Social nouns: home, group, community

TalkLibraryThing in te reo Māori

Join LibraryThing to post.

Social nouns: home, group, community

This topic is currently marked as "dormant"—the last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.

1Muscogulus
Edited: Jan 19, 2011, 5:43pm

I guess it‘s not too surprising on a social networking site, but social nouns play a major role in the translations. I’m curious as to how to properly distinguish them in terms that make proper sense in Maori.

The first puzzle I faced was how to distinguish the “Home” tab from the “Local” tab. Both could be translated into Maori as “kāinga,” I think. So I went with:
* Whārangi kāinga, “home page”
* Iwi kāinga, “home people,” the people or crowd you are at home with.
* Now what do I do about the “Community” menu item?

I won’t even try to choose between the Maori words that can be translated as “group.” (’Though I’m pretty sure we don’t want mapu, a loan word from English mob. Unless we’re talking about a flash-mapu....)

(Made a correction.)

2Muscogulus
Edited: Feb 3, 2014, 5:05pm

I've learned a few words for social groups in Māori, which leads me to rethink my tentative translations.

* tangata is "a person"; tāngata, with a long A, is "people." (For example, the term for all the indigenous people of New Zealand is tāngata whenua, "the people of the land," while non-indigenous "people of the treaty" are tāngata tiriti.)
* iwi is the largest type of social group in Māori, referring to a nation or confederation of tribes. The name also means "bone(s)" and implies descent from shared ancestors. (I call it the largest social group, but actually several iwi may be associated as a waka, "canoe," based on a supposed association of ancestors who traveled across the Pacific together to Aotearoa.)
* hapū is a political unit of several hundred related people, translated as "clan" or "subtribe." Traditionally each hapū is autonomous. The same word also means "pregnant."
* whānau is the extended family, the group that traditionally shared a single residential compound. It can also be the verb "to be born" or "to give birth." A whānau can also refer to a collection of (related) ideas.

Other words for social groups are not linked to familial kinship.

* rūnanga is a council or assembly of people, or the place where they meet to talk. It can also be a verb for the act of discussing things in a group. So rūnanga would seem to be the right word for discussion groups.
* hanga is a verb much like "to make," but it can also describe a thing or things that is/are made, or a group of people sharing some quality. So I believe "a group of book people" would be hanga pukapuka, while "a group of library people" would be hanga whare pukapuka. Curiously enough, that last phrase could also be a literal translation of LibraryThing. (And from the recordings I've heard, the *wh* in *whare* sounds like a breathy F or V.)
* awheawhe is a working group or workshop, as well as the verb for working as a group.
* rangapū seems to be an orderly group of people, like a company of soldiers, while rāngai (the macron means everything) can be a crowd of people or a herd or flock of non-human creatures. And a gang or entourage is rōpū.
* whiriwhiri-ā-rōpū is "group discussion," but the elements lead me to think it refers to a smallish group that is focused on a decision: whiriwhiri is a word for selecting or deciding.

As you can see, this is complicated, and Māori concepts are not easy to translate.

3bitser
Feb 8, 2014, 1:51am

Rūnanga is often used for the official body representing an iwi, i.e. tribal council.

The word used for speech is korero and a conversation is korerorero. That emphasizes the act rather than the social grouping.