Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary
Many words of languages spoken in Oceania and the Malay Archipelago are presented in this Dictionary as being possibly related to Maori. It is by no means certain that they are Polynesian words adopted by the speakers, nor that the Polynesians have received the words from their neighbours, nor even that they had a common source; but as they resemble Polynesian in sound or sensepage xxiii
(sometimes in both), it is possible that they may throw light on some phase of meaning which has not been preserved elsewhere. They are valuable also for the tracing of letter-changes; but these letter-changes are so difficult to bring under law that no attempt is made in the present volume to arrange their multitudinous diversity.
Of these, however, the Fijian deserves a brief special notice. The language of the Fiji or Viti Islands contains Polynesian words to the extent of nearly a third of its whole vocabulary; the rest is derived from Melanesia and other sources foreign to the Maori people. With the exception of a regular change of v for Polynesian h (as vono, to join, Poly. hono; vou, new, Poly. hou, &c.), and a few irregular changes, as th (printed c) for k and h (thala, to err, M. hara; thalo, to scoop out, M. karo, &c.), s for t (gusu, the lip, M. ngutu), &c., the Polynesian words are pure and permanent.
Another Extra Polynesian language, that of Madagascar, is of special interest, on account of the great distance separating its speakers from those in whose tongue are found many kindred words. How far this kindred may be traced it is difficult to say; but it is certain that words having affinity in both sound and meaning may be found in Malagasy and Polynesian. It is probable that the real affinity is rather between Malay and Malagasy; but some words which modern Malays do not share with their brothers in the “Great African Island” appear to find relationship in the Polynesian vocabulary.
The absence of the vowel u in Malagasy necessitates the comparison of Polynesian words having either u or o; but the likeness is very apparent. In the following examples the Malagasy word is placed first, and the related Polynesian word (marked P.) follows.
Ovi, a yam, P. uwhi, or ufi; nao, thine, P. nau; havokavoka, the lungs, P. pukapuka; voy, the act of rowing, P. hoe, to paddle; volo, hair, P. hulu, or fulu, huru; voa, seed, P. hua, or fua, fruit; tona, an eel, P. tuna; roa, two, P. rua, or lua; rozirozi, weariness, P. ruhi, weary.
As an example how deceptively the letter-changes may cloak a real affinity, I will present the Malagasy word vorondolo, an owl, as equivalent to Maori ruru, an owl. Voro is used as an equivalent for “feathers,” the Polynesian huruhuru: the v (as in above examples) = h, and o = u. The Malagasy, however, use vorona as a general name for birds (probably i.e. “the feathered creatures”), as vorombola, a peacock; voromahailala, a pigeon. The nd of ndolo may be considered as equivalent to the Fijian, in which every d is nd; and as d is merely a form of r and l (dikydiky = likyliky; roa = Malay dua, &c.), and o = u, therefore dolo is a form of ruru. Thus voro-ndolo means “bird-ruru”; and unlikely as at first sight appears the relationship, it is probable.
On the other hand, I have not been able hitherto to trace even a possible affinity between Malagasy and Maori in more than one hundred words out of ten thousand in each language.
In Malay, the so-called affinities are disappointing as to the number a Polynesian scholar would expect to find, after having road the works of many writers who have boldly asserted the near relationship of the Malay and Polynesian languages, and after having heard the Maori so often spoken of as being a branch of the Malayo-Oceanic family. The numerals are only parallel as far as five; the Tagal and Malagasy being far more sympathetic. Many important Malay words, such as those for sky, fire, root, bill, eye, &c., resemble Polynesian, and are almost certainly related, but other vital words, such as sun, moon, mother, son, tree, smoke, &c., have no apparent likeness, and the bulk of the two vocabularies is not comparable. The resemblances of Polynesian to Malay words are often to Sanscrit and Arabic words which have been adopted into the Malay vocabulary. These remarks do not apply to all the languages spoken in the islands of the Malay Archipelago, where dialects are sometimes to be found having far greater affinity with Maori than the Malay of the mainland possesses.
INTERCHANGE OF CONSONANTS.
|Maori of N.Z.||Samoan.||Tahitian.||Hawaiian.||Tongan.||Rarotongan.||Marquesan.||Mangarevan.||Paumotan.|
|H||S or F||H||H||H||Wanting||H||H||H|
|K||‘ (a break)||Wanting||Wanting||K||K||K||K||K|
|WH||F||H or F||H||F||Wanting||F or H||H||F or H|