Don Brash came to me in a dream the other night and told me that I needed to figure out how to use macrons on my computer when I’m writing words in Te Reo Māori.
Actually, I’m not sure it was Don Brash. But I did figure it out.
If you’re curious, a macron is a line above a vowel. This shows that it should be spoken as a long vowel sound. For example, as in Taupō.
The meanings of words change depending on whether the vowel is short or long. For example, “keke” means cake. But kēkē means armpit.
That’s an important distinction. And I’d be interested to know if this leads to puns in Te Reo (and possibly Dad jokes).
Here are the details if you’re an Apple Mac user:
- Click on the Apple logo in the top left and choose System Preferences.
- Click Language & Region.
- Click Keyboard Preferences.
- Click the + icon and find Maori in the list.
- Click Add.
- Optionally, tick Show input menu in menu bar.
After I tried this, the keyboard didn’t immediately work with macrons but started adding small circles above the vowels instead.
The problem was that I was defaulting to the Australian keyboard. I deleted the Australian keyboard from the list and fixed the problem. I’m guessing that I could have probably kept it and changed the order.
To type a macronised vowel now I simply hold down Alt / Option on my Mac and then the vowel. Or with with the Shift key to type an uppercase macronised vowel.
It’s a different procedure if you’re on a Windows PC and you can find full information for all operating systems here.
I wanted this for Gmail purposes, but it’s system-wide. That means that I’ve also solved the problem for typing in WordPress and in Google Docs. I had a workaround for Google Docs but this is a lot faster.
I still need to get into the habit of using macrons. And I’ll probably forget a lot of the time. Also, I know there are plenty of words that use macrons that I’m unaware of.
So… here’s my strategy. I’m just going to pick a few that I use often and start with those.
- Tēnā koe
- Kia ora kōrua
- Ngā mihi
What words do you use often in Te Reo that have macrons?