Thursday, March 18, 2010

Kapiti Coast council told not to waste money on orthographical change

Following the ridiculous debate over the spelling of Wanganui last year, the Kapiti Coast District Council decided to waste $100,000 of ratepayers' money (we are one of the ratepayers) on adding a macron over the 'a' in Kapiti.

Now the Maori Language Commission has told the KCDC it doesn't need to change anything as Kapiti is okay without a macron.

The KCDC says it is making the change on the advice of local iwi consultants. In written Maori, macrons are used to indicate when pronunciation of the vowel is long.

"Political correctness gone mad," says one ratepayer whose views were made public.

As we observed in our post on the Wanganui issue last September, Maori as a written language was created by the British in the early 19th century, who for some unfathomable reason decided to spell the F sound as Wh. English has no accents, unlike other European languages, to show vowel pronunication. Dutch doesn't either, but uses a double vowel when the pronunciation is long - the option that the British could have used, but didn't. It all seems rather pointless anyway, when most Maori pronounce placenames the European way. We are all for correct pronunciation, but spelling reforms are an unnecessary means of achieving it.

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