W(h)anganui: Place Names

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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Belial » Tue Oct 06, 2009 3:52 pm UTC

So not going to have that discussion right now.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Vaniver » Tue Oct 06, 2009 3:58 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Does it matter? Is that even up to you? They *asked*. When it comes to "doing things for the maori people" complying with *direct requests with little to no cost* probably falls under "least we could do"

And by the same token "refusing to comply with direct requests with little to no cost" would probably go down as "arbitrary and willful dickishness"
Let's say that you accidentally run over someone's mailbox. You feel terrible, they feel terrible, you offer reparations of some sort. Is there a meaningful difference between the following two options?
1. You run over your mailbox.
2. You buy them a new mailbox.


Hopefully you see a difference; vengeance is different from reparations, despite the fact that in both situations you are made equally worse off (neglecting any damage to your car from running over a second mailbox), and one could reasonably refuse to the first and accept the second.

So, estimate the cost to each resident of Wanganui for going through with a name change. It would be nice if you did an actual estimate, too, instead of just assuming it's little to no cost. There are signs that need to be repainted, forms that need to be changed, bureaucracies that need to be updated, and, yes, business cards that need to be reprinted- not to mention any inconvenience to the postal system. Then estimate the benefit to the Maori population. Oh, and if you're including psychological benefit to the Maoris, wouldn't it be fair to include any psychological damage to the 80% of voting residents of Wanganui?

It isn't nice to deny requests that benefit someone else at a reasonably smaller cost to you, but it is similarly not nice to make requests that benefit you at a unreasonable cost to someone else. Race doesn't change the issue.*


*Even if you are willing to punish the children for the sins of their parents, the European imperialists and the people they conquered were generally morally equivalent, except for the many cases where the Europeans were better (like, say, the natives who still performed human sacrifices). Europeans didn't introduce war to idyllic regions; they entered a fight that had been going on as long as there were people, and they won it.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Oct 06, 2009 4:39 pm UTC

I hadn't considered just how high of a cost it would be to change the town's name - and obviously, that's a serious concern of the townsfolk. I don't see how it's unreasonable to still make this request; if you want to make it more feasible, you can offer to help lower the cost ("We'll repaint all the city signs for you, and help you with the costs of business cards"). Maybe they could start up a charity push in that regard.
Vaniver wrote:Even if you are willing to punish the children for the sins of their parents, the European imperialists and the people they conquered were generally morally equivalent, except for the many cases where the Europeans were better (like, say, the natives who still performed human sacrifices). Europeans didn't introduce war to idyllic regions; they entered a fight that had been going on as long as there were people, and they won it.
I wouldn't say that the children are ever guilty of the sins of the parents, but... If a bunch of people who live in a house are squabbling over the property of that house - to the point of inflicting violence on one another - and I waltz into the house with a machine gun and proceed to mow them the fuck down, then declare everything in the house belongs to me - you're going to have a hard time convincing me that I am not now the biggest douche in the house.

Also, the morality of a culture does not give us the right to destroy that culture and profit from its property. If you're killing children and burying them in your backward, I am not suddenly the better man because I went over to your house, killed you, and took all your shit. I didn't go over there to stop you from killing children; I went over there to take your shit. Saving children was purely incidental. I would have killed you and taken your shit regardless of whether you were killing children or not. Likewise, I doubt the Europeans who fought and killed for land were overtly concerned with human sacrifices; theirs was not a moral imperative, but a materialistic one.

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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby setzer777 » Tue Oct 06, 2009 5:06 pm UTC

So....what's the actual incentive for dominant groups in this situation to give concessions (even minor ones)? I mean aside from the fact that if they do so they'll fit some people's system of morality slightly better and maybe be considered slightly less dickish to those people.

I'm not trying to make some hip-nihilist point, but it seems like saying: "Don't do that, it's *wrong*" isn't always useful - if they agreed with your moral assessment they wouldn't be doing it in the first place. Unless you think their decision is based on a false assessment of the facts rather than just not-giving-a-crap.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Vaniver » Tue Oct 06, 2009 7:08 pm UTC

TheGreatHippo wrote:I wouldn't say that the children are ever guilty of the sins of the parents, but... If a bunch of people who live in a house are squabbling over the property of that house - to the point of inflicting violence on one another - and I waltz into the house with a machine gun and proceed to mow them the fuck down, then declare everything in the house belongs to me - you're going to have a hard time convincing me that I am not now the biggest douche in the house.
Well, you're the only one left. But if they were violent and murdered people for gain, the only difference between them and you was that you had a machine gun- a technological difference, not a moral difference. Essentially, the claim is that if the Maori had the power that the Europeans had, we might be talking about how they really ought to change Londom to London.

