in Spanish, where the j and the x have the sound of the Scotch or German ch: or, in Arabic, of Hassan, Achmet, Bahr, Mahmoud, wherein the h is pronounced as a very deep guttural. How much force Spanish gains over its sister language, Italian, from which gutterals have been entirely eliminated.
Many tourists may remember John Campbell, who drove the coach from Loch Goil Head to St. Catherine's, in Loch page 53 Fyne, and who kept his passengers in roars of laughter during the journey, chiefly from imitations of Cockney tourists. One of his stories was of a Cockney, in affected tones, asking: "Coachman, which is the way to Straechur?" the ch pronounced soft; "Strachūrr, Sir, I suppose you mean."
When an Englishman is remonstrated with on his pronunciation of the name of a foreign place, he is apt to say, "Would you pronounce such names as Paris and Calais as the French do?" This shows a want of appreciation of the point. Pronouncing the s in Paris and Calais is quite legitimate, as bringing the names into reasonable accord with English; but if we should say Paeris or Paerais, or Caelais, in accordance with what is often done, the damage is evident. A single vowel ought never to be employed to express a diphthongal sound. We must not have i to represent ai, nor u, iu. In English ew is used to represent iu in mew, pew, stew, new: consequently we find this clumsy arrangement applied to Tewfik, which ought to be spelt Tiufik.
One may hear educated Englishmen say that every nation has its own way of pronouncing Latin. This, as an excuse for English pronunciation of that language, is nonsense. Each foreign nation makes some slight variation, but each has fixity within its own lines. Thus we know how an Italian pronounces u, and how a Frenchman modifies the sound; but it is not varied within the nation. In English Latin no one can tell how u or any other vowel, is to be pronounced. The English are generally supposed to be sensitive to a sense of the ridiculous; but how an educated Englishman can venture to quote Latin in the presence of a foreigner baffles comprehension. The effect must be inexpressibly ludicrous, on the supposition that the foreigner can comprehend the utterance. Possibly he takes it for some unintelligible gibberish. The difficulty of teaching a correct pronunciation of Latin lies with the masters. I remember the attempt being made at a New Zealand College, but the false system had become so engrained in the masters that they seemed incapable of throwing it off. One of them, a graduate of Cambridge, told me that they had improved ego into eggo! Out of the frying-pan into the fire. If the masters once learnt their business there would be no difficulty with the pupils.
The Latin of any Continental nation is understood by the scholars of any other: that of the English is intelligible to none.
One point in the reform of English spelling is very important, and would tend to obviate many changes. This is, instead of altering the spelling, to revert to a correct pronunciation. Apart from such matters as the pronunciation of Scripture names, I would instance such words as natal, fatal. Instead of altering the spelling to naetal, foetal, would it not be much better to pronounce them correctly, with the broad a. It is page 54 only a question of teaching the teachers. The mind of the child is a blank board, ready to take in whichever sound is given; and if the teachers knew their business, there would be no difficulty with the children.
It is much to be desired that the Americans should go hand- in-hand with the English in a reform of the spelling of the language. It will be a misfortune if the two nations diverge in their orthography. The English are more in contact with foreign nations, and therefore, in this respect, more favourably placed for effecting a reform. On the other hand the Americans have a large German population; and if they would humble themselves to admit the defect in ear, which they have in common with the English, and call in some Germans to their help, they might lead the way, and the English would be obliged to follow. They have also got Mark Twain, and if he took the matter up he would carry it to successful issue. His observations on the defects of German grammar show that he would be equally alive to those of English orthography. In the meantime the American attempts at reform are possibly mischievous, and certainly useless, and as much may be said of many of the English propositions. I would advise the Americans to spell Ohio and Iowa, as Ohaio and Aiowa. This would point to the direction in which reform should go.
|1.||The language should be thrown into gear with those of Northern, Central, and Southern Europe.|
|2.||English, being a Teutonic language, should, as far as possible, be brought into accord with German and Dutch, as also Scandinavian.|
|3.||As a preliminary step in the reform, the classical languages, particularly Latin, should be pronounced as in German and Italian, &c.|
|4.||Scriptural names should be pronounced as on the Continent, and the spelling left unchanged.|
And now a few remarks with regard to the deterioration of the Maori language may not be amiss. This language has been reduced to a correct orthography; but emigrants arrive from England who know nothing of it, and who have been taught Latin in the English style. They at once begin to spoil the names of places. Thus Ti nui, the big ti or cabbage tree, becomes Tenui, literally the big, which is senseless. Pitone, or Pita-one, the end of the beach, becomes Petone, without meaning. Titahi, bay, becomes Tetai, Taitai, sometimes Teti. Ohiro becomes Ohairo, and so on.
