Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The witless on the pitiless

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to Che Tibby,

    might just be the same quandary as well-heeled hipsters in Che t-shirts.

    Good comparison. (And I say that as someone who long ago owned a Che shirt as a popular culture statement rather than a political one.) Che Guevara was a thug -- although not on the millennial scale of Bin Laden.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18520 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard, in reply to linger,

    (i) if you’ve borrowed the word into English, then you’re under no obligation to keep the macron; this is consistent with the disappearance of accent marks on French borrowings such as deja vu.

    I wasn't aware that the diacritical marks had disappeared from déjà vu. I'd certainly use them, except in a very quick message on a system that didn't easily let me add them.

    Accents are important on English words that are derived from other languages: a café is different from a cafe. And in Māori macrons are even more vital, since there are many more opportunities for meanings to change. It's just a pity that the scholars and missionaries chose a diacritical mark that's less common in European languages, and hence has become difficult to type on most computer systems.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    The comparison to Te Kooti seems particularly inapt

    Te Kooti wasn’t always polite to women and children either.
    Just worth noting.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1437 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Anyone who sees Bin Laden in those terms simply doesn't understand what he believed.

    Sat in Indonesia in a barber's shop a few years back. After the haircut the barber traditionally pulls out a cut-throat razor, shaves you and then tidies up all the edges - rather wonderfully, and it's quite a treat to have a haircut in a small local joint. This time, however, as he was sharpening the blade on the leather strop I looked up and saw a large picture of Osama pinned on the ceiling, grinning down at me.

    I excused myself from the last part of the grooming, quickly paid and went to the car.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3201 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome, in reply to Tom Beard,

    +1 to Mr. Beard about the macron.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 401 posts Report Reply

  • R A Hurley, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    Murderous and a thousand other things, yes. An idiot? Perhaps not – he achieved huge parts of what he wanted to achieve.

    That's a fair point. Somewhat imprecise of me. I do feel comfortable calling him an idiot, though. In much the same way I feel comfortable calling creationists and abortion clinic bombers idiots. His religious beliefs are similarly deranged and ridiculous, and for them to have guided his actions to the extent they clearly did suggests a worrying lack of critical thought.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 55 posts Report Reply

  • alobar,

    a café is different from a cafe

    so whats the difference between a Maori and a Māori ?

    auckland • Since Apr 2010 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby, in reply to alobar,

    so whats the difference between a Maori and a Māori ?

    in the employment market, about $30k per annum. </serious>

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2024 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome, in reply to alobar,

    Well, the tāngata whenua of this place are the Māori. No idea what these "Maori" people keep writing about, though. It's a common word and I've come to think that it means the writer doesn't know how to spell key words in one of the country's official languages.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 401 posts Report Reply

  • alobar, in reply to HORansome,

    you must have a terrible time trying to decipher the average text message then

    auckland • Since Apr 2010 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    a café is different from a cafe

    , through meaning evolution and/or cultural appropriation.
    But I’d also note that the meaning used in English of “person belonging to an ethnic group distinct from European settlers and indigenous to Aotearoa/New Zealand” was not the original meaning of the source word within te reo (= ’normal’). *shrug*

    (Though I take the point – there is an argument to make about whether the cultural appropriation [as signalled by the loss of diacritics] is appropriate.)

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 855 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard, in reply to HORansome,

    No idea what these "Maori" people keep writing about, though. It's a common word and I've come to think that it means the writer doesn't know how to spell key words in one of the country's official languages.

    Or, to be fair, that they can't find it in the Character Map application or don't know that it's &#257; in HTML. Or that it gets mangled by your braindead word processor or CMS. It may be much easier in many workplaces than it was when I was at TPK 5 years ago, when even for an organisation with a Māori kaupapa it was a nightmare trying to get consistency.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard, in reply to linger,

    I'm generally happy to go with the Māori Language Commission on this.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • alobar, in reply to Tom Beard,

    followed your link and read...

    "The following is a set of writing conventions that the Māori Language Commission recommends be observed by writers and editors of Māori language texts"


    sorry I didn't realize we were discussing a Māori language text

    auckland • Since Apr 2010 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Drifting off - slightly - on a tangent, I think Lawrence Wright today in The New Yorker is a must read:

    It’s the end of the Second World War, and the United States is deciding what to do about two immense, poor, densely populated countries in Asia. America chooses one of the countries, becoming its benefactor. Over the decades, it pours billions of dollars into that country’s economy, training and equipping its military and its intelligence services. The stated goal is to create a reliable ally with strong institutions and a modern, vigorous democracy. The other country, meanwhile, is spurned because it forges alliances with America’s enemies.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3201 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to R A Hurley,

    In much the same way I feel comfortable calling creationists and abortion clinic bombers idiots.

    I'd prefer delusional with varying degrees of dangerous added as the depth of delusion increases.

    But I take your point :)

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3201 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard, in reply to alobar,

    sorry I didn't realize we were discussing a Māori language text

    Though the very fact that they write it "Māori" in an English language text seems to indicate that they consider it appropriate to do so.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    We are arguing about strokes of ink in a language while discussing the death of a goon who is responsible for how many deaths???? Pick a number.

    I don't really think there is any difference with how the seals killed him or how the 1700 suicide bombers in Iraq did their job. The bombers were made sure they knew who their target was, the seals certainly did too. The bombers will get their 72 virgins, the seals will get their USA medal. On a personal scale, both parties probably think they got a good deal. But at least the seals get to wake up afterwards.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1479 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to DeepRed,

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4063 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Tom Beard,

    Yes; that's what I meant by "official support" above.
    I don't think we actually disagree here; if you're in a computer environment that allows it, and if you need to distinguish different words in te reo Māori, then the macron is the recommended solution. In other computer environments, then, as you've stated, other workarounds may be necessary (given that if you're using te reo Māori, you still really do need to mark length somehow).

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 855 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to HORansome,

    Well, the tāngata whenua of this place are the Māori. No idea what these “Maori” people keep writing about, though. It’s a common word and I’ve come to think that it means the writer doesn’t know how to spell key words in one of the country’s official languages.

    I’m more convinced by the practical argument that the long or short vowel sound can distinguish two words that are spelled identically otherwise. Other writers get around this by using the double “a”.

    Oddly enough, we can only have this discussion about daily use because the technology has improved to enable it, and allow the Maori Language Commission to recommend the use of the macron.

    And it’s far from universal. Mana magazine, for example, doesn’t use the macron or the double-a. Waatea News uses the double-a for its name, but not to spell “Maori”, or a macron. Maori News Online uses neither. But Maori Television even has the macron in its logo.

    So I’m not sure you can go as far as telling people they can’t spell their own language.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18520 posts Report Reply

  • R A Hurley, in reply to Ross Mason,

    I don’t really think there is any difference with how the seals killed him or how the 1700 suicide bombers in Iraq did their job... The bombers will get their 72 virgins, the seals will get their USA medal.

    Two things:
    One: The bombers will, in point of fact, not get 72 virgins.
    Two: It bothers me that you see these two things as in any way equivalent.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 55 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Russell Brown,

    So I’m not sure you can go as far as telling people they can’t spell their own language.

    It's far from uncommon in English around here...

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 799 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Bin Laden who? These macron wars are far more interesting? Can I have my macron with cheese?

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Righto, I’ve amended the intro for clarity and accuracy, and added a note that I’d changed it:

    Isn't that what Hone himself did, ammended and apologised? ;)
    As you were....

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5924 posts Report Reply

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