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Grammar of the New Zealand Language

Chapter XIV. — Syntax of the Article

page 106

Chapter XIV.
Syntax of the Article.

1. Ko is never used before appellatives without either te, te tahi, and its plural e tahi, or one of the possessive pronouns intervening, and it is almost always found to occupy the first place in the sentence; e.g.,

  • ko taku tamaiti, this is my child.

  • ko e tahi kua kitea, some were seen.

2. In this position a very common use of it is, to imply the verb substantive.

3. The article he, it will be seen, does not require its help for such a purpose; e. g., he rakau tenei, this is a tree; he mate toku, a sickness is mine, i. e., I am sick.

4. All the functions of a (vid. page 13) are performed by ko, when the noun, &c., to which it is prefixed, precede in the sentence; e. g.

  • Ko koe te haere, you are the person that is to go.

  • Ko runga kau i kainga, the tops only were eaten.

5. Sometimes it will be found in other parts of the sentence, (a) when the terms, of which the sentence is composed, are convertible,* or are intended, at

* Convertible terms, we need not remind the learned reader, are those, the meaning of which is to similar, that they may be substituted one for the other.

page 107 least, to be represented as similar; e.g., ko te timunga atu o konei ko te pakeketanga o waho, the ebbing of the tide from here is low water outside.
  • Me he mea ko Pahuru ko Ngakete, if Pahuru had been Ngakete, &c.

  • Ko au ra ko ia, I and he are (one.)

(b) Sometimes, also, when there are two subjects of which the same thing is affirmed, ko will be prefixed to both; e.g.,

  • Ko Kukutai ko te Wherowhero, rite tahi raua, Kukutai and Wherowhero, they are equal both of them.

6. It will be seen in the above example that ko will sometimes represent and; e.g., e takoto nei ko te pihi ko te poro, it lies here, both the piece, and the end (of the bar of soap.)

7. Very frequently, also, ko may be denominated “the article of specification and emphasis;” e. g., Noku tena paraikete, that blanket is mine; ko taku paraikete tena, that is my blanket. The former of these two sentences implies that the blanket is his property; the latter denotes the same thing, with some further specification; as being, for example, one that had been previously described, worn, &c.

Again, ko Hone i haere, John went.

  • I haere a Hone, idem.

Here also, there is, we think, a difference. The latter sentence merely says that John went; the former that John, as contradistinguished from some one else, was the person who went; literally, it was John (who) went.

8. Sometimes also, in animated description, ko will follow the verb; e.g., na ka hinga ko Haupokia, na ka hinga ko Ngapaka, then fell Haupokia, then fell Ngapaka

9. Ko will generally be prefixed to the subject,*

* The learned student will here see that Maori has, in this respect, the advantage over Hebrew; confusion often occurring in that language from the want of some means for determining which is the subject and which the predicate.

page 108 e.g., ko ta te tangata kai he poaka, he riwai, he aha, he aha, the food for man is pork, potatoes, et cœtera, et cœtera; ko Oropi te whenua taonga, Europe is the land of property.

N.B.—There are some exceptions to this rule, especially when tenei, &c., are employed, (vid. etiam rule 5.)

10. Ko is always prefixed to every title or name of men or things which stands alone without the verb; e.g.,

  • Ko te karere o Nui Tireni,” the (Newspaper) the Karere o Nui Tireni.

  • Ko Hone, here is John, or, John.

Note.—Occasionally we meet with an exception to this rule, in emphatic, elliptical, and complementary clauses; e.g., in taunting; tou ngene, your ngene*; taku tirohanga, my looking, i.e., when I looked. Ka whati tera, te pa, that was discomfitted, the pa. Vid. our illustrations of Epanorthosis in preliminary remarks, page 104.

11. It is sometimes used in elliptical sentences like the following: E pai ana ano; ko te maeke ra, we are willing; but the cold, i. e., we should be glad to go only for the cold; Haere ana ia, ko tona ko tahi, he went by himself alone.

Note.—It may be seen in the above example that ko is sometimes used for but; so also in the following: Me he mea ko te Paki, e rongo ratou; ko tenei e kore e rongo, if it had been Paki they would have listened, but as for this, they will not listen.