Apart from mispronunciation or mis-spelling of Maori, the English dialect that is developing in Australasia is not satisfactory. The tendency is to a modification of Cockney. Thus we generally hear "I seen him" for "I saw him," which is certainly page 55 queer grammar; but sometimes this is diversified by "I saur 'im." As expletives, "My word" and " No fear" are favourites, both drawn out as long as possible. The letter h is frequently treated in Cockney fashion, i.e., omitted where it should be pronounced, and put in where not wanted.
I have often observed in London Colonial newspapers complaints of the use of Maori names, as being unpronounceable, &c. Considering that the Maori language is softer than Italian, this shows how much the writers know of what they are writing about. I should strongly object to displace the soft, easily pronounced, and generally descriptive Maori names, by the Belle-vues, Mounts Brown, or Smith, or Jones, or other names showing the poverty of the English language for nomenclature. Compare the Spanish language for this purpose. Masafuero, the name of a small island outside Juan Fernandez, means literally more far, or farther off. Expressed in English the name would never do, whereas in Spanish it is sonorous and euphonious. Similarly Cape Cow's Tongue will not answer, whereas Cabo Lengua de Vaea is euphonious and appropriate. Even in Great Britain the old Celtic names are generally the best, and have more poetic meanings than the more homely names of the Sassenach, such as Pitmuis, "the field of blood," Kilkiaran or Kilkerran, "the cell of Kiaran," &c.
The sound of the letter s has been very often changed in English to that of z, as in is, iz; was, waz. The spelling reformers would change all these into z. Cannot the original sound be reverted to? In phonetic printing the frequent occurrence of z looks hideous, almost as bad as shun.
Some persons may say, Why should we object to the French sounds in the language and prefer the Teutonic ? The reply is easy: English is a Teutonic language, and although it has borrowed many words from French, it can under no circumstances be converted into a Romance language; besides the French sounds are non-phonetic—as such they do not do the same mischief in French as in English, because in the former language the sound is nearly constant, whereas in the latter it is arbitrary and variable.
Certainly the pronunciation of French words is peculiar. We find eau, eaux, au, aux, all = 0; beau = bo, peau, pôt = po, maux = mo, faux = fo, chateau, chato. We adopt some of these words into English and call beau, bo; but beauté we call biuty. Beatily (firth), we call Biuly. Then the French call comment, commong; vraiment, vraimong; appartient, appartieng; proportion, proporshiong; maison, maesong; bon, bong: mauvais, movae; suis, sui; es and est, ae; sommes, som; êtes, net; sont, song. This is not the language on which English orthography should be reformed. It is essentially a Latin patois, the rule being to cut off the final syllable of Latin, thus: Rome for Roma; bon for bonus.page 56
French is the foreign language which is most taught in England. The consequence is that Englishmen suppose there is no such thing as a phonetic language. If German, Italian, and Spanish were more taught they would learn to understand the subject.
A few more peculiarities of English present themselves. Cacao we spell cocoa, and pronounce coco. Bilbao used to be, and often is still, spelt Bilboa. Kakatua we spell and pronounce cockatoo. The name has nothing to do with a cock; the bird may be a hen. Kaka is the generic name for parrot among many languages of the East, and kakatua is that of the par-ticular family.
Chinchona we spell cinchona, and generally pronounce as if it were an Italian word. The name, if Spanish, was derived from that of the Countess Chinchon, wife of the Captain-General of Peru, and ch in Spanish is always soft, as it is generally in English. There is, no doubt, the authority of Linnaeus for cinchona, but he evidently made a mistake in this name.
In the first attempt of a child to speak he says ba, and this whether he is of English or any other race. When the child grows up and goes to school we tell him that a = ae, and therefore that ba ought to be bae. Luckily he knows better, he has found out by instinct that ba is ba, and not bae. Afterwards he learns to say papa and mamma, and notwithstanding the teachings of his alphabet, he does not call them paepae and maemae. Advancing in age he speaks of his father, not faether; although, strange to say, the Scotch adopt the latter sound, contrary to their usual habit of broadening the vowel a.
