I’ve been reading some stuff about Tolkien’s linguistically-driven creative process lately, and it got me thinking about Bionicle. In the early years, most if not all of the Matoran-language words were derived from Maori. After the controversy, more and more names started to be drawn from Greek (“Metru” sounds like “Metro”) and especially Latin (“Nuva” was initially going to be “nova,” the word for “new,” “Voya” sounds like “voyage,” “Spherus Magna” is awfully close to the Latin for “great/giant sphere,” etc.) The impression this created for me is that Maori-derived words are associated with the Matoran language, and Latin/Greek-derived words are associated with the language or dialect spoken by residents of Spherus Magna. So 01-03 had the fewest Greek/Latin words because the island of Mata Nui was almost completely cut off from the rest of the universe, 04-08 had a mixture because older things in the Matoran Universe would’ve been named by the Great Beings (perhaps before the Matoran language evolved a distinct identity or had been fully devised), and 09 had exclusively Latinate words because it was completely removed from the Matoran Universe.
My question is this: am I on to something? Was any of this intentional on your part, or the part of the story team? Or was it simply an inevitable consequence of the pragmatic need to stop using Maori words that hadn’t been approved by the legal team?