Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|Subject:||'Puhoi' a word that survived time|
I'm having problems recognizing the word ''puhoi'' as Maori in origin. I have two theories. One involves my Romanian heritage. The other one involves an Indo-European language with intricate turnout in regards to this particular word. In Romanian (and I am including Old Romanian, or ancient Dacian words that survived history into modern times), ''puhoi'' means floods. It is a highly-contextualized term to refer to the effect of hard sudden rain flooding villages especially villages close to the mountains. From an official website of the town Puhoi located in New Zealand, the word ''puhoi'' (spelled and pronounced the same as in Romanian) means ''slow water'' and it is claimed as Maori in origin. However, the town Puhoi was first established by a group of Bohemians who settled there in 1863. From a linguistic point of view, I found out that the Maori tribes in that particular region had already lost their vernacular. They were speaking some kind of English at the time the Bohemians came. How come they would claim the word ''puhoi'' is Maori, then? I am at an impasse. If anyone could help me understand this word could mean two opposite things (flood versus slow water), I appreciate it mostly. Thank you.
Just to add that you are wrong to say that the Maori were no longer speaking Maori when the Bohemians settled in Puhoi. Maori can be heard in the area to this day: it's a beautiful place with fine cheese!
The Bohemians of Puhoi spoke German, so Romanian is irrelevant. But in any case, many languages have accidentally similarities. For example, the Malay word for 2, 'dua', is very similar to the Latin! Total chance.
|Reply From:||Anthea Fraser Gupta click here to access email|