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The Double Vowel

 

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The Macron vs. the double vowel

What's the difference between a macron and the use of the double vowel? For many of those who have learnt to read and write te reo Maaori over the last 20 years, a macron (the little line over a vowel, as in Kāwhia) will be commonplace. The macron is used to indicate the vowel length and ultimately alters the way the word is said and more importantly, its meaning.

As part of the partnership with local mana whenua, Ngaati Wairere, it has been decided that Hamilton City Libraries will adopt and use the double vowel in all forms of written te reo that is produced in-house. For many, this was a foreign concept as 90% of material produced in Maaori is now written with a macron.

For those vowels with a macron or written with a double vowel the sound is lengthened as an example 'ana' means cave, where 'anaa' means behold or here is.

Hamilton Libraries