To translate A black cup
A = He, so start the sentence with He
Now think of the black cup.
Ask yourself, "What can I touch, the black or the cup?"
You can touch the cup, so
this comes before the black.
Therefore the sentence translates as He ipu mangu.
There are many examples of this principle in place names around New Zealand - Aotearoa.
Nui = big Awa = river Whanga = Harbour
Hot = wera Water = wai
To say big river,
Ask yourself, "What can I touch, the big or the river?"
Therefore big river = awa nui
To say big harbour,
Ask yourself, "What can I touch, the big or the harbour?"
Therefore big harbour = whanga nui
How would you say hot water?
Click here for the answer
Another way to remember is ask yourself this, "Where does the mana belong? To the big or to the harbour?"