TheGreatHippo wrote:Also, the morality of a culture does not give us the right to destroy that culture and profit from its property.
Correct; that right stems from the nature of power. There may not be a "moral" right to do so, but moral rights are not the only rights that exist or matter.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Tue Oct 06, 2009 7:26 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
TheGreatHippo wrote:Also, the morality of a culture does not give us the right to destroy that culture and profit from its property.
Correct; that right stems from the nature of power. There may not be a "moral" right to do so, but moral rights are not the only rights that exist or matter.

You appear to have confused the idea of rights with the idea of capablities.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby MrGee » Wed Oct 07, 2009 1:34 am UTC

I just thought of a new rule: every time you get into a "it's no big deal, just accept it->well if it's no big deal why don't YOU give in->NO U!" argument, you automatically have to flip a coin on it and then shut the fuck up.

Although that's a good point about the signs etc.

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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Vaniver » Thu Oct 08, 2009 1:55 am UTC

TheKrikkitWars wrote:You appear to have confused the idea of rights with the idea of capablities.
Is that a confusion?

In a deeply physical sense, the only rights that matter are capabilities. In an deeply abstract sense, the only rights that matter are moral rights. Whether you choose to think of capabilities or moral rights when you hear the word "rights" shows what level you are more likely to be operating on.

Essentially, there is no refutation to the statement that might makes right. There is only commentary that might is not necessarily justice.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Grop » Thu Oct 08, 2009 9:24 am UTC

Changing the name of a town doesn't have to be very costly, if you do it progressively. Like, only impacting future documents and changing signs when they get old.

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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ » Thu Oct 08, 2009 12:03 pm UTC

Hm. Doesn't the Wh combo get pronounced with an 'f' sound anyway? (In the Maori language, and the answer is Yes, Meaux)
So changing the h would actually drastically change the pronunciation?

That's kind of unfortunate.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Grop » Thu Oct 08, 2009 12:23 pm UTC

While I think inserting an h in the spelling is a feasable change, I doubt it would have any impact on how English speakers actually pronounce it.

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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Philwelch » Thu Oct 08, 2009 6:32 pm UTC

Grop wrote:While I think inserting an h in the spelling is a feasable change, I doubt it would have any impact on how English speakers actually pronounce it.


I think any English speaker pronouncing it the wrong way should be fined 100 New Zealand Dollars and publicly flogged for insulting Maori heritage.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Freakish » Thu Oct 08, 2009 6:37 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:
Grop wrote:While I think inserting an h in the spelling is a feasable change, I doubt it would have any impact on how English speakers actually pronounce it.


I think any English speaker pronouncing it the wrong way should be fined 100 New Zealand Dollars and publicly flogged for insulting Maori heritage.


That's idiotic. You can't expect people to read something in a language they don't know.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Decker » Thu Oct 08, 2009 6:53 pm UTC

I'm pretty sure he was being sarcastic Freakish.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Freakish » Thu Oct 08, 2009 7:06 pm UTC

Decker wrote:I'm pretty sure he was being sarcastic Freakish.


I figured he was over exaggerating.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby MrGee » Fri Oct 09, 2009 12:19 am UTC

Meaux_Pas wrote:Hm. Doesn't the Wh combo get pronounced with an 'f' sound anyway? (In the Maori language, and the answer is Yes, Meaux)
So changing the h would actually drastically change the pronunciation?

That's kind of unfortunate.


That's a good fact to know.

...how the fuck do you know that?

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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Belial » Fri Oct 09, 2009 12:26 am UTC

Well, she spent time in new zealand, but you could also know it by noting the place where Mr Samsa said it earlier in the thread
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby MrGee » Fri Oct 09, 2009 12:39 am UTC

Belial wrote:Well, she spent time in new zealand, but you could also know it by noting the place where Mr Samsa said it earlier in the thread


Sorcerer!!

Yeah somehow I missed that post.

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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby A. Akbar » Fri Oct 09, 2009 4:27 am UTC

TaintedDeity wrote:The river has a 'h' and the place is named after the river, the decision seems obvious in this case, surely.


Quick point, the river was renamed at some point in the eighties for the same reason as the town.

Philwelch wrote:
Grop wrote:While I think inserting an h in the spelling is a feasable change, I doubt it would have any impact on how English speakers actually pronounce it.


I think any English speaker pronouncing it the wrong way should be fined 100 New Zealand Dollars and publicly flogged for insulting Maori heritage.


That would include a lot of people of maori descent that I know.
Meaux_Pas wrote:Hm. Doesn't the Wh combo get pronounced with an 'f' sound anyway? (In the Maori language, and the answer is Yes, Meaux)
So changing the h would actually drastically change the pronunciation?

That's kind of unfortunate.


