Art. LXXI.—The Aryo-Semitic Maori.
[Read before the Nelson Philosophical Society, 1st November, 1886.]
In the last volume of the “Transactions of the N.Z. Institute,” vol. xviii., there is a paper by Mr. E. Tregear, entitled “The Maori in Asia.” On reading it, I found it referred to and might be called a continuation of a previous work, by the same author, called “The Aryan Maori.”* The latter I had not then seen, but at once procured and read it; and it would be saying little to say that I found both full of interest and novelty: indeed, to me, but very little used to philological inquiries, Mr. Tregear's methods and his results were alike startling.†
His main thesis is: that the Maori race is of the same family stock as the Indo-European, or Aryan, races; that the Maori language is a more ancient form of the common language spoken before their dispersion by the common progenitors of all these races; and that the main proof of this lies—I was going to say embedded in, but really, on the very surface of, the Maori language itself, and is educible upon a comparison of the Maori vocabulary with the vocabularies of those languages hitherto exclusively called Aryan.
[Footnote] * “The Aryan Maori,” by E. Tregear (Wellington, N.Z., 1885).
[Footnote] † It is proper, though to those of you who know me quite unnecessary, to say, in the beginning, that I have not the least claim to be called a Maori scholar; the utmost I can claim is that I have been a student of the language, as opportunity offered, for a long time; though for how long, looking at results, I would rather not say.
The magnitude of Mr. Tregear's undertaking will be apparent when you remember that, though many have tried, no one, in the opinion of some at least of the greatest living philologists, has hitherto been able to bridge the chasm which separates the Aryan from the Polynesian languages, any more than that between the Aryan and the Semitic; indeed, if I understand Professor Whitney rightly, in his opinion, and that of others, with the means at present available it cannot be done.
And, evidently, Mr. Tregear is fully conscious that he is undertaking a great task. It is not one, but all the learned men of Europe he hopes to set right. Speaking of Dr. Latham's view, “that the Polynesian languages show a thoroughly insular or oceanic character,” he says: “It is this mistake, made by all the other European scientists also, which it is my endeavour to correct.” And he enters upon the work with a corresponding confidence; indeed, it is not likely that, without unusual courage, he would ever have undertaken such a task, much less have carried it through. “I will now,” he says,* “proceed to state certain facts, on which I have such reliance that I feel positively assured, if any one will take the trouble to follow my reasoning, he will share my convictions before he reaches the end of this small work, however incredulous he may be at the outset.” What these convictions are, he states at the end of his Introduction, distinctly, and with considerable force; without any of that unpleasant hesitancy which so often characterizes men of science dealing with questions of remote antiquity. He says:—
“I now proceed to assert—
“1. That the Maori is an Aryan.
“2. That his language and traditions prove him to be the descendant of a pastoral people, afterwards warlike and migratory.
“3. That his language has preserved, in an almost inconceivable purity, the speech of his Aryan forefathers, and compared with which the Greek and Latin tongues are mere corruptions.
“4. That this language has embalmed the memory of animals, implements, &c., the actual sight of which has been lost to the Maori for centuries.
“1. That he left India about 4,000 years ago.
“2. That he has been in New Zealand almost as long as that time.
“To prove these bold assertions is my task in the following chapters.”
[Footnote] * “The Aryan Maori,” p. 5.
I ought perhaps here to confess that, on first reading this, I was not only a little incredulous, but I even doubted whether Mr. Tregear was altogether in earnest. I saw, however, I must be wrong, on noticing that “The Aryan Maori” came from the Government Printing Office, and that “The Maori in Asia” not only appeared in the “Transactions,” but was there awarded the place of honour; a sufficient sign that the learned editors of our only scientific journal deemed it at least a serious contribution to science: this, of course, was more than enough for me.
Mr. Tregear distributes his proofs under several headings: Language, Animals and Customs, Mythology, Time of Migration, Esoteric Language, and others; but it is on language and its evidence that he mainly relies: it is his linguistic method, including his method of exegesis, which is at once his peculiarity and his strength, and it is to this that I wish to call your attention.
“It does not follow,” he says, “because two peoples have (even many) words in common that they are closely connected by descent…. But if there be two nations, all whose vital words come of the same stock, then there are two nations whose ancestors were brothers.”
But how to find out the identity of these vital words? that is evidently the fundamental question lying at the root of the whole inquiry.
Unfortunately Mr. Tregear does not, as some do, begin by enunciating and discussing his method, but, with just a hint of its nature, leaves his reader to discover it by its use. After mentioning, and illustrating by an example or two, some of the difficulties of the etymologist with the European languages, he says: “These examples are as shadows of what the student of European tongues must look for. My task is an easier and more delightful one: the reader will be able to follow the derivations with ease and pleasure.” It is this method, or faculty, of easy derivation and of not less easy interpretation, which enables Mr. Tregear not only to charm his readers by the way, but, after a remarkably short time spent upon the road, to bring them a very long distance from where they started.
In his two works he compares a very large number of Maori words with those of Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, English, and other Aryan languages: unfortunately, as I have said, the principles guiding him in so doing are not explicitly laid down, but the following, I think, are among them:—
1. Reduce the given words, as nearly as is easily practicable, to a common alphabet; then pair any two which have a more or less similar appearance or sound, and a more or less similar meaning; and then treat the components of each pair so formed as derived one from the other, or as both derived from some third form, and, in either case, as giving evidence that the languages from which they have been taken are cognate.
2. Comparison may be made between word and word, or between a part of one word and part of another; or a monosyllabic root in one language, Sanskrit for instance, may be compared with a single syllable in a Maori word; and this syllable may be taken in any part of the word: one syllable, for instance, and that the less permanent, of an apparently dissyllabic root, as Sanskrit, tu (to grow), and Maori, tupu (to grow), of which there is a common variant with the same meaning, tipu; or in an apparently non-radical part, as Sanskrit ma (measure), and Maori mataki (inspect); or it may be made up of parts of two syllables, an apparently non-radical prefix being joined to the first letter of the root, as Sanskrit gon-e (an angle), Maori kon-oni (crooked), noni being the radical, and capable of separate use (and cf. tanoni).
3. If the word to be compared has letters or combinations of letters which the Maori has not, the Maori pronunciation of the word, (as nearly as a Maori can manage it), may be taken as the basis of comparison. But this pronunciation need not always be that which apparently an ordinary Maori would give, nor always uniform. Hence, for instance, Sanskrit ve may be pronounced in three different ways, according to the different words it is compared with, i.e., as we, whe, or whi; and so Sanskrit siv will not be pronounced hiwi, or hiui, but hui, or even tui, if the last should happen to be the word for comparison. This seems a new and useful extension of the law of attraction or assimilation.
4. Comparison may be made with words in the most suitable period of their life-history: a word from the Vedas, or a word of current English, may alike be compared with a current Maori word, and an identity declared “upon the view.” This, it will be observed, does not ignore the historic method, but subordinates it.
