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Grammar of the New Zealand Language

Chapter XVIII. — Syntax of the Pronouns

page 130

Chapter XVIII.
Syntax of the Pronouns.

§ 1. The personal pronouns follow the verb; e.g., e mea ana ahau.

§ 2. They are often also omitted after it; e.g., Ka tukua atu te purahorua, ka tae ki te pa, korerotia atu, Kia mohio i te taua e haere mai nei——na ka te whai e te pa. Na wai i haere, a; ka tae ki nga whakatakoto; ka pau te huaki, ka tangi te patu, ka whati tera, te pa.; the messenger is sent (he) arrives at the pa (it) is told (them,) be on (your) guard against the hostile party (which) is approaching, so the pa then pursued. On then (they) proceeded, till (they) came to the ambush, the assault is made, the blow resounds, that flies, the pa. Sometimes, in Waikato, they are redundant; e.g., kei te kai taro mana, he is eating bread for himself. Examples however of this construction are not varied or frequent.

In Waikato the personal and possessive pronouns will frequently take the particle nge before them, but without any variation of meaning.

§ 3. It was observed (page 29) that there is no word in Maori to denote the pronoun it. Occasionally, however, that word will be designated by ia and its branches; e.g., waiho mana e rapu atu te tahi huarahi mona, let it (the axe,) search out a path for itself. This perhaps should be explained by prosopoprœia. Sometimes also we hear the following: te paraoa raua page 131 ko te poaka, flour and pork; nga toki ki a ratou whakatoki, nga kakahu ki a ratou whakakakahu, axes by themselves garments by themselves.

§ 4. Often the singular and dual of the personal pronouns will be employed to denote a whole tribe, or company; e.g., naku tena, na te Urioteoro, that is mine, the Urioteoro's; i.e., the property of my tribe. Keihea taua? where are we two? i.e., where is our party, ko ta maua ki tena, ta te tangata Maori, that is a phrase of us (two) of the New Zealander, i.e., of the New Zealanders.

Note.—This form is often also used when the speaker wishes to propound some remark which would appear harsh if too personal; e.g., he aha kei a maua ko Hone, what it with me and John; i.e., oh, never mind John: of what importance is he?

Connected with this is a mode of phrase which we have been surprised to hear questioned by some who claim a high character as Maori scholars.

§ 5. A pronoun in the singular will often be made to refer to a noun in the plural; ko nga tangata tenei, nana nga tikaokao, this are persons, his are the fowls; nga tangata nona te kainga, the men his is the settlement, i.e., whose is, &c.; nga tangata nana i patu, the men his was the having struck; i.e., who struck. Tenei matou te noho atu nei, this is we, who am sitting towards you.

§ 6. It is a very common thing in Maori to put into the third person a pronoun which has reference to either the first or second; e.g., hei rama aha? tana koke noa atu,—nana tana rakau, a light for what purpose?—his stumbling away—his is his own stick, i.e., “What do I want of light?—I can stumble out my way—I am accustomed to that kind of work;” ko te rangi mahi kai tenei ma tona tinana, this is the day for procuring food for his body; i.e., for ourselves; kei tena tangata pea, it rests perhaps with that individual; i.e., with you; tona tangata kaha ko koe, you are his strong man; i.e., what a very strong man you page 132 are! (ironically); haere korua, e Hone, raua ko Hemi, go you (two) John, they two and James; i.e., go you and James.

This last form is, perhaps, peculiar to the Waikato District.

§ 7. When two or more individuals are connected in English by the conjunction and, they will very frequently be denoted by the dual or plural, of the personal pronoun of the more worthy person. For example, he and I are denoted by maua, John and James by Hone raua ko Hemi, John, James, and Luke, by Hone, ratou ko Hemi, ko Ruka.

In this construction the latter noun will be in the nominative, even though the preceding be in an oblique case; e.g., te atawhai o te Atua, raua ko tana tamaiti, ko Ihu Karaiti, the mercy of God and His Son Jesus Christ. Here, though Atua is in the possessive case, raua and tamaiti, and Ihu Karaiti are in the nominative.

This strange, though in Maori very common, mode of construction cannot, we believe, be explained in any other way than by an epanorthosis. (Vide page 114, § 3.)

§ 8. The noun belonging to the pronoun is often omitted, especially in talking of garments; e.g., keihea toku? Where is mine; i.e., my garment. Tikina atu te tahi ki a koe, fetch some for you; i.e., fetch some garment. Ko wai toku?—Who is mine?—i.e., my helper.