In truth it's slightly more complicated then that. The Maori tribes have never had a homogenous culture and this extends to their language, even different hapu within the iwi say things distinctly. I think Ngapuhi would pronounce it 'Fongahrai' and as the largest tribe in the area and the one with the most early interactions with the europeans it was their pronunciation which was widely accepted in the early documents and afterwards. However other iwi use widely different pronunciation, especially the southern groups. A friend of mine says that the iwi based around W(h)anganui (called Whanganui, oddly enough) would say it much the same with or without the H. There is a subtle difference but the kind that's ignored by most.

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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Mr. Samsa » Fri Oct 09, 2009 4:57 am UTC

MrGee wrote:
Belial wrote:Well, she spent time in new zealand, but you could also know it by noting the place where Mr Samsa said it earlier in the thread


Sorcerer!!

Yeah somehow I missed that post.


I'm like a ninja. Except instead of killing people with my thumb and escaping unseen, I just make comments on internet forums that nobody reads... :(

A. Akbar wrote:
Meaux_Pas wrote:Hm. Doesn't the Wh combo get pronounced with an 'f' sound anyway? (In the Maori language, and the answer is Yes, Meaux)
So changing the h would actually drastically change the pronunciation?

That's kind of unfortunate.


In truth it's slightly more complicated then that. The Maori tribes have never had a homogenous culture and this extends to their language, even different hapu within the iwi say things distinctly. I think Ngapuhi would pronounce it 'Fongahrai' and as the largest tribe in the area and the one with the most early interactions with the europeans it was their pronunciation which was widely accepted in the early documents and afterwards. However other iwi use widely different pronunciation, especially the southern groups. A friend of mine says that the iwi based around W(h)anganui (called Whanganui, oddly enough) would say it much the same with or without the H. There is a subtle difference but the kind that's ignored by most.


Indeed, this is true. To pronounce the Maori word "correctly", you would have to be aware of what tribe you're speaking to or what tribe coined the word (and knowledge of how each tribe would pronounce the word), otherwise they'll just laugh at you for sounding like a jackass.. I don't think many Maoris can actually speak Maori though. I can't remember the figures, but it's a fairly low percentage that can do so - fluently at least. Not that this really has any impact on the H debate.

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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Philwelch » Fri Oct 09, 2009 5:12 am UTC

Freakish wrote:
Philwelch wrote:
Grop wrote:While I think inserting an h in the spelling is a feasable change, I doubt it would have any impact on how English speakers actually pronounce it.


I think any English speaker pronouncing it the wrong way should be fined 100 New Zealand Dollars and publicly flogged for insulting Maori heritage.


That's idiotic. You can't expect people to read something in a language they don't know.


I was being outrageously sarcastic to make a point--if it's so damned insulting to spell it incorrectly, pronouncing it incorrectly is equally insulting. The bit about flogging was over the top.

To be fair, people are good at learning unusual pronunciations for placenames, like "Sequim" (pronounced "squim", not "see-quim"), "Puyallup" (pyoo-all-up), "Yachats" ("yaw-hots"), or "Worchester" ("woo-ster"). Whanganui shouldn't be too hard.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby random_kitty » Sat Oct 10, 2009 7:24 am UTC

Meaux_Pas wrote:Hm. Doesn't the Wh combo get pronounced with an 'f' sound anyway? (In the Maori language, and the answer is Yes, Meaux)
So changing the h would actually drastically change the pronunciation?

That's kind of unfortunate.


There is variation between iwi (tribes) regarding the pronunciation of "wh". Typically "wh" will be pronounced as an '"f" as that has been adopted by the state broadcaster. In regards to Whanganui - the "wh" is pronounced closer to a "w" sound and the change is only expected to influence how the place name is written not spoken.

In many languages there are subtle sounds and inflections that cannot be fully captured in the A - Z alphabet.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby BlackSails » Sat Oct 10, 2009 8:17 am UTC

Belial, how far back do we get to go to dredge up ancestral complaints that we demand reparations for? I mean, my family took quite a beating during the crusades.

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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby random_kitty » Sat Oct 10, 2009 9:21 am UTC

One of the challenging aspects of readdressing historic grievances is the question of when to move on and when enough is enough.

This is heightened when the issues are between two groups with vastly different frames of reference.

Concepts of ownership and the spiritual meaning of land and its connection to people's mana and well-being are two significant areas where there was/is a lack of shared understanding/meaning.

The ripples of a pebble dropping into a lake can travel far - just like an ancestral complaint can travel through generations.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby A. Akbar » Sat Oct 10, 2009 10:13 am UTC

random_kitty wrote:
Meaux_Pas wrote:Hm. Doesn't the Wh combo get pronounced with an 'f' sound anyway? (In the Maori language, and the answer is Yes, Meaux)
So changing the h would actually drastically change the pronunciation?

