Language Bonding

Between Parent and Child


Māori language bonding between a parent and child emerges when one, or both parents use Māori with their child at all times, preferably from the child's birth. Language bonding consists of developing social interaction and communication which feels natural, comfortable and above all else loving and familiar. This type of bonding is crucial if the child is to feel secure about speaking Māori.

Te Ūkaipō language programme includes a module on Māori language bonding including phrases that help to develop a language bond with your child.

Parents must be particularly alert as Māori language bonding is fragile and easily damaged. Auē! My child won't speak Māori highlights just how easily a Māori language bond between a parent and child can be broken.

Language bonding is not restricted to parent and child. It can be established between the child and grandparents, relatives, or any other adult or child. Finding additional opportunities for language bonding to take place between your child and other adults is important. This may be through a local kapa haka group, pre-school caregivers, or family friends. This is particularly important for children who do not have fluent Māori speaking parents.

Between Adults


Adults also form language bonds. The language used to establish a relationship has ongoing repercussions. When adults speak only one language together from the time they meet, it becomes increasingly difficult to introduce another language to the relationship because of the language bonding that has taken place in the first language. It is generally recognised that if two adults, equally proficient in two languages, spend more than 400 hours together using only one of the languages from the moment they meet, the other language usually becomes obsolete.

To establish and maintain Māori in your home, check out these strategies.

To find the strategies most suitable for you and your whānau, just click on the profile that best describe you: