hey, h-bomb was my line
January 3, 2010 § Leave a comment
Now that barring an appeal, Wanganui will officially become Whanganui, more toponymic issues are dotting the New Zealand landscape, this time in the South Island/Te Wai Pounamu
Lake Hawea is set to become Lake Haawea … i.e., replacing _a_ with a with a macron on top indicating a long vowel in the original Maaori translation … this here blog thingy won’t let me macronise vowels, sorry.
Not only that, the first _a_ in nearby Wanaka, both lake and town, might also get a hat on top, and Wakatipu, the jewel in the Central Otago crown might find itself like Wanganui with an _h_. The Ngai Tahu dialect of Maaori, like the dialect of the downriver owners of the Whanganui River, does not have the /f/ pronunciation for the phoneme represented by the digraph, _wh_. Like the North Island to-do, we might see arguments about local versus ‘standard’ Maaori pronunciation as well as ‘no written record before contact’ and economic arguments against the change.