Page:A Grammar and Vocabulary of the Language of New Zealand.djvu/12

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PREFACE.

The furtherance of the Mission, sent out to New Zealand, for the double purpose of civilizing and evangelizing the Natives of that country, was the general object for which this work was undertaken.

The particular objects therefore kept in view in this compilation, were, in the first place, to make it useful to the New Zealanders themselves; and, in the second, to their Teachers—the Missionaries and Settlers.

With respect to the New Zealanders, care has been taken to represent their language in a manner as simple and unembarrassed as the nature of the subject and materials would admit. In doing this, the first point aimed at, was, to make the Alphabet[1] as simple and comprehensive as possible, by giving the vowels and consonants such names and powers as were not likely to be burthensome to the memory or perplexing to the understanding: and for this end, the division into vowels, diphthongs, and consonants, as well as the names of each, as laid down in the Sanscrit Grammars, has been preferred; though the scantiness of the New-Zealand sounds has made it impracticable to follow their arrangement in every particular: it was not possible to illustrate every sound by English examples: some are therefore left to be learnt from the mouths of Natives[2].

The next thing presented for the use of the New Zealander, is the Table of Syllables, which extends from page 2 to 8; and which, upon being well inculcated in the Schools, cannot fail of giving the learner a clear

  1. If I do not much mistake, the X should have been omitted in the Table, as no instance occurs in which it has been used.
  2. There is one peculiarity in the pronunciation of the New-Zealand Language, which should here be noticed, and which could not be marked in the Alphabet. When two vowels concur, the combined sound becomes that of the English sh, ex. gr. E óngi, A salute, is pronounced Shóngi; and so of every other combination, in which the indefinite article e precedes a vowel. This appears to me a phænomenon in the history of speech; and, as the introduction of sh in such cases, either in the Dialogues or the Vocabulary, would have brought with it great confusion, it has been thought proper to omit it, and to mention it here.