5. It is not necessary to discuss, or to state the laws (if any) which govern phonetic change as between Maori and the several compared languages: such laws, if existing, must be considered of a very general and elastic character. Hence, for instance, while Sans. k and Gothic k, according to Grimm's law, have not the same etymological value, Maori k, though quite distinctive, may represent them both; and so with other letters and other languages. Again, Sans. d, dh, l, and r, may all be represented by Maori r; whilst some of these (d and dh), as well as t, and even s and ch, will, upon occasion, stand for Maori t: on the other hand, as I have said, Sans. v will represent both the simple and the aspirated Maori w.
6. It is not necessary to discuss the possibly difficult but certainly interesting question in phonology: how the copious, and in many points much stronger, alphabets of the Aryans were evolved from an alphabet at once as scanty and as definite as the Maori.
7. Nor is it necessary to make any systematic critical examination of the structure of Maori words, so as to distinguish between radical and non-radical—perhaps formative—parts, and ascertain their respective functions:
8. Nor to inquire as to the relative and absolute permanence and the etymological value (1) of the several Maori vowels, and (2) of the consonants; nor as to the rules which govern their occasional interchange:
9. Nor to compare inter se the existing Maori dialects, differing greatly as some do—the Moriori, for instance, and the Rarawa—from the commoner types; nor the language of to-day with such older fragments as exist: so as to ascertain whether, in the language itself, there is any evidence that it has changed, or is changing, and, if so, in what way.
10. Nor to compare the Maori with the other island languages, in order to ascertain, as far as is possible, the archaic forms of the whole group; and whether all the differences observable can be legitimately treated as divergences on the part of the other languages from the true type preserved unaltered in the Maori.
It is evident that these rules, positive and negative, (nowhere, as I have said, explicitly stated, but, as I think, necessarily to be inferred), relieve the etymologist of infinite labour and care, and allow him to proceed with equal freedom and confidence: if he is not altogether lege solutus, it may, I think, be said that he is left free to treat each word upon its own merits; or, to put it in a slightly different form, the slow plodding of the method of investigation—the following of footsteps often obscurely visible, if visible at all—is superseded by direct vision. Mr. Tregear may therefore fairly claim that his method should be called “the method of insight,” and that philology, in his hands, has been raised to the dignity of an intuitional science.
It would be impossible by a few extracts to do justice to the long lists of words, more or less similar in appearance and meaning, which Mr. Tregear has industriously collected: they must be seen to be fully appreciated. Many of the pairs, indeed, if standing alone, might not have been thought very well matched. The Sanskrit Twachtrei, the thunder god, for instance, does not seem particularly like Maori whatitiri; nor is Dhori, the bull, very like the Maori prefix tara, thought by Mr. Tregear to mean bull; while if Hindustani tat, darling, is the same as the Maori te tau o te ate, it must surely be in a state of advanced phonetic decay. On the other hand, many are so much alike that Mr. Tregear, without, so far as appears, any other evidence, is able to pronounce them identical. “The Maori word taura, a rope,” he says, “is pure taurus, a bull; roping, or tethering, the bull being the Aryan first use of a rope.” Again, “This word pare, a band for the hair, is derived
from pareho, the head; and this pareho is only our English word ‘brow,’ the forehead. We see this word in two forms in Maori; the Scottish word brae means the brow of a hill, shortened [i.e., I presume the Scottish word is shortened,] in Maori into rae, the forehead, or a headland; again, it [the Scottish word] is lengthened out into pareho, the head.” Here you will see that Mr. Tregear's method enables him at a glance to connect two Maori words by one Scotch one—a result which might have taken the slow historic method an indefinite, perhaps an infinite, time to accomplish. Again, Mr. Tregear says the Maori karapiti, grapple, is [English] grapple; Maori tangai, the bark, is English tan (for dyeing), and tannin; Maori hae, to hate, is (French) häir, and (English) hate; Maori kiri, the hide, is (English) curry, to dress hides; and so on, through a long list.
But Mr. Tregear is, in my opinion, undoubtedly at his best in discovering and describing the Aryan animals known to the Maoris 4,000 years ago, and now only preserved as fossils in their language.
“Knowing,” he says, “that the Maoris were strangers to the sight of certain animals until these were introduced by the Europeans, I resolved to try and find if there was any proof in the verbal composition by which I could trace if they had once been familiar with them.” He looks in the Maori language for what he calls “graft-words,” words like our “lion-hearted,” in which the name of an animal is a component part. He says: “I took the frog as my first subject. There was no Maori word for it, nor an Aryan word until I tried Sanskrit.
“Sanskrit, bheki, the frog. He was [in Maori]:—
“Peke, leaping over.
Pepeke, drawing up his arms and legs.
Tupeke, jumping up.
Hupeke, bending his arms and legs.
Peki, chirping or twittering.
Peke, all gone, without exception.”
He adds: “This was the frog—there could be no doubt of it.” In these six words, then, lies the whole evidence that the Maoris once knew the frog: you will observe that, cogent as the proof is, it is still more compendious. Yet, if I might suggest, and not seem to be gilding refined gold, there is one word more wanted to complete the picture—that is, hikupeke. Now, hiku, you may remember, is the tail of a fish or reptile; peke, we have just seen, is the frog: hikupeke, therefore, must be literally “frog's tail.” But what is the modern meaning of the word? You will see in Williams's Dictionary that it is “to be shortened, so as not to hang down low.” Could you have a more exact or picturesque description of a frog's tail?
He goes on to say: “Encouraged by this I tried the cow. I found kaupare, ‘to turn in a different direction,’ and was struck by its resemblance to (Sans.) go-pala, a herdsman. I looked at kahu, the surface, and found it illustrated by the example, ‘kahu o te rangi.’ At once I recognized the old familiar expression, ‘Cow of heaven,’ a sentence to be met with in every work concerning the Aryans.” A little further on he says, (tracing the natural history of the cow, and its relation to man, in the Maori Dictionary): “The cow was kahui, in herds; kahurangi, unsettled (‘sky-cow,’ moving about like clouds); kakahu, clothes for him (his dress was leather); kauhoa, a litter, (‘cow-friend,’ so they used cattle to ride on); kahupapa, a bridge (a bridge was a ‘flat cow’ on which he crossed streams); kauika, it lay in a heap;” etc.
But though the Maoris used a Sanskrit name for their cow, they “once knew the bull by a word like the Latin taurus, a bull. Tara, he had courage; tarahono, he lay in a heap; [this lying in a heap seems to have been a habit of the Aryan cattle, perhaps peculiar to them]; tararau, he made a loud noise; tararua, he had two points or peaks (horns); tarawai, he broke the horizon line [?]; tareha, he was red; taru, he ate grass; taruke, they lay dead in numbers;” etc. “But well as they knew him by this name, they knew him best,” Mr. Tregear says, “as Latin bos, the bull.” [Hence, as Maori po = Latin bos:] “Pohaka, he ripped up; ponini, was red; powhiri, he whisked his tail;” and others. I will only give one other, but that ought not to be omitted. “There is,” says Mr. Tregear, “a good test-word here—a word so short that we have no extra letters hiding the roots—the word poa. Poa means ‘to allure by bait,’ in modern Maori. If, as I believe, po means bull (bos), then we have only a left. In Sanskrit, aj is to go, or drive, represented by Maori a, to urge or drive. If ‘urge-bull’ is the old word for enticing, alluring by bait, what was it? An Aryan word, the Greek poa, grass, is the exact word. That was what they coaxed the bull with; and in after centuries, when they had forgotten grass as pasture, (only knowing it as weeds), and the animals which fed on it, the old ‘bull-coax’ graft-word was kept for ‘alluring by bait.”’*
I will only now mention one or two other animals, and that briefly, though I am sorry to omit any; for it would well repay the curious to watch whilst, under Mr. Tregear's guidance, the whole Aryan menagerie files out of this ancient, but heretofore unsuspected, Noah's Ark—the Maori language.
