How to say Lewa's name

If Greg answers this, saying it’s “Lee-wah” that will just mess up the Matoran language orthography, in which most Es are pronounced as either “ey” and “eh”. There is also the fact that Matoran, mostly in its infant stage, was based off of Polynesian languages, such as Maori, in which practically all instances of “e” are pronounced as either “ey” or “eh”, and “a” as “ah”, i as “ee”, “u” as “oo”. And for the most part, this has been the most common pronunciations in BIONICLE canon too, though there does seem to be outliers. Such as “Trinuma” being Try-new-mah, and I don’t really see how that makes much sense. Shouldn’t it be “Tree-noo-mah” ?

If Lewa and Le is “lee-wah” and “lee”, then why is “e” being used and not “i”? That is my question. Like in “nui”. “noo-ee.”

The Matoran Language isn’t exactly… consistent.

Additionally, he has answered this before, as stated above. This isn’t to get a different answer, it’s just so we have the answer current and public again.


It isnt, but it should be, and it is really frustrating me at this point. It used to be pretty consistent in early years, even during the Metru Nui arc. But, let me ask this: why shouldn’t the official guide book take precedence in this case?

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Because BIONICLE has always been a case of conflict with precedent. I understand the reasoning behind why it was listed a certain way in the guide, but keep in mind the guide was written by Greg. We have a quote stating the canon version is the film, which says it the same way the author has said he says it. G2 is brutally consistent in saying LEE-wah, and there is no change between the two spellings.

At the end of the day, current canon is decided by Greg at this point in time. And given that he wrote several of the things we hold as canon, he is in the position to modify that as he sees fit. Once again, this isn’t searching for another answer - it’s merely a present day clarification.

Do note, he’s also said the name is said however you want. It’s not a “if you say it this way, you’re wrong” situation. Just affirmation of particular source materials.


I just asked Alastair Swinnerton about this, and according to him it’s pronounced “Lee-wah.”


Then why is it not spelled Liwa? We already have the sound “ee” and it’s “i”. I am a linguist in training and this bothers me on a deep level. Letters and their sounds must have clear distinctions or it doesn’t make sense as a communicative language in-universe. Plus, the E being “ee” sounds very English (mostly American) to me.

Here are two guides on pronouncing Maori by the way. While Matoran is not exactly Maori, it is a language that had big influence on Matoran, and I think it should factor into this decision:

Here it is never “ee” for example. In one of the pages they write it a little closer to an i sound than “eh”, but not quite “ee”

Also, another Polynesian language, Hawaiian,pronounces their e as “ey” or “eh”: Hawaiian language, alphabet and pronunciation as evidenced by this IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) soundboard: The sound is classified as [e:], but that is simply the symbol “e” in the IPA.

LEE-wah seems like an American transliteration, translation, not sure how to put it, of the Matoran language word. But I think we need to have a language system that works properly instead. Outofgloom/Tolkien’s big fan language project seems to be what I’m thinking of. It has internal logic to things such as pronuinciations, as well as grammar (although this part for the most part is derived from very little evidence, but still hold water I think). And that man has a Phd in linguistics if I am not mistaken. Pretty impressive.

Anyway, got off topic there for a moment. This is my case for the “e” in most instances being pronounced “eh” or “ey”. And it being LAY or LEH, for both Lewa, Le-Matoran, Le-Koro, Le-Wahi etc.

Names are spelled and pronounced differently due to a wide variety of reasons, which I’m sure you’re aware of. Heck, your name is Lukas as opposed to Lucas. Are they no longer equal in their existence? They are pronounced the same, after all.

English, Japanese, etc have a large amount of words spelled the same and said differently, or spelled differently and pronounced the same way. BIONICLE is not so dissimilar in this approach, and it’s easy to assume there are a variety of dialects and variations from region to region.

And to that last point, not sure the relevance. We just had Macku kindly mention word from one of the co-creators of BIONICLE, who isn’t American. So I’m not sure what the point of bringing that up was.

One final point: Thoughts on the name Kopeke?

Not going to lie, you’ve kind of been off topic for a while now. This wasn’t a question for you. None of these topics are. So I’m not sure why people keep interjecting themselves as if it’s “Ask me.”

I updated since I posted. Please refer back to my last post.

Matoran can have different dialects, yes, but most areas we have seen are located around the same premises. Mata Nui and Metru Nui are not far from each other, and both places have the same people, who simply migrated between the two.

Koh-PEH/PEY-KEH/KEY, not Kohpeek for me.

And I interject myself because this is a very important topic to me.

I did, it doesn’t change my response at all. Appeal to authority is not a strong argument.

We have real world examples of people from the same location speaking differently from each other. To keep it brief, I’ll refer you to the North and South of the United States.

For you. Subjectively. We have examples of both “E” EE and “I” EE, with Kopeke and Hahli. Lewa is the only one of which is unclear.

Not really a sound defense. Were this regarding politics, the posts would’ve been deleted. These should be as well, and the only reason I haven’t is because I encourage open discussion and see no merit to the alternative. But I may move these to a separate topic as I don’t find this to be the appropriate place.

Correction, all done. Let’s continue.


Thank you Eljay. Maybe that comment about referring back was a little rude.

I have a few more things to add though. I do agree with the dialect thing. But I still don’t think it makes much sense when we look at how Lewa and and the Le-Matoran lived in most of the same places, and those places had other words with Es that where it was not pronounced as [i]. But still, it is a possibility that “Le” specifically did have that sound. I want to add that “Lewa” is a Hawaiian word though, meaning “air”, “atmosphere”, “heaven” and a few other things relating to the skies, and it is pronounced /leɰa/ in their language, as E is [e] or “ey” roughly, both in monophthong form (short vowel) and diphtong form (long/double vowel). Sometimes it does become [ɛ], or “eh” - as in bEd, when stressed, but it is not as common.

It works like this because long vowels and diphthongs are counted as their own single phonemes, as they can be treated as sequences of two vowels. They are historically derived from two-syllable sequences.

Just thought I’d put that out there. Matoran is not Hawaiian, but we do pronounce most Maori words the same way the Māori pronounce them, so I thought it might be interesting to add the info to the discussion.

EDIT: Going back to what you said about the Matoran language not being consistent, you are totally right. I remember when we learned “Zya” was pronounced “ZUH”. That weirded me out quite a bit, since “Zyglak” has the y in that word be pronounced as an “eye” kind of sound.

it’s spelled lewa because it means sky in maori, the adopted language for bionicle.

Liwa means free…
so it’s similar, but there;s a difference.

What if the w is pronounced like a v? o.O

It’s not Māori but Hawaiian.

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Realky? I thought it was maori.

Looking it up yields results that it is of African origin.

As an aside, I found out that the word “no” is Spanish. Fancy that?



Maori is an African language

I just checked, and found nothing on “lewa” being African, but again found that it is Hawaiian.

Complete opposite here. Point being that words and names can exist in different languages and are not strictly tied to one language forever. This is no different.

I dunno, I just put it in through english to maori and it spat out…
um, I forget.

is maori hawaiian or african?