That's kind of unfortunate.


There is variation between iwi (tribes) regarding the pronunciation of "wh". Typically "wh" will be pronounced as an '"f" as that has been adopted by the state broadcaster. In regards to Whanganui - the "wh" is pronounced closer to a "w" sound and the change is only expected to influence how the place name is written not spoken.

In many languages there are subtle sounds and inflections that cannot be fully captured in the A - Z alphabet.


At least read the thread, it's only two pages long.

random_kitty wrote:One of the challenging aspects of readdressing historic grievances is the question of when to move on and when enough is enough.

This is heightened when the issues are between two groups with vastly different frames of reference.

Concepts of ownership and the spiritual meaning of land and its connection to people's mana and well-being are two significant areas where there was/is a lack of shared understanding/meaning.

The ripples of a pebble dropping into a lake can travel far - just like an ancestral complaint can travel through generations.


Whilst we are told that there was significant lack of understanding between the two parties, especially with regards to 'kawanatanga' or 'governance' I am sceptical that it was present to the extent described. Taking the 6th of February, 1840 as an example if we read through the (rough) transcripts of the speeches made by the Maori chiefs, most notably Hone Heke, it's fairly obvious that their views of ownership coincided with that of the Europeans.
Furthermore, it seems absurd to claim there still exists fundamental misunderstandings between the two parties (if we can even call them that) after 200 or so years of coexistence.
I don't understand though how this is relevant to your first point, it seems you think it backs it up but they are very different concepts.
The remainder of your post is utterly meaningless, trite and self contradictory, when you post please try and address the issue at hand.

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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Joeldi » Sat Oct 10, 2009 11:23 am UTC

This is ultimately not important, because the issue is about the feelings of the people involved, but I'm wondering why the people feel strongly about the romanised spelling of the word, which is and always was nothing more than an approximation of the pronounciation of the original word. Was it a Maori educated in english linguistics, or an english linguist educated in Maori language (or a mix of the above) that came up with the essentially arbritary mapping of Maori sounds to English ones?
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby A. Akbar » Sat Oct 10, 2009 12:41 pm UTC

To answer your question, It was the early missionaries who transcribed the Maori language into roman letters, though it took a while for a standard system to emerge. I don't claim to understand why the exact spelling is such a big issue, perhaps for the same reasons that there are Maori words for 'Book', 'Computer' etc.

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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby justaman » Sun Oct 11, 2009 10:51 pm UTC

Random kitty is correct in this instance - W(h)anganui is pronounced as "Wan ga nui", not "Fon ga nui" even with the H in place. This is one of the few exceptions to the Wh = F rule in Maori, and is totally based on local dialect. It would be similar to spelling London "Lunnun" to cater to the cockney accent.

Personally I have no issue with either spelling (NZer here), there have been several instances of this sort of thing coming up with no real issues before (e.g. Aorangi going to Aoraki - k pronounced as ng in this instance in the local dialect(Ngai Tahu (pronounced "Nai Ka hu" just for kickers))), I don't see why this one should be a problem.

Edited to add stuff about Ngai Tahu.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Marbas » Mon Oct 12, 2009 12:19 am UTC

Concepts of ownership and the spiritual meaning of land and its connection to people's mana and well-being are two significant areas where there was/is a lack of shared understanding/meaning.


As someone who is very for the separation of church and state. I find the idea that "spiritual meaning" should have relevance to the writing of law to be more than a little disturbing.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Bright Shadows » Mon Oct 12, 2009 1:43 am UTC

...
Okay. So this town name is presently misspelled according to some people who had grandparents(?) that lived there. Their grandparents got kicked out later, so the current people don't live there anymore, but they still have a connection to the town. They heard stories about it or something. Said people ask the townspeople if they'd change the name back. Townspeople say no. What now?
>Ask again
>Ask again after doing some campaigning
>Wait a while, then ask again.
>Don't ask again

All 4 seem like valid choices to me, though #1 is kinda a waste of time. Asking at first wasn't wrong in any way. Asking again wouldn't be wrong. Not asking isn't, either. I don't see what there is to disagree on. Heck, this would be exactly the same if it was just a petition to change the town name to something new, really. The only substantial difference would be some campaign ideas not working.

Oh, and the townspeople saying no to the request the first time? Not being so terrible. They have to live in the town, so it makes sense that they would be able to do what they would with the name. The townsfolk probably have more direct memories that would be affected by the name change than with the people who were petitioning to switch it back. Both sides have the same concern, but to be honest, the townsfolk have more of the concern.

Whether the petitioners had ancestors who were kicked out or not is something to consider, but it can be outweighed pretty easily because things like reparations being made in other ways and direct factors like actually preferring the current name are pretty heavy.
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