The tiger is one of the two animals which have perhaps most severely tried Mr. Tregear's method; but it, too, is subdued and
[Footnote] * I may remark, in the sotto voce of a note, that, according to Liddell and Scott, the Epic form of poa (poie) had one of those inconvenient “extra letters,” besides a different termination.
led out. Mr. Tregear takes as his starting-point the Greek tigris, and he gives as the Maori pronunciation of this, tahika; in this, out of consideration for his reader, he is giving the result, without the difficult intermediate steps which led up to it. It is, I believe, agreed that the Greek iota was sounded like the continental (or Maori) i. If, therefore, a Maori were set to pronounce tigris, he would (or should), I think, say tikiri, or tikirihi, according to the prominence given to the final s. This, however, would embarrass the etymologist, putting him altogether on the wrong track. But there is another, and much more widely known Aryan word for the same animal, our own word “tiger.” Now, if a Maori were set to pronounce the latter, he would certainly say taika, or tahika; which, therefore, (since tigris = tiger in sense, and tiger= tahika in sense and sound), Mr. Tregear legitimately takes as the basis of comparison. He then shows how: Taheke, “he was quick;” tahekeheke, “he was striped;” taheke, “he came down like a torrent;” tahere, “he was ensnared;” and, most desirable if unexpected consummation, tahere, “he hung himself.” It would be historically as well as zoologically interesting to know whether this last statement is to be taken in a special or, as seems to be intended, in a general sense; whether, that is, the practice of suicide was as universal a characteristic of the Aryan tiger as the being striped, or the coming down like a torrent.
The last I will speak of is one which equally, if not in a greater degree, shows the power of Mr. Tregear's method. It is the horse: and he discovers and identifies it by means of a single Maori word, a verb of general meaning; or, as he puts it: “The horse is mentioned but once, and that not as Greek hippos but Latin equus (early pronunciation ekus). The Maori word is eke, to mount a horse; although they had lost the animal, they kept the meaning of this.” Of course, during the interval when they had no horses—by the theory for about 4,000 years—they had to use this verb in a quite general sense for getting upon anything, as on to a mountain, or into a canoe; indeed, the canoe itself was said to eke when it touched the beach—but this only makes the discovery of its secret the more remarkable. And the discovery is not only of interest linguistically, but as showing—can we say, to demonstration?—that the primitive Aryan was a horseman. The Greeks of the time of Homer, I believe, had lost the habit, if not the art, of riding.
Now, in the conclusion of “The Aryan Maori,” Mr. Tregear puts his reader into this dilemma: “The man,” he says, “who has read this book, if not ossified by prejudice, is a man convinced, and a future fellow-labourer.” With only these alternatives before me, I much prefer to be convinced; and so I tender my services, such as they are.
In the first place, then, I will venture to supply two or three
of the more obvious omissions in Mr. Tregear's application of his method.
There are some words in the Maori language which not only throw light upon the old Aryan ways of life and habits of looking at things, but satisfactorily explain some of the commonest, and yet most obscure, expressions in modern Aryan languages—our own especially. Most of us in early youth have been complimented by our elders, perhaps more than once, on having found “a mare's nest:” a singular expression, the force of which we soon learned to appreciate, but the true origin of which, I venture to think, has not hitherto been disclosed. Now, as you are aware, a common Maori word for a nest is kowhanga: What is the etymology of this? Ko, in composition, as Mr. Tregear has taught us, means “cow;” whanga means “to lie in wait,” or say “to lie waiting;” hence kowhanga, a nest, was originally the place where the cow left its young one waiting for it; that is, was the cow's nest. But there is another common word for nest, owhanga. Now, the sheep appears in Maori as o, (allied, Mr. Tregear says, to the Greek ois), by similar reasoning, therefore, owhanga is seen to be “the sheep's nest.” I have not yet found the exact word for a horse's or mare's nest; but who, with these other examples before him, will doubt that it once existed, and only became ridiculous in an age which had forgotten its etymology?
There is another word still more interesting, for it not only explains another common but obscure West Aryan saying, but is proof of an important fact which Mr. Tregear seems to have overlooked—that the Maoris, after first visiting New Zealand, returned to their ancient home before settling here. The saying explained is: “a cock-and-a-bull story;” and the word which explains it is kakapo. This last word is, as you know, the name of a large ground-parrot, now only found in the bush on the west coast of this island. Its name was hitherto thought to signify “night parrot,” in accordance with its nocturnal habits—a satisfactory explanation till the new method revealed the truth. For kaka, it appears, is the Sanskrit form of our word “cock;” po is “a bull:” kakapo, therefore, will mean “the bull-like kaka, or cock.” But the Aryan bull was not so much physically large as morally terrible; and hence, under its Maori name, was, as Mr. Tregear points out, the etymon of our English word “Bo-gey, the demon of darkness.” Now, remembering this, and coupling with it the saying I have quoted, what does this word kakapo reveal, even to the amateur philologist? First, there become visible the adventurous few of those primeval navigators peering into the gloomy recesses of the New Zealand forest, and there for the first time seeing in the dusk this strange bird: not flying, but uncannily marching; not cracking nuts, or eating fruits like a reasonable parrot, but nibbling the grass and herbage like a
quadruped;* “grunting while so doing, if satisfied,” or “uttering a discordant shriek, if irritated;” big naturally, but looking far bigger in the uncertain light; in all ways most impressive to the primitive imagination. Then our voyagers are seen, returning to the family home in Asia; and when they relate there all they have seen, and how, among other strange and wonderful things, there was a kaka-po, “a cock just like a bull,” what wonder if those who had stayed at home, including our Teutonic ancestors, received the narrative with incredulity and ridicule, and so took with them to the West the dim remembrance of this first story about “a Cock and a Bull,” as the very type of a traveller's tale.
Again, whence does our well-known venomous spider get its name, katipo? This might be taken to mean “biting in the night,” perhaps “biting secretly,” the latter, curiously enough, an exact translation of its generic name.† But as a graft-word it might not only mean “bite the bull,” a thing many little animals might do, but “stop the bull,” the very acme of power to an Aryan mind.
