New Zealand English
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The English language was established in New Zealand by colonists during the 19th century. It is one of "the newest native-speaker variet[ies] of the English language in existence, a variety which has developed and become distinctive only in the last 150 years". The most distinctive influences on New Zealand English have come from Australian English, English in southern England, Irish English, Scottish English, the prestige Received Pronunciation, and Māori. New Zealand English is most similar to Australian English in pronunciation, with some key differences.
- 1 Dictionaries
- 2 Historical development
- 3 Phonology
- 4 Vocabulary
- 5 Usage
- 6 Māori influence
- 7 Dialects
- 8 Spelling
- 9 See also
- 10 Notes
- 11 Bibliography
- 12 External links
The first comprehensive dictionary dedicated to New Zealand English was probably the Heinemann New Zealand Dictionary, published in 1979. Edited by Harry Orsman, it is a 1,300-page book, with information relating to the usage and pronunciation of terms that were widely accepted throughout the English-speaking world and those peculiar to New Zealand. It includes a one-page list of the approximate date of entry into common parlance of the many terms found in New Zealand English but not elsewhere, such as "haka" (1827), "Boohai" (1920), and "bach" (1905). A second edition was published in 1989 and a third edition, published by Reed Publishing and edited by Nelson Wattie was published in 2001.
In 1997, Oxford University Press produced The Dictionary of New Zealand English, which it claimed was based on over 40 years of research. This research started with Orsman's 1951 thesis and continued with his editing this dictionary. To assist with and maintain this work, the New Zealand Dictionary Centre was founded in 1997. It has published several more dictionaries of New Zealand English, including The New Zealand Oxford Paperback Dictionary, edited by New Zealand lexicographer Tony Deverson in 1998, culminating in The New Zealand Oxford Dictionary in 2004, by Tony Deverson and Graeme Kennedy. A second, revised edition of The New Zealand Oxford Paperback Dictionary was published in 2006, this time using standard lexicographical regional markers to identify the NZ content which were absent in the first edition.
Another authoritative work is the Collins English Dictionary published by HarperCollins which contains an abundance of well-cited New Zealand words and phrases drawing from the 650 million word Bank of English a British research facility set up at the University of Birmingham in 1980 and funded by Collins publishers. Although this is a British dictionary of International English there has always been a credited New Zealand advisor for the New Zealand content, most recently Elizabeth Gordon from the University of Canterbury since the 6th edition (2003.)
A more light-hearted look at English as spoken in New Zealand, A Personal Kiwi-Yankee Dictionary, was written by the American-born University of Otago psychology lecturer Louis Leland in 1980. This slim volume lists many of the potentially confusing and/or misleading terms for Americans visiting or emigrating to New Zealand. A second edition was published in 1990.
From the 1790s, New Zealand was visited by British, French and American whaling, sealing and trading ships. Their crews traded European goods with the indigenous Māori. The first actual settlers to New Zealand were mainly from Australia, many ex-convicts or escaped convicts. Sailors, explorers and traders from Australia and other parts of Europe also settled. In 1788 the colony of New South Wales of Australia had been founded. The colony included most of New Zealand except for the southern half of the South Island. In 1839, the New Zealand Company announced its plans to establish colonies in New Zealand. This, and the continuing lawlessness of many of the established Australian and European settlers, spurred the British to take better control of the colony which until then the British had largely ignored. The European population of New Zealand grew explosively from fewer than 1000 in 1831 to 500,000 by 1881. From 1840 there was considerable European settlement, primarily from England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland; and to a lesser extent the United States, India, China, and various parts of continental Europe. Some 400,000 settlers came from Britain, of whom 300,000 stayed permanently. Most were young people and 250,000 babies were born. Administered at first as a part of the Australian colony of New South Wales, New Zealand became a colony in its own right on 1 July 1841. Gold discoveries in Otago (1861) and Westland (1865), caused a worldwide gold rush that more than doubled the population in a short period, from 71,000 in 1859 to 164,000 in 1863. In the 1870s and 1880s, several thousand Chinese men, mostly from Guangdong province, migrated to New Zealand to work on the South Island goldfields. Although the first Chinese migrants had been invited by the Otago Provincial government they quickly became the target of hostility from settlers and laws were enacted specifically to discourage them from coming to New Zealand thereafter. By 1911 the number of European settlers (called Pākehā by Māori) had reached a million. With this colourful history of unofficial and official settlement of peoples from all over Europe, Australia and Asia and the intermingling of the people with the indigenous Māori brought about what would eventually evolve into a "New Zealand accent" and a unique regional English lexicon.
A distinct New Zealand variant of the English language has been recognized since at least 1912, when Frank Arthur Swinnerton described it as a "carefully modulated murmur." From the beginning of the haphazard Australian and European settlements and latter official British migrations, a new dialect began to form by adopting Māori words to describe the different flora and fauna of New Zealand, for which English did not have any words of its own.
The New Zealand accent appeared first in towns with mixed populations of immigrants from Australia, England, Ireland, and Scotland. These included the militia towns of the North Island and the gold-mining towns of the South Island. In more homogeneous towns such as those in Otago and Southland, settled mainly by people from Scotland, the New Zealand accent took longer to appear.