12. In connexion with the two preceding rules, we may observe, that ko is almost always prefixed to the nominative absolute; e. g., ko taua kupu au, e kore e rangona, as for that word of yours, it will not be listened to.

  • Ko te hunga whakapono, ka ora ratou, believers, they will be saved.

N.B.—In some districts the ko is omitted under this rule.

* Ngene is a scrofulous tumour.

page 109

13. Nga we have designated as the plural of the definite article page 12. The student will therefore remember that it does not recognize the rules a, b, c, d, e, mentioned under te—pages 10 and 11.

14. The omission of the article.

There are some cases in which no article is prefixed to the noun, (a) when the noun follows immediately after the verb; e. g., Whakamate tangata, murderous; (vid. compound words page 17.) Haere po, go by night.

(b) Nouns preceded by the adverbial particles a and tua; e.g., tatau a tangata, count man by man.

(c) When a possesssive pronoun is associated with the noun; ho mai toku kakahu, give me my garment.

Note.—It is, however, highly probable that the singular possessive pronouns, (vid. page 29.) are compounded of the article te, and the plural form oku, &c., and that oku, aku, ona, &c., are compounded of o and a, and the personal pronouns ahau, kau, [gap — reason: unclear]; these pronouns assuming the forms of oku, ou, ona, &c., when in connection with o, and a; in the same way as they adopt the form of mona, nona, &c., when in combination with the prepositions mo, no, &c., &c. (vid. our remarks on noku and maku page 22, and tenei, &c., page 31.) Sometimes, indeed, we find the singular possessive pronouns thus resolved; e. g., kei tenei taha oku, on this side of me. If it had not been for nei the speaker would have said toku taha. The nei however attracts the te, and thus resolves toku into its component parts.

15. He differs in its uses from te tahi and e tahi.

(a) He, of itself, often implies the verb substantive. (Vid. rule 3).

(b) He is very seldom found after a preposition. It is almost always found in the nominative case after the substantive verb; e. g., he tangata tenei; he kino kau koutou.

Thus it would not be correct to say, I kainga; e he kuri, it was eaten by a dog; hei tiki i he rakau, to fetch a stick. It should be e te kuri, i te tahi rakau.

Note.—He is sometimes found after ma and na, e. g., nana i homai he paraikete i mahana ai au. We believe, however, that page 110 this exception to rule (b) is only apparent, and that he waka, here, is the nominative case. (Vid. Verbs.)

16. A. A strange use of a is sometimes met with in Waikato. When two nouns follow each other in apposition, a is sometimes prefixed to the latter; e. g., Ka noho atu tera i te kai mana a te kahawai, he indeed will remain away from the food for him!the kahawai!

E hoe ana ki Akarana, ki te kai mana a te paraoa, he is paddling to Auckland for food for himself—flour.

Sometimes it occurs in sentences like the following, Na wai tenei haere a te po? Whose going is this, (I mean,) in the night? i. e., who ever goes by night?

(b) A personal pronoun following the verb in the nominative will very seldom take a before it; e.g., Whakangaromia iho ratou. It would not be correct to say a ratou.

To this rule there are a few exceptions, e. g., tu ana ratou, a ia tangata a ia tangata, they stood each man.

(c) Proper names are not subject to the above rule; e. g., it would not be correct to say, Whakangaromia iho Ngatipaoa. It should be a Ngatipaoa.

(d) When a question is asked in reference to a preceding remark, a will precede the pronoun, e. g., E ki na koe. A wai? A koe ra, You assert—who? You, forsooth.

17. The articles, definite and indefinite, are always repeated in Maori, as in French, before every substantive in the sentence; e.g., Ko te whakapono te take o te aroha, raua ko te pai, faith is the root of love, and good works.

18. Adjectives used substantively require the article; e. g., He tika rawa te he ki a ia, the wrong is perfectly right in his opinion.

page 111

19. Frequently, also, the article is prefixed to what would be a participle in English; e. g., Kei te noho, he is at the sitting, i.e., he is sitting; ka tata te maoa, the being cooked is near.

Note.—It is, however, probable that all such words as noho, &c., should, in constructions like the above, be regarded as substantives. We shall have to treat on this hereafter. (Vid. Verbs.)

Note 2.—Further remarks on the articles we shall reserve to the next chapter.