In these days of æstheticism it is utterly impossible that the orthography of the English language can remain long in its present barbarous and almost ludicrous state, but the change to a more correct system must be brought about by real linguists and men of taste, men who thoroughly underhand the Teutonic languages—not only German, but Dutch, Flemish, and the allied Scandinavian tongues. Until some result is arrived at by men of the above-named qualifications, it would be much better for both English and Americans to desist from any premature changes.
It appears to me to be a misfortune that the Teutonic name berg, mountain, should have been lost to the English language, except in iceberg, and the Romance names mount, mountain, substituted. Mount may generally be considered as a diminutive of mountain, but we find it applied to mountains of the greatest elevation. Thus we find in Mount Cook, Mount Everest, and other mountains of the first class, the name mount filling the position which it does in the Mounts Pleasant, or Brown, or other small elevations in the vicinity of English towns. Cook berg and Everest berg would be infinitely better. In New page 57 Zealand we have the relative height of elevations well defined in maunga, mountain; puke, hill. Suppose we convert Mount Cook into Maungakuku, this would be much more euphonious than Mount Cook, and serve as well the purpose of commemorating the name of the great discoverer.
Mount, as a rule, is applied to a hillock; when exceptionally used to denote the highest mountains in the world the effect is feeble.
To return to a few more illustrations. The German name for ice is the same as our own, but they spell the word eis. Anyone can see that the German spelling is phonetic, but what shall we say to the English ice. The i is made into the diph-thong ei, the c into s, and the e is mute and useless. In the same category we have nice, twice, rice, spice, mice, &c. The mute e, at the end of words, ought to be abolished.
What must a foreigner think when he hears an educated Englishman talk of Demostheniez and Perieliez. This pronunciation has a thoroughly illiterate effect, something similar to the crier in Court calling out, "Oyiez, Oyiez," or of a lawyer talking about laechiez, or of Naisai Praius. The pronunciation is not even according to English custom, for we do not say Ayniez, businiez, Totniez, prickliez, wrinkliez. When an Englishman is asked why he does not pronounce names correctly, he says that it would look like affectation to do so, whereas the affectation is all the other way.
A few illustrations will show in what a curious way the letter o is treated in English. We find its different and varying sounds in tome, tom, one, come, cooper, coffee. There may possibly be more variations. I have picked out the above at random.
Now all these various defects in English orthography have a strong bearing upon the future of the Maori language. That language has been brought into a phonetic orthography, and many of the European settlers understand this: but every day fresh arrivals come from England who know nothing of the subject, and who proceed to damage the Maori tongue. The culprits are to be found in the Post Office Department; as compositors in newspaper offices; as officials in the Land Office, and in the public generally. Thus we find the native names mis-spelt and made ridiculous. I have already mentioned the cases of Petone, for Pito-one, Tenui for Tinui. I may add Kaiwarra for Kaiwharawhara, Manyahao for Mangāhoa. When I traversed the Forty-mile Bush, some twenty-four years ago, I put this name down as Mangāwha, which is practically the same as Mangāhoa. Mangahao does not give the sound at all.
Pauatahanui is converted into Pahautanui. Ohiro is not mis-spelt, but is pronounced Ohairo, and so on. One could find many similar examples. But what can be expected when page 58 the English alphabet is treated in the way in practice: when the child is taught that a = ae, and no symbol is given for the broad a; that i = ai; that u = in, &c. Let the reform begin at the fountain head, by a re-arrangement of the alphabet.
One or two Scotch names give good examples of the difficulties in spelling brought about by the want of system in English orthography. Let us take the name MacNeil. We find this variously spelt McNeil and McNeal. Although apparently a Celtic name, I suspect that it came from Scandinavia, where we have to this day the frequent Christian name of Nil, Nils. The French could make nothing of Neil, so changed the spelling to Niel, in the case of the celebrated marshal. The McNeils and Neals should do the same, and the name would then be written phonetically.
We find the name Mackay spelt the same, whether the owner of it comes from the Highlands or from Galloway; but the pronunciation is different. In the former case it is Mackai, in the latter Māckae; and at San Francisco I found another variation, viz., Mackāe, the accent being on the last syllable.
In looking up the Scandinavian languages, I have been struck with the similarity in some respects to broad Scotch, and I suspect that the language of the old kingdom of Northumbria, extending from the Humber to the Forth, has been more influenced by Scandinavian immigrants than is generally supposed. Such words as bard for baird are suggestive; and in Norwegian I found a sentence, viz.: "Qua sue? "meaning "What do you say?" which one may hear any day in the streets of Edinburgh or Glasgow.
* A corrected official orthography for India has been issued, but many do not use it,