§ 9. The relative pronouns.—Following are some of the ways in which the defect of the relative pronoun is supplied in Maori:—(1) Te tangata nana nga kakano the man whose are the seeds; (2) te tangata i nga kakano, idem; (3) te tangata i patu nei i a Hone, the man (who) struck John; or (4) te tangata i patua ai (by whom, on account of whom), he was beaten; (5.) Keihea, he poraka hei to i te rakau? Where is there a block (with which) to drag the log? (6) Keihea he haerenga? where is there a place on which (they, the cows) may run? (7) Ko tenei taku i mate nui ai, this is mine desired, i.e., this is what I wished for; (8) te poaka i patua e koe, the [gap — reason: unclear] page 133 (which) was killed by you; (9) kei reira te pakaru, kei reira te paru, you must coat (with raupo) all parts of the house that are broken.

It will be seen in the preceding examples that the most common means by which the want of the relative is supplied are by the preposition, as in example 2; (2) by the particles nei, &c., and ai, as in examples 3 and 4; (3) by the verbal noun, as in examples 5 and 6; (4) by the possessive case with ai, as in example 7; (5) by the passive voice, as in example 8. Occasionally, also, the personal pronouns, as in example 1, or the adverb reira, as in example 9, &c., are used for the same purpose.

§ 10. Demonstrative Pronouns.—(1) These, like the primitive pronouns of Hebrew, are often used for the verb of existence; (2) and the time will frequently be denoted by the pronoun used; i.e., Tenei will mostly be used for the present tense; tena, (and most frequently) tera, for the future, or past, and sometimes for the imperative mood; e.g., e haere ana tenei ahau, this I am going; i.e., I am going; tenei au, here I am; tera e mate, that will die, i.e., he will die; tena taku pu maua mai, that my gun bring here; i.e., bring my gun.

The leading distinctions between tenei, tena, and tera, and also the distinction between them and their resolved forms te—nei, &c., have been mentioned, page 30. Instances, however, are not rare, in which those distinctions seem to be disregarded; and others will occur which it will require some experience and ingenuity to classify; e.g., I te po nei implies that it has been already dark for some time; i tenei po may mean The night of this day. In the following, Kei hea te awa nei? (where is the channel that we are seeking for?) it is clear tenei could not be employed.

(2.) Sometimes only nei will be admitted into connexion with the first person; (i.e., when the speaker page 134 is denoted as the person looking at the object spoken of;) and na into connexion with the second. Ra has for the most part a vague or general application.* Thus a person, calling to a settlement, will say, Kahore he tangata i te kainga nei? Is there no one at that settlement? (at which I am looking.) If addressing another who belongs to, or has seen, the settlement, he will say, i te kainga na, (or ra) at the settlement which you see there, or to which you belong, &c. Again. Keihea nga kau? where are the cows? Kei kona ano, They are there near you. If he had said, Kei ko, we should have understood him to mean, “They are off, away, in that direction;” na kona mai, come by that direct path, in which you are; na ko mai come by that circuitous one away there.

(3.) Nei, &c., in composition will frequently supply the place of the relative; e.g., te taua i muru nei i a Hone.

(4.) Sometimes they will imply a conjunction, or will otherwise limit the sentence in which they occur, by implying a connection with a previous sentence or thing. Thus, kahore au i pai, means I am not willing; kahore nei ahau i pai will mean, the reason was because I was not willing; or, you know I was not, &c., &c. Again, I a koutou e tatari ana will denote a mere general remark, while you are waiting, I a koutou e tatari nei denotes while you are Thus continuing to wait; te wahine i whakarerea, the woman who was divorced; te wahine i whakarerea nei, (or ra), the woman who was divorced under these (or those) particular circumstances, or, on that particular occasion, &c., &c.

The Interrogative Pronouns.— Wai and aha are often used to add intensity; ma wai e noho, e au? page 135 that I should remain is for whom? i.e., I won't remain. Ko wai hoki ka kite i te hoenga o tenei taua, maua nei? who saw the departure of this hostile party, we two? i.e., we did not at all see this party's departure to fight with you; hei aha ma wai? For what purpose is it, for whom? i.e., what good at all is that for? kahore i rongo, kahore i aha, he did not attend, he did not what; i.e., he did not at all listen; kahore aku kupu, me he aha, me he aha, I did not utter a word, if a what, if a what; i.e., I did not at all speak; ka hua ahau he aha, I thought it was a what; i.e., I imagined it was something very important you were going to talk about. Sometimes a personal pronoun will be associated with an interrogative; e.g., ko wai hoki taua ka kite atu? Who, we two, can see it? i.e., who knows?

* For ra an adverbial particle, vide page 92.