Mr. Tregear has pointed out with striking effect that the syllable nga in several Maori words, (ngarara, kapenga, etc.), really stands for naga, “the great serpent” or “crocodile” of the first inhabitants of India; from which, indeed, the latter took their name. The naga seems to have played a very important part in the early history of the Aryans, and hardly less so in the development of Mr. Tregear's theory. But though, as I have said, he has shown us in several cases how nga should be naga, he has omitted some important applications of his own rule. Take, for instance, Maori ngaru, a wave: read it as naga-ru, and its meaning is obvious. Ru is “to shake;” naga-ru, therefore, is the great (sea) serpent shaking himself, and so ruffling the water. But even in the ocean there is one greater than this marine naga. You will remember that the Maori Neptune is called Tangaroa. Why? A mere Maori scholar, I think, would not be able to say: but if you take nga as being naga, it becomes transparent. Ta is “to dash down,” nga is “naga,” roa, “long, great:” Tanagaroa, then, is “he who dashed down (overcame) the great sea serpent.” Could you wish for a sea-god a more appropriate name?
Again, Mr. Tregear cites the proverb, “He koanga tangata tahi, he ngahuru puta noa,” which he translates literally, “At planting, single-handed: at harvest, all around.” Now, as commonly understood, ko is a Maori implement, the analogue of the
spade; hence, koanga, “digging, planting:” but to Mr. Tregear ko, of course, means “cow.” Ngahuru, again, means “ten,’ and here, as commonly understood, “autumn, or harvest time,” (i.e., the tenth month from May or June, the beginning of their year). But Mr. Tregear says: “Huru is exactly the Gothic ulu, the English wool; the word as now used by the Maoris being applied to the hair of an animal, the feathers of a bird, etc., only because they had lost the sheep. Ngahuru, ‘the wools,’ (plural nga), was the sheep harvest, the shearing.” And he proposes the new reading of the proverb: “At cow-herding, one man; at sheep-shearing, many.” But ngahuru, “the wools,” used absolutely, is not a happy phrase, whether in Maori or English. Suppose, however, we take nga in its natural sense of naga, how is it then? Naga being a serpent, or crocodile, nagahuru would mean “snake's wool,” or “crocodile's wool;” and the proverb would run: “At cow-herding, one man; at crocodile-shearing, many.” And who could blame those simple people, if they did come in numbers to see that sight?
A philological Philistine, an unbeliever in the naga theory, might well object that if a Maori tried to say “naga” he would not say “nga”, but “naka,” and that therefore the word, if found at all in Maori, should be found in the latter form. If the justice of this criticism were admitted, the theory would suffer the loss of some most serviceable etymologies, but it would I hope, still survive. For, not only does the word naka appear in Hawaiian, and there mean “trembling, afraid,” but there is in Williams's Dictionary a word disregarded by Mr. Tregear, and that is nakahi, and its meaning is “a serpent.” I am quite aware that even Maoris would assert this was not a Maori word; but seeing that without it the nagas might be driven from New Zealand, just as they were getting established, and a most interesting theory suffer an irreparable loss, could not the new philology, which seems well inclined to adapt itself to the needs of its votaries, be induced to interfere, and to declare it to be an ancient Maori word? For supposing, even, it could be shown that some missionary or other Englishman had, as he thought, introduced the word to represent the English “snake,” what would that have been but reminding our Maori brothers of a word they once knew well but had forgotten?*
[Footnote] * After I had written this, I found that Fornander, (“The Polynesian Race,” iii. p. 244), actually connects the Hawaiian naka with Saxon snaca, a snake; O. H. German sneccho, a snail; and Sanscrit naga, a serpent. In Hawaiian the Maori k disappears, ng becomes n, and t is represented by k: hence Hawaiian naka = Maori ngata, a form not so easily connected with snaca, etc. Evidently, an etymologist who has at command both these forms and feels at liberty, without discussing their relative age and stability, to use the one most suited to the occasion, possesses an instrument of great power.
I hope it will not be thought presumptuous if I suggest that, though Mr. Tregear shows not less than the usual boldness of a pioneer, he yet seems unreasonably timid in the limits he sets to the application of his own method. “It has,” he says, “been asserted lately that the Maoris are children of Abraham. They will have to alter almost every important word in their language before it can be claimed that they are of Semitic parentage. Mauris or Moors they are not.” I should have agreed with him before I had seen his method in use: but I am confident that he has supplied the means of proving that he has altogether under-estimated its power.
I have not a word to say against the Aryan affinity of the Maori or his language. It has been more than once pointed out, and, indeed, is obvious, that if we believe in the original unity of the human race, it is reasonable to suppose, or at least unreasonable to deny, the original unity of human language. But this is a far-reaching argument, and encourages us to look in all directions for our kin. I therefore propose, with the help of Mr. Tregear's method, to show, not that the Maoris are not Aryan, but that they are also Semitic—i.e., Mauri. If I fail, it must be set down to my own incompetence, and not to the insufficiency of the method.
As a first step, then, I would venture to say a few words on the name “Maori,” which (for the purposes of this paper) I would submit should be Mauri.
The word “Maori” is, confessedly, not a noun or a proper name, but an adjective. The Natives are not Maoris, as we call them, but tangata Maori, “Maori people,” as I have been reminded by them, more than once. The word when applied to men is commonly translated “native;” on the other hand, wai maori has to be translated “fresh water.” The same word in Hawaiian, maoli, is said to mean “indigenous,” but also “real, true, genuine.” The latter seems to be the fundamental, or very nearly the fundamental, meaning in both languages. As Dr. Codrington says, in his most instructive work on “The Melanesian Languages” (p. 82): “When a native says that he is a man, he means that he is a man and not a ghost; not that he is a man and not a beast…. There is in the [Mota] language ta-maur, ‘live man,’ as opposed to ta-mate, ‘dead man,’ or ‘ghost;’ no doubt the Fate and Sesake word ta-moli = ta-maur…. In Saa, mauri is ‘to live.”’* The word maori, also, it seems, was used in this way to distinguish the living from the dead man, and the real man from the fabulous or fictitious beings in human shape, such as the Patupaiarehe, the so-called fairies.†
It is consonant with this that Europeans were often, at first sight (and even afterwards), taken for spirits, or beings from another world. Captain Cook, as is well known, was even thought by the Hawaiians to be their god Lono (Maori Rongo). We have, then: maori, maoli, moli (cf. Chatham Islands Moriori), maur, and mauri, all used in substantially the same sense; and this sense—of the word maori as well as of the others—seems to be, “living, not dead,” and so “real, not fictitious;” and it is only a slight extension of the latter meaning to apply it to useful fresh water (wai maori), as opposed to useless sea water (wai tai). Tangata, I presume, originally meant the same as tangata maori, just as wai still commonly means the same as wai maori: the adjective in each case being only added to distinguish the real thing from its spurious rival. And here I may note that Max Müller (Lect. ii., 320) thinks the Latin mare, and other West Aryan names for the sea, meant “dead, barren water” (the French eau morte), as opposed to the living water (l'eau vive) of the running streams.
