A recent study has discovered that non-fluent speakers of te reo Māori, the Māori language, can identify an average of 70 Māori words, but may not be able to define all of them.
The research assessed the word knowledge of non-Māori speakers and involved identifying and defining Māori words. The study aimed to measure participants’ passive and active knowledge of the language, revealing the extent of their vocabulary and understanding.
While participants could recognize numerous words, defining them posed a challenge. The study suggests that increasing exposure to the Māori language, even without speaking it, contributes to building knowledge.
Language initiatives like the Māori Language Movement are seen as essential for fostering cultural understanding and appreciation.