Eating with friends

As we come to the end of another academic year, I dedicate this post to my students. Despite occasionally appearing as fodder in posts such as this, the enthusiasm and humour you bring to class every day is what keeps me going. Nei rā te mihi ki a koutou katoa.

Being the good little kaiako I am, I decided to spend a few sessions going through all the different uses of ‘i‘ and ‘ki‘ with my students, just to clear up those wee areas they weren’t sure about. Most of the uses were already familiar so I let them create little stories using as many different ‘i‘ and ‘ki‘ as they could.

Which is when the taniwha familiar to every te reo teacher reared its head. This taniwha is called “When-Knowing-English-Screws-Up-Learning-Māori” and this is what the taniwha said:

I haere au ki te toa ki te hoko kai ki te kurī.

Hmm. Interesting.

Now the first two ki are spot on. The first is a direction/destination, the second is a subsequent action. But the third stumped me completely; did they intend to say ‘to give to’ or ‘for’? Nope, nothing so complex.

I went to the shop to buy food with the dog.

Oh taniwha, what a silly wee creature you are. As a general rule shops don’t accept dogs as payment, you have to buy food with money.

This use of ki does mean with but it’s a very particular kind of with – it’s only used for the implement that you do something with, e.g. you write with a pen, blow your nose with a tissue (or sleeve), and eat with a knife and fork.

English does not suffer from such constraint. You can write with passion, blow your nose with a loud noise, and eat with friends… hmm, well that one evokes a particularly gross image.

Ka kai ahau ki ōku hoa.
I eat with my friends.

Ka kai tahi mātou ko ōku hoa ki ngā paoka.
My friends and I eat together with forks.

Ktk!

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