It seems, therefore, not unreasonable to conclude, provisionally, that Maori and Mauri are variants of one and the same word: which is the more ancient? In New Zealand, Mauri is, commonly at least, a noun, and is said to be “the heart, the seat of (some of) the emotions”—perhaps, rather, the seat of life, spirit, anima; and in this connection may be mentioned a word which looks like the root of it, uri, now used for offspring and, it seems, for other blood relations. Now, it is remarkable that, according to a very high authority, the first man in the Maori cosmogony was called to life with the formula, “Tihe, mauri ora!”—“Sneeze, living Mauri!” Hence, whatever the speaker may have intended by “Mauri,” is it not obviously more ancient than “Maori,” and by far the most appropriate name for primitive man? And if we find an ancient Semitic people known by this very name, are we not entitled to conclude—at least for this evening—not only that they are close kin to, but are indeed the progenitors of, the Maoris?
I will now, to borrow a phrase of Mr. Tregear's, introduce you to two sister tongues, Maori and Arabic; merely premising that I thought if I chose for comparison a language of which I knew only the transliterated alphabet, the power of the method would be the more signally displayed. I need not remind you that, though at one time it was fashionable to derive all human speech from a Semitic source, since the rise of comparative philology the Semitic “roots” were thought too peculiar and too stubborn to allow themselves to be satisfactorily allied with those of any other family. But this difficulty may be left for European philologists; “my task,” as Mr. Tregear said of his own, “is an easier and more delghtful one: you will be able to follow the derivations with ease and pleasure.”
I need only further remind you that Arabic b, g, and l represent Maori p, k, and r; while d will stand for Maori r or t; and s, commonly, for h.*
[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]
|Ard (pl. aradi), earth, ground||Ara, road|
|m-ara, cultivated ground|
Hence the very word “Aryan” appears of Semitic origin.
[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]
|awi, to go to, to reside||awhi, to draw near|
|bab, a gate, a door||papa, a sliding door|
|bahr, the sea||para and its compounds (post)|
|bakbak, noise as of water from bottle or pipe||pakipaki, to clap together, as the hands, or two waves meeting|
|pake, crackle, emit a sharp sound|
|baki, firm||pake, obstinate|
|baraghit, a flea||puruhi, a flea|
This shows how long this little creature has been man's companion.
[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]
|bu, a father||pu, a skilled or wise person|
|ba-kara, a cow or ox||kara-rehe, a quadruped (and see post)|
|bu-k, horn, musical instrument||pu, general name for wind instruments, as pu-torino, a flute|
|darab, drub, thump; this is English||drub|
|gild, the skin||kiri, the skin|
These two are well connected by Torres Island gilit, the skin, which is more related to the one it is less like.
|hubs, a prison; (Eng.) nabs, he||hopu, catch|
|catches; (Lat.) habere, hold|
|hak, to rub||hakihaki, the itch|
|haka, tell||whaka, reply to; whaki, reveal|
|hatab, firewood||hatepe, cut in two, as a tree|
|tata, to split firewood, etc.|
|harir, silk||hara-reke, flax; hari, carry; here, tie|
|har, sultry||hana, glow, give forth heat; hot|
|hara-m, illegal||hara, offence|
|hawa, sound, voice||hawa-ta, mutter|
|haw-a, wind||hau, wind|
|kaba, sullen||kawa, bitter|
|kabih, deformed||kapi, covered up|
|kadah, flint||kara, basaltic stone|
|kahr, force||kaha, strength, power|
|kahhar, powerful||kaha, strong, powerful|
[Footnote] * For the convenience of the reader, I have marked off with hyphens the parts of words material for my purpose.
|kali, ground covered with herbage||kari, an isolated wood; to dig|
|kahweh, coffee||kawa, bitter|
|kawakawa, a pepper tree (Piper excelsum)|
Mr. Tregear says “the Maoris had not learnt to drink kava,” the common Polynesian intoxicant, prepared from the root or leaves of a pepper tree, P. methysticum. If not, why did they call this New Zealand pepper tree by the old name? Moreover, the Rev. R. Taylor, a man who possessed a great deal of curious knowledge respecting the Maoris, is satisfied they carried on the manufacture of kava (or kawa) in New Zealand, and that this appears in the names of certain places, such as Kawaranga, and says that they still chew the root as medicine. In Arabia, we are told, kahweh, or coffee, (the primitive Mauri “kava,”) was looked on as an intoxicant, and as such prohibited by the Koran. It is not surprising that the prohibition was vain, if, as is evident, its use dated from primeval times.
|kalab, insanity||karapa, squinting; often, it is said, connected with cerebral disease|
|ka-mar, the moon||marama, the moon|
|ka-nun, place for fire||ka, burn; tu-nu, roast|
|karar, conclusion, determination||kara, secret plan, conspiracy|
|karrabe, a large flagon||karaha, calabash with wide brim|
|kari-m, generous||ha-kari, a gift|
|katkatat, laughing loud||katakata, laughing often|
|kata,* cut||koti, cut|
|katakutakuta,* cut to pieces||kotikoti, cut to pieces|
|katr, dropping, as water||kato, flow, as a river|
|khata, a mistake||kata, to laugh|
|khatt, mark or line drawn||au-kati, the celebrated boundary line drawn by the King Natives|
|khati, a snner||kati, don't!|
|khudud, cheeks||ngutu, lips|
|kh-alik, creator||ariki, chief|
|kulah, a cap||kura, a head ornament|
|l-ahi-b, flame||ahi, fire|
|lama, shining||rama, a torch|
|ma, water||ma, (in comp.) a branch of a stream|
[Footnote] * A final guttural being untransliterable is omitted.
|maraka, gravy||mara, prepared by steeping in water|
|mad, flow (of the tide)||mate, moving slowly as the tide|
|mabhuh, hoarse||mapu, to pant, to whiz|
|malih, beautiful, agreeable||mari-e, quiet, gentle; hu-mari-e, beautiful|
|m-alik, a king||ariki, a chief|
|malu-kut, omnipotence||maru, power, authority|
|marrih, the planet Mars||maru, the planet Mars*|
|marrih, iron||mari-pi, a knife|
|maram, intention, purpose||marama, clear in mind|
|mat, to die||mate, to die|
|mawt, death||(Lat.) mors (mort-) death|
|na, our||na matou, ours; nana, his|
|nuksan, injury||nuka, deceive|
|rah, go||rara, go in shoals|
|dar, ramble||ko-rara, go in different directions|
|ma-rara, spread about|
|ra-s, the head, head man||ra-e, forehead, headland|
|rakha, the pleasures of life||rakaraka, to scratch|
The pleasures of a primitive people are necessarily simple.
|rami, throw||rami, squeeze|
|sa-dik, true||ka tika, it is true|
|salih, honest||hari, to feel or show gladness|
It speaks well for the morality of the pristine Mauri that they had substantially the same word for honesty and happiness.
