Tohuto - Macrons
In written Maori macrons are the line you see above 'long' vowels. For example, there is a macron above the ‘a’ in Maori.
Macrons indicate the correct pronunciation of the vowel. A vowel with a macron is lengthened in pronunciation. To hear the difference check out the pronunciation page in the Learner section of this website.
In the early days of written Maori, no distinction was made in print between vowels of different length. Later, people sometimes doubled these vowels in writing. However this wasn’t a satisfactory solution as there are words spelt with doubled vowels, showing that the word originates from two words which have been joined together to form a new meaning. Occasionally there are words with double vowels which are sounded separately rather than being lengthened.
So the macron has become a useful tool to indicate the longer vowel sound.