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Levels 1 and 2 table


At levels 1 and 2 - introduce basic ideas about the structure of words, phrases and sentences in Māori. Add to this ‘unanalysed chunks’, or formulaic and routine ways of expressing particular meanings – for example, simple greeting and leave-taking routines - without analysing their structure.

Aim for your learners to begin to understand the following ideas:

  • Māori has a basic VSO word order (Verb Subject Object).
  • Sentences are made up of phrases.
  • There are sentences without verbs and sentences with verbs.
  • The sentences without verbs are called nominal sentences.
  • The sentences with verbs are called verbal sentences.
  • Sentences usually have at least two parts, a predicate or first phrase, and a subject.
  • Sentences may also have additional phrases after the subject.
  • That the phrases in a sentence each have a function.
  • The predicate, or first phrase, of nominal sentences (sentences without verbs) can start with:ko (identifying things); he (classifying things); prepositions which express location (for example: kei, i, hei); prepositions which express ownership and belonging (for example: nā / nō); number or quantity expressions (for example: Kotahi te … , e waru ngā … ).
  • Verbal sentences start with a verb phrase, and the particles that start the phrase help determine the time and type of action that is being expressed.
  • How to express simple commands.
  • The form or structure of verb phrases.
  • The form or structure of noun phrases.
  • The form or structure of preposition phrases.
  • That there are two key types of words: content and function words (or bases and particles).
  • That within these there are a number of classes of words, for example: verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, determiners, prepositions, verbal and nominal particles.
  • That some content words or bases can be used in several different ways, as nouns, verbs and adjectives.
  • That there are different types of verbs; focus on common intransitive verbs, and on common transitive verbs and their passive forms, and the sentences that can be formed with these.
  • That there are different types of nouns; focus on common nouns and personal nouns.
  • The personal pronouns, and neutral possessive pronouns.
  • That there are different categories of possession.
  • That some words are made up of more than one part (for example, a base and affixes such as the prefixes whaka- and kai-, and the passive suffix); focus on the regular meanings and uses of whaka- and kai-, and on passive suffixes.
  • How to express numbers to 100, counting, and the number prefixes toko- and tua-.
  • How to express dates and telling the time.
  • How to express simple ideas about quantity.
  • How to express simple ideas about prices and money.

Levels 1 and 2 Table

Levels 1 and 2

References to Harlow, 2001

Harlow pages

References to Head, 1989

Head pages

Basic word order is (VSO):
Verb (or nominal predicate)+
Subject (a noun phrase) +
Object (a preposition phrase)
(VSO order can be manipulated for effect. A sentence may have additional parts).
Simple sentences without verbs        
Identifying sentences,
with ko (expressing the identity of someone or something).
Ko Manu ia
Sentences beginning with ko
Identity sentences 10-19
Classifying sentences, with he (expressing the nature or characteristics of something). He kaiako ia Predicate
Classifying sentences 34-42
Negating nominal sentences with ko: ehara. Brief introduction, leave analysis of these as a focus for next levels.
Ehara ia i a Manu
Negation of simple sentences; Sentences beginning with ko 141-153
Negative identifying sentences 16-19
Negating nominal sentences with he: ehara. Brief introduction, leave analysis of these as a focus for next levels.
Ehara tērā i te tūī
Negation of simple sentences Sentences whose predicate is a phrase beginning with he 141-153
Negative classification sentences 39-41
Negating 'existence' sentences: kāore. Brief introduction, leave analysis of these as a focus for next levels. There are / are no monsters:
He taniwha. / Kāore he taniwha
Sentences consisting of a phrase beginning with he 143    
Location sentences (expressing where something is / was / will be) in space or in time.
Kei te kāinga au
Comments of place 167-168 Location sentences
Negative location sentences
Sentences beginning with nō or nā (expressing owning and belonging). Nō Porirua au. Nā Manu tēnei pukapuka Nō in predicate phrases
Nā in predicate phrases
150-152 N-class possession sentences Negative n-class possession sentences 85-91
Simple sentences with verbs        
Structure of simple verbal sentences
Verb phrase
+ Subject: a noun phrase
(+ Direct object: a preposition phrase) for example:
Kei te moe + a Manu.
Kei te kai + a Manu + i te āporo
Sentences whose predicate is a verb phrase 143-147 Action sentences 43-66
Verbal particles
ka verb
kei te verb (non-past progressive)
e verb ana (progressive aspect)
i verb (simple past tense)
kua verb (perfect aspect)
ka kai, kei te kai, e kai ana
i kai, kua kai
Verb phrases
Verbal particles
Intransitive verbs,
for example:haere, moe, tangi, tae
Kei te moe a Manu
Intransitive verbs 30-31
Transitive verbs,
for example:kōrero, mahi, āwhina, hoko, kai
Kei te kai a Manu i te āporo
Transitive verbs
‘i’ as object marker
ki as object marker
objects marked with ‘i’ and ki
29-30, 77 163-164
78, 174
164, 174
Neuter verbs / statives (brief introduction only),
for example: mate, oti, pakaru, mahue
Neuter verbs 31-32 State sentences 77-84
E kai! Kōrero!
Commands 189-190
Command sentences 67-76
Passive voice: introduce in verb sentences and in commands Kua horoia ngā kākahu     Passive voice, passive action sentences 55-60
Pānuitia te pukapuka!        
Negatives: negating simple verbal sentences: brief introduction, leave analysis of these as a focus for next levels. Kāore …
Kei te kai a Manu.
Kāore a Manu i te kai
Negation of simple sentences
Sentences whose predicate is a verb phrase
Negative action sentences
Negative passive action sentences
Introduce simple questions: yes / no questions, WH- questions (with interrogatives).
Kei te kai a Manu?
Kei te aha a Manu?
Kei hea a Manu?
Yes-no questions
identity sentences
classification sentences
action sentences
state sentences
n-class possession sentences location sentences
counting sentences
Numbers, time, dates        
Expressing numbers, counting to
Numerals and time expressions 277-287 Counting sentences pp. 117-123 117-123
Expressing times and dates Time expressions
Clock time
Expressing quantity and money        
Simple phrases The structure of the phrase 18-111    
Noun phrases
+ Noun
(+ Modifier)
For example:
ērā + whare
Noun phrases 109    
te + whare + whero
taku + pukapuka + Māori
a + Manu
(a) + rātou
Preposition phrases
+ Noun phrase
For example:
ki + ērā whare
i + te whare whero
i + taku pukapuka Māori
Prepositional phrases 109    
Verb phrases
Verb particle
+ Verb
(+ Adverb / Modifier)
For example:
Kei te + haere + atu
Kua + kai
I + tae + mai
Verb phrases 108-109    
The function of phrases in a sentence Sentences consisting of two phrases 135-136    
Predicate phrases
(The predicate is what is said about the subject).
Predicate 138-141 Lyndsay Head does not use the term predicate, but refers to predicate phrases in various ways according to the type of sentence she is describing, for example, first phrase (identity sentences), information phrase (classifying sentences); first (action) phrase (action sentences).  
Subject phrases
(The subject is the person or thing doing what is expressed in the predicate).
Subject 136-138 Subject phrase / second phrase 10-11
Phrases other than subject and predicate Comments 154-180    
Object / Direct object Comments
Comments following verbs
Objects of transitive verbs
Objects of experience verbs
Extending action sentences with an object phrase
Extending negative sentences with an object phrase
Indirect object Indirect objects 165    
Agent phrase of passive
e + Noun phrase
e te kaiako, e ia, e ngā tamariki
    Extending passive action phrases with an agent phrase 58-59
Source and goal phrases
i / ki + noun phrase
For example:i te kura, ki te kura
Source and goal with movement verbs 165-166    
Word classes
At levels 1 and 2 all word classes will be encountered in authentic texts, however it is not necessary to focus on all of these in depth. It is useful for the teacher to understand word classes and to be able to answer questions from the learners. The teacher might, for example, focus on intransitive verbs (kei te moe a Manu.) and transitive verbs – verbs that take a comment or phrase introduced with ‘i’ as direct object - at levels 1 and 2 (kua tuhi au i taku reta) and leave focus on experience verbs and neuter or stative verbs until levels 3 and 4.
Simple bases Word classes: bases and particles
Types of base
Verbs: transitive, experience, intransitive, neuter (stative); focus on intransitive and transitive verbs Verbs 29-31    
Nouns: common, locative / local, personal; focus on common and personal nouns Nouns 20-29    
Adjectives Adjectives 32-33    
Pronouns (see note in introduction); personal pronouns (for example: au, koe, ia, koutou, tātou, etc.) - introduce singular and plural first, and when these are established add the dual pronouns, and the inclusive / exclusive distinction in the first person plural and dual pronouns Pronouns 33-37 Pronouns 23-33
Possessive pronouns - neutral for possessive category, one person possessing: taku / aku, tō / ō, tana / ana Neutral possessive determiners 71-72 Pronouns 23-33
Possessive pronouns plural and dual – brief introduction (for example: tō tātou, tā tātou, ō tātou, ā tātou; tō tāua, tā tāua, ō tāua, ā tāua) Possessive determiners 69-74 Pronouns 31-33
Categories of possession, a brief introduction Comments following nouns:
… entities that typically fall into the a-category
… o-forms are used for the following
The categories of relationship and possession 101-116
Question words, for example: aha? wai? pēhea? hea? hia? tokohia? Interrogatives 225-234    
tahi, rua etc.
Particles at the beginning of phrases or comments Verbal particles
Nominal particles
Determiners: singular and plural
te, ngā, taku, aku, tētahi, ētahi
Determiners 65-76    
for example:i, ki, kei, hei, mā, nō etc.
Prepositions 76-85    
Word formation Word formation 112-132    
Regular prefixes: whaka- (select the common, regular uses of whaka- at levels 1 and 2; introduce the less common later). Whaka- + tangi = whakatangi Overview of whaka-
whaka- with adjectives, neuter verbs and transitive verbs
Regular prefixes: kai-
kai + base; kaimahi, kaiwaiata
kai- 120-121    
Number prefixes: tua- ordinal,
for example:tuatoru
tua- 118-119    
Number prefixes: toko- people,
for example:tokowaru
toko- 119    
Suffixes: passive,
for example:-tia, -ngia, -hia etc.
The passive suffix 126-129    
Reduplication - focus on full reduplication and its meanings using high frequency words, for example: paki, pakipaki; kata, katakata Reduplication 113-118    
Exception: plural form of noun: tamaiti / tamariki Plural 20-21    

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