|sakat, to fall||taka, to fall|
|sakil, heavy, oppressed with sleep||hakiri, hear or feel indistinctly|
|sana, light, splendour||hana, glowing, warm|
|tabut, a coffin||tapu, as from touching a dead body|
|tadwir, causing to turn in a circle||tawhiri, to whirl round|
|tahkik, truth||(by metathesis) tika, truth|
|taklidi, imitative||takariri (with whaka), vexatious (as by imitating or mocking)|
|takht, a bed||takoto, to lie down|
|tahnit, burying with odours||tanu, to bury|
|tahrik, provocation||taritari, to provoke|
|takai, wrapper, covering|
|takkayah, pillow||takaia, wrapped or rolled up|
[Footnote] * See “Te Ika a Maui,” second edition, p. 138.
|tal, an eminence, high ground||tara, a peak|
|takalluf, inconvenience||takarure, to be listless|
|taraf, flap, anything dangling||tarawa, hung up, dangling|
|tarakhi, proceeding slowly||tarakihi, a cicala; anyone who has watched this insect will know how slowly it proceeds|
|tanin, a sharp sound||tangi, cry, make a sound|
|tannin, a large serpent||taniwha, a monstrous reptile|
|tawali, continuation, succession||tawari, almost broken off|
|tawariwari, bending from side to side|
|tawb, a great gun||tau, report of a gun|
|tawhim, giving what is desired to eat||tawhi, food|
|tawhe-d, unity||awhi, embrace|
|turak, forsake, forego||turaki, throw or push down|
|tut, a mulberry||tutu, a shrub with mulberry-coloured fruit|
|tuwani, delay, slowness||tuwhana, urge, incite|
|warak, leaf of a tree or book||wharangi, a broad-leaved shrub; the leaf of a book|
|wa-kt, time, season||w-a, time, season|
|wata-d, stake, paling||ti-watawata, a palisade*|
This list might, of course, be indefinitely extended, but these are enough. I will, however, take two or three of them a little more in detail.
Mr. Tregear says he has traced the word ariki, chief, “in every Aryan tongue”—a most creditable feat, apart from its intrinsic difficulty, seeing that there are said to be some forty of these languages living, and some twenty of them dead. He gives, however, only four or five examples:—“In Gaelic it is ardrigh, high king; in old Slavonic, zary; in Greek, arke†, chief, archon, a chief magistrate; in English archangel, arch deacon, (arke-diaconos*) from the Greek.” Now, ardrigh, zary, and archon may no doubt be considered like ariki, but not more like, I think, than Arabic Kh-alik, creator, and M-alik, a king, especially if, as is required in Maori, you vocalize the final k: while if you
[Footnote] * This I understand to be its meaning in the Whakaaraara pa, the chant of the sentinel to keep the garrison alert:—
“Tenei te pa,
Tenei te tiwatawata
Tenei te aka te houhia nei
Ko roto ko au, e, e, e!
[Footnote] “Here is the fortress, here is the palisading, and here the creeper that binds it, whilst inside am I!”
[Footnote] Archdeacon Williams gives tiwata, but without assigning a meaning.
[Footnote] † This, I think, is not the ordinary spelling of this word.
want the very word itself (l, as often, being substituted for r) you will find it in the Agáwi of Abyssinia—a language which is at least claimed as Semitic, and in which a chief is called aliki.
Next, I will take the Arabic bahr, “the sea.” This word evidently points to a primitive Mauri form, para; and it is precisely the latter which appears in many modern Maori “graftwords” descriptive of or relating to the sea: Parauri, “it was dark-coloured;” pararahi, “it was spread out flat;” but was liable to parará, “sudden and violent gusts of wind;” when it showed on its surface parahi, “steep slopes;” and, parare, “made a great noise.” It not only appears in the names of fishes, and of the sperm whale (paraoa), but even in that of food itself, pararé, and paraparahanga; while the simple form duplicated, parapara, meant the “first-fruits of fish,” and (consequently?) “a sacred place.” A flood was, not inappropriately, called parawhenua, “sea (on) land.”
But there is a still more important word of this group, strangely overlooked by Mr. Tregear when discussing the meaning of Bharata, the ancient name for India—and that is Parata. Now, who or what was Parata? One of the highest authorities we have on these matters, Mr. John White, says: “The Maoris account for the tides in the following manner: There is, in the deepest part of the ocean, a god, son of Tangaroa, called Parata, who is such a monster that he only breathes twice in twenty-four hours; when he inhales his breath it is ebb-tide, and when he exhales his breath it is flood-tide.”* And it is he who also causes the whirlpool, which the Maoris call “Te waha o te Parata,” or “Te korokoro o te Parata”—“the mouth (or throat) of Te Parata.”† He was, therefore, the ocean—at least in its aspects of power—personified, or rather, deified. Now, remembering this, and that the ancient Mauri must certainly have been an eminently seafaring race—or their descendants would not now be found in islands as far apart as Madagascar, Hawaii, and New Zealand—it would surely not be surprising that, on arriving by sea in India, they should have given to that country the name of the deity whose power they had often experienced, and called it Parata, since corrupted into Bharata.
I have shown that Mr. Tregear points out and developes with surprising effect the “graft-words” which he finds in Maori relating to cattle, especially those containing kau and ko, meaning “cow,” and po and tara, “bull.”
The more ancient word, however, for cattle, appears to be kar or kara, preserved in the Arabic ba-kara, “cow or ox”; in
Maori as kara-rehe, “quadruped,” and in many others given below; and, though a good deal mutilated in English, still in its essential part both in sound and spelling preserved for us in “calf.”
A little while since, no one would have thought of looking in the Maori language for a life-history of those ancient cattle, but a competent method can discover and reveal it. Let us first take this word kara as meaning “cow:” then, karawa, she became a dam (lit. “cow-mother”); and, afraid of losing her calf, karangata, remained silent when called; but karaua, “the old man” (cow-herd), with kararehe, his dog (lit. “cow-beast”) karapoti, “surrounded (and caught) her;” and karatiti “fastened her with pegs,” i.e., tethered her; whereupon, karangi, she “became restless,” and karangaranga “bellowed frequently.”
Then, taking it as meaning oxen: karamuimui, they “were in swarms,” and fed upon karamu and karangu, the “cow-trees” of the settlers; but karapiti, they were “fastened side by side,” (i.e., “were yoked together,” an important fact) and karawhiu, “the whirling thing” (lit. “cattle-whip,”) being applied, they showed karawarawa, “weals or stripe-marks;” finally, karapipiti, they were laid “side by side,” karahu, in “an oven;” and karakape, “hot coals and stones being taken up with two sticks,” kakara, they became very “savory.”
Of the other cattle-words, I will only mention one, karaha, “a wide-mouthed calabash,” which, coming from the same root, shows that their first drinking vessels were of leather.
All this is of great interest, especially as showing that the ancient Mauri used their cattle for draught purposes, and made free use of their flesh for food; and, therefore, that we have here evidence of their language and customs long anterior to the Aryan worship of the cow. And this fact confirms the opinion of most philologists that any common origin of the Aryan and Semitic languages must be of the most remote antiquity.
The rhinoceros, kar-kand, we may assume, is named from the same root; like the horse, “it is only mentioned once in Maori.” Mr. Tregear rightly claims, as an epithet of the bull, the word tararua, “the two-horned;” he will, I am sure, willingly concede that taratahi, “the one-horned,” could apply to nothing but the rhinoceros.
I will only here refer to one other word, the Arabic tannin, “a great serpent,” the same in origin as the Maori taniwha, “a great water monster.” Mr. Tregear, I am glad to say, has already recognized the Aryo-Semitic nature of the taniwha, by connecting it on the one hand with the Sanskrit tan, “stretched out,” and on the other with the Hebrew Leviathan. By the introduction of the great Arabian serpent, the happy family is now complete.
These, then, are my contributions, such as they are, towards the wider application of Mr. Tregear's method. In return, I hope I may ask that he will furnish his followers with better means than they yet have of answering objections which unbelievers are sure to make. Some will insist, and with a good deal of authority on their side, that the primary test of relationship in languages is in their grammars, and not in their vocabularies. Others will require more evidence of relationship in vocabulary than the mere juxtaposition in opposite columns of series of words more or less similar.
On the latter point, I confess, after what I had been doing myself, I felt a good deal uneasy on reading the following passages in Professor Whitney's “Life and Growth of Language,” pp. 267 and 312:—“The changes of linguistic usage are all the time separating in appearance what really belongs together: bishop and évêque are historically one word; so are eye and auge; so are I and je and ik and egón and aham; though not one of them has an audible element which is found in any other. And then the same changes are bringing together what really belongs apart; the Latin locus, and Sanskrit lokas, ‘place, room,’ have really nothing to do with one another, though so nearly identical and in closely related languages; likewise Greek holos, and English whole, and so on. We may take the English language (as too many do) and compare it with every unrelated dialect in existence, and find a liberal list of apparent correspondences, which, then, a little study of the English words will prove unreal and fallacious…. The whole process of linguistic research begins in and depends upon etymology, the tracing out of the histories of individual words and elements…. On accuracy in etymological processes, then, depends the success of the whole; and the perfecting of the methods of etymologizing is what especially distinguishes the new linguistic science from the old. The old worked upon the same basis on which the new now works—namely, on the tracing of resemblances or analogies between words in regard to form and meaning. But the former was hopelessly superficial. It was guided by surface likenesses, without regard to essential diversity which might underlie them—as if the naturalist were to compare and class together green leaves, green wings of insects, green paper, and green laminæ of minerals; it was heedless of the source whence its material came: it did not, in short, command its subject sufficiently to have a method. A wider knowledge of facts, and a consequent better comprehension of their relations, changed all this. Especially the separation of languages into families, with their divisions and subdivisions, the recognition of non-relationships and relationships, and degrees of relationship, effected the great revolution by changing the principles on which the probable value of
particular evidences is estimated. It was seen that, whereas a close verbal resemblance between two nearly related tongues has the balance of probabilities in its favour, one between only distantly related tongues, or those regarded as unrelated, has the probabilities against it…. There are, in short, two fundamental rules, under the government of which all comparative processes must be carried on:—(1.) Comparisons must have in view established lines of genetic connection; and (2) the comparer must be thoroughly and equally versed in the materials of both sides of the comparison. For want of regard to them, men are even yet filling volumes with linguistic rubbish, drawing wide and worthless conclusions from unsound and insufficient premises.”
It is, I suppose, undeniable that the principles here laid down are thoroughly sound. The concluding language is strong, but not too strong where it applies; and we ought to be put in a position to show that it does not apply to what I have called the new, but ought to have called the newest, method.
And it is not only the charge of “insufficient premises” we may have to meet. For it may be further objected that, while in many cases the evidence is insufficient or altogether wanting, in many others what evidence there is tends in the wrong direction.
Take, for instance, the statement already quoted: “The Maori kiri, ‘the hide,’ is English curry, ‘to dress hides.”’ The identity, I presume, is declared upon such similarity as there is between them on the surface; what is the evidence against it? Kiri, “the skin,” is a very widely-spread, and therefore ancient, Polynesian and Melanesian word. What is “curry”? According to Skeat, following Littré, it is from old French con-roi, “gear, preparation;” a hybrid word, made by prefixing con (= Lat. cum) to old French roi, order; but this roi is itself of Scandinavian origin, from Danish rede, “order,” or “to set in order.” It forms the second part of the word ar-ray: to “curry favour” is a corruption of to “curry favel,” to rub down, or get ready a horse, of which favel was an old name. Now, if kiri was an original Maori word, whilst curry was coined in Europe within historic times, it is evident that their identity can only be by virtue of some extension of the doctrine of “pre-established harmony” well worth elucidation.
Again, Maori rawhi, “to seize,” and rawe, “snatch,” are coupled with old English ravin, “to obtain by violence,” and raven, “a greedy bird.” But, according to Littré and others, ravin comes from Latin rapina, whilst raven, Max Müller says, is from Sanskrit root RU (a general word for sounds of all kinds); so that, it would seem, if we looked to find through the Sanskrit a Maori relative for the raven, it should be not rawe or rawhi, but ruru, “the little owl.” If, on the other hand, we were to
follow Skeat, who derives raven from a root KRAP, also expressive of sound, we should have to give up the ruru; but, with the initial k, we should be still farther than before from the others.
I have mentioned that Mr. Tregear says “the Maori taura, a rope, is pure taurus, a bull;” but he seems to have overlooked the fact that taura itself occurs in Latin, and as a feminine form: I have even heard of its being translated “a female bull.” The translation involves difficulties of its own, but is valuable as suggesting a possible relationship with the extreme West Aryan or Irish “bulls.” I will only add that the Greek and Latin forms of the word, tauros and taurus, seem, according to Skeat, and Liddell and Scott, to have lost an initial s, the root being STU; so that, in this respect, the English word steer, which is from the same root, is the older.
Again, the Maori taitea, “fearful, timid,” is coupled with (Gr.) deido, I fear. But it will be said, and I think truly, that taitea is really two words, tai and tea, (each of which enters freely into composition with many others), and that in any case its obvious meaning is its original meaning, “the white part” (i.e., the sapwood) of a tree; as in the proverb, “Ruia te taitea, kia tu ko taikaka anake,” or shortly, “Ruia taitea, waiho taikaka”—“Throw away the sap, that the heart only may be left,” i.e., “Put the common people out of it, and let chiefs only take part.” The meaning is the same, but the verbal antithesis is more obvious, if taikura, “the red (or brown) part,” is substituted for taikaka. I may add that kaikea in Hawaiian is the same word, and has the same meaning of “sap-wood,” from its whiteness. It seems reasonable, therefore, to suppose that if the dark-coloured, durable heart of the tree represented the competent man, or chief, the light-coloured perishable sap would represent incompetence in various forms, including certainly timidity. If taitea is to be etymologically connected with deido, the root of which is DI, it should, I presume, be through this root. But which half of the composite taitea are we to connect with it? Remembering the compounds of each, the choice is evidently embarrassing.*
Again, Sanskrit dubdha, “doubt,” is compared with Maori tupua, which, as an adjective, Archdeacon Williams translates “strange,” and Mr. Tregear adds, without giving his authority, “uncertain.” Does its use as a substantive help to connect it with “doubt”? It means demon, or taniwha, i.e., a water monster. And it is to be noted that the word appears also as tipua,
[Footnote] * It might be thought that tea, “light-coloured,” would naturally connect itself with fear, but, on the principle that a good horse cannot be of a bad colour, the akatea, the “white (barked) creeper,” is from its durability taken as an emblem of strength and excellence, e.g., “Rangitihi te upoko i takaia ki te akatea.”
and in that form makes the distinctive part in the name of the well-known southern lake, the so-called Whakatipu (not to mention the still more favoured “Wakatip!”) which, as was long since pointed out, (by Dr. Shortland, I believe), should be Whakatipua, i.e., Whangatipua, “the creek (or lake) of the monster,” an appropriate name, as he, I think, suggests, in the days of canoe navigation.
“Another most interesting word,” says Mr. Tregear, “reo, ‘speech or language,’ has its exact equivalent in the Greek rheo. Rheo meant ‘to flow swiftly:’ as a river word we find it in the Rhine, Rhone, etc.; in New Zealand we find it as re-re, ‘a waterfall.’ But there was another meaning for rheo, that of ‘speaking quickly.’ From the Anglo-Saxon form, reord, came our English word ‘to read’; so that two English words (‘read’ and ‘rhetoric’) have Maori brotherhood through reo, ‘speech.”’ But, according to Liddell and Scott, rheo, “flow,” is from root SRU, whence our word “stream,” the s being lost in Greek and Latin: while rheo, say, and “rhetoric,” (or, rather, the latter, for the former is a supposed word), is from root ER or VER, whence also apparently, or from a nearly allied root, come Latin verbum, and our “word;” “read,” on the other hand, according to Skeat, is from the root RADH. If this is so, our poor reo, being equally related to them all, will surely be left in the midst of these three roots, SRU, VER, and RADH—a reo nanu; a “much mixed,” and (perhaps in a somewhat new sense) “confused” reo—like a donkey between three equally tempting, but far apart, bundles of hay.
I will only take one more word, and that as illustrating the difference between “the method of insight” and “the method of investigation.” The word is the Maori rakau, a tree. It is treated by Mr. Tregear in this way: “Sanskrit, ruhk (Pali rukkho), a tree, Maori rakau, a tree”—and that is all: the reader is supplied with that amount of objective information, the rest he is by the theory expected to supply himself. Dr. Codrington also has occasion to treat of the same word. He shows that it is composed of two roots RA and KAU, and he traces these through a large number of island languages, which his investigations have shown to be related.* The latter, KAU, he says, appears in 28 out of the 33 words given by Mr. Wallace for the Malay Archipelago; and in 37 out of 40 of his own Melanesian list. It is therefore most widely spread, and of extreme antiquity. The form varies remarkably, from kayu, hayu, kasu, hazu, kau, hau, kai, ngai, down to ai and ei, and even, Dr. Codrington believes, to ie—a very long way from the beginning,
[Footnote] * “Melanesian Languages,” p. 95. I hope it will not be thought presumptuous in an outsider to express the opinion that this work will mark an epoch in Polynesian philology, by showing the fundamental relation between the Polynesian and Melanesian languages.
but by appreciable steps. He adds: “It must be observed that in many words this [root kau] is compounded with some other, as Maori rakau, Santa Maria regai, the Mota tangae, the Duke of York diwai, San Cristoval hasie, Nengone sere-ie, Ambrym and Ceram liye, and lyeii. In the case of some of these, the natives who use them are well aware they are compound words. Thus, in Mota, mol is a native orange, and properly describes the thorn; tan-mol is the trunk and body of the tree; tan ngae is the tree regarded in the same way, ngae being the tree and tan the bulk of it. The Santa Maria people explain regai in the same way—re is the bulk, ngai the tree. Thus, the Maori rakau is explained.”*
If you look at the amount of labour implied in Dr. Codrington's treatment of this one word, you will agree that the one defect of the method of investigation lies in its not being “delightfully easy.”
In conclusion, I should like to make a practical suggestion, with little, if anything, that is new in it, and yet one that ought to be constantly repeated. It is clear that—whether Mr. Tregear's method is held to be scientifically sound, and therefore deserving of far wider application, or to need radical remodelling before it should be applied at all—it can, in regard to the Maori language, be as successfully applied by those who are not in New Zealand as by those who are, and in a hundred years as now: we might be deferring the good day, yet it would be only deferred. But there is one thing which, if not done now—within a very few years—and by us in New Zealand, will never be done at all—I mean the getting upon record all that is as yet unrecorded of the Maoris, their history,† life and language. The race, I trust, will survive as long as ours, or at least until it becomes merged in ours, but the peculiar knowledge of the race is perishing every day; the old men die, and there are hardly any, perhaps none, instructed as they were to take their place. This is no doubt inevitable, from the contact of the great majority of them with us and our ways. Think only of the difference in their habits of life and of thought, even of language, implied in their ability to buy such things as steel tools, clothing, and lucifer matches, instead of having to supply their place by their own peculiar skill and industry. Again, the spread of Christianity, of course, discredited and then practically abolished
[Footnote] * I would ask: Is the likeness between the San Cristoval hasie, and Maori and Hawaiian wahie, “firewood,” only accidental? If not, and Dr. Codrington's series in ie is continuous with the other, there are apparently in Maori two forms of the same word as wide apart as wahie and rakau.
[Footnote] † The forthcoming work of Mr. John White—his magnum opus, I feel sure I may say—should leave little to be desired on this branch of the subject.
their priests—“a professionally learned class”—and all the learning, the ceremonies and formulæ, connected with their so-called religion, with the tapu and witchcraft, with war, and with almost all the ordinary occupations of life, exist now in the memory of comparatively few. In short, all that constituted the differentia of the Maori people—that which, as expressed in speech and life, distinguished them from all other peoples—is surely and rapidly passing away. It is not in the least likely that this peculiar knowledge will be handed on as of old, except in fragments here and there; and the only sure way of preserving such parts as are not already on record, is by an immediate and systematic search.
Take only the question of vocabulary. Archdeacon Williams' Dictionary (a work for which every student of Maori must be grateful, and to which throughout this paper I have been largely indebted) contains, on a rough estimate, about 7,000 words; Andrews' Hawaiian Dictionary contains about 15,500 words. Now, there is no reason to suppose either that the whole of the Hawaiian words are in Andrews' work, or that the Maori language is less copious than the Hawaiian. In this department alone, therefore, making all allowances, there is an immense work to be done; and it will take many helpers, working for a long time, to do it effectively.
I would, therefore, particularly ask whether some organized effort in this direction is not possible?—some organization for bringing into relation with each other all who are interested in the matter, and are, in any way, qualified to help? Whether this could best be done through the Societies, who might appoint “Maori Committees,” or by a separate organization having its head-quarters, say, at Auckland or Wellington, but in any case with local branches, and with corresponding members wherever there are Maoris to be found—I would not presume to say. But, looking from an ethnologic and linguistic standpoint, there is a great work yet to be done, and there is yet the opportunity, and I believe the means, of doing it, if those who are competent will only take the matter up.