Since the latter 20th Century New Zealand society has gradually divested itself of its fundamentally British roots and has adopted influences from all over the world, especially in the early 21st Century when New Zealand experienced an increase of non-British immigration which has since brought about a more prominent multi-national society. The Internet, television, movies and popular music have all brought international influences into New Zealand society and the New Zealand lexicon. Americanization of New Zealand society and language has subtly and gradually been taking place since World War II and especially since the 1970s, as has happened also in neighbouring Australia.
Not all New Zealanders have the same accent, as the level of cultivation (i.e. the extremity) of every speaker's accent differs. Some speakers may have a very cultivated accent, in which case they will speak much like the phonology described in this section. Other speakers, however, may have a quite broad accent, meaning they shall sound less like the phonology described. The phonology in this section is of a cultivated speaker of New Zealand English and does not reflect how all New Zealanders sound.
The vowels of New Zealand English are similar to that of other non-rhotic dialects such as Australian English and RP, but with some distinct variations, which are indicated by the transcriptions for New Zealand vowels in the tables below:
FLEECE / HAPPY
(iː / i)
KIT / ROSES / COMMA / LETTER
(ɪ / ɨ / ə / ər)
THOUGHT / NORTH / FORCE
(ɔː / ɔr / ɔər)
PALM / BATH / START
(ɑː / ɑː / ɑr)
LOT / CLOTH
|IPA (NZ)||IPA (key)||Keyword|
Short front vowels
- In New Zealand English the short-i of KIT /ɪ/ is a central vowel not phonologically distinct from schwa /ə/, the vowel in unstressed "the", both of which are a close-mid central unrounded vowel /ɘ/. It thus contrasts sharply with the /i/ vowel heard in Australia. Recent acoustic studies featuring both Australian and New Zealand voices show the accents were more similar before the Second World War and the KIT vowel has undergone rapid centralisation in New Zealand English. This has lead to a long-running joke between Australians and New Zealanders whereby Australians accuse New Zealanders of saying "fush and chups" for fish and chips and in turn New Zealanders accuse Australians of saying "feesh and cheeps" in light of Australia's own KIT vowel shift. In actual fact the KIT vowel can sometimes be mistaken for the NURSE vowel in some speakers so that "fish and chips" may sound like "firsh and chirps" (non-rhotic) rather than the "fush and chups" stereotype. Thus the words "bitch" and "birch" maybe difficult to discern by a non New Zealander.
- Like South African English, some Australian and some Southern American dialects, the DRESS vowel /ɛ/ has moved to become a close-mid vowel [e], although the New Zealand /e/ is closer to [ɪ]. This was played for laughs in the American TV series Flight of the Conchords, where the character Bret's name was often mis-heard as "Brit", leading to confusion. In broader uses very often the DRESS vowel becomes the FLEECE vowel so that in the sentence "you are my best mate", this is heard as "you are my beast mate." In the sentence "I bet you ten dollars" this could easily be heard as "I beat you teen dollars" by a non-New Zealander. In other broader uses, the DRESS vowel in some single-vowel words becomes a diphthong as with broad Southern American English, so that words like pen become // ('pee-in') and pest becomes // ('pee-ist.')
- The NEAR /ɪə/ and SQUARE /eə/ vowels are increasingly being merged, especially since the beginning of the 21st Century so that here now rhymes with there; and bear and beer, and rarely and really are homophones. Thus "Air New Zealand" and "Ear New Zealand" are identical. There is some debate as to the quality of the merged vowel, but the consensus appears to be that it is towards a close variant, [iə]. This merger is not unique to New Zealand and also occurs in East Anglia in the UK and South Carolina in the United States.
- Before /l/, the vowels /iː/ and /ɪə/ (as in reel vs real), as well as /ɒ/ and /oʊ/ (doll vs dole), and sometimes /ʊ/ and /uː/ (pull vs pool), /ɛ/ and /æ/ (Ellen vs Alan) and /ʊ/ and /ɪ/ (full vs fill) may be merged.
- As with Australian English the START vowel in words like park //, calm // and farm // is central or even front of central in terms of tongue position and non-rhotic. This is the same vowel sound used by speakers of the Boston accent and other non-rhotic areas of North Eastern New England in the United States. Thus the phrase "park the car" is said identically by a New Zealander, Australian or Bostonian. Can't is also pronounced // in both New Zealand and Australia and not // as in United States and Canada.
- The most obvious vowel shift in New Zealand English from other kinds is the TRAP vowel /æ/ which is usually realised as a slightly raised [æ] in the majority of New Zealanders. In Broader varieties it is often raised to [ɛ], so that /æ/ encroaches on /ɛ/ for some speakers. This vowel shift is shared by South African English speakers and is one of the main reasons American English speakers may mistake New Zealanders for South Africans. In the phrase "the cat sat on the mat" this is heard by the rest of the English speaking world as "the ket set on the met". A "laptop" is heard by non-New Zealanders as "leptop" and a "tablet" as a "teblet." Some older Southland speakers use the TRAP vowel rather than the START vowel in dance, chance and castle. In contrast, the TRAP vowel in young Australians is tending towards START or STRUT in some words so that "the cat sat on the mat" can be heard as "the kaht sut on the maht", "laptop" is heard as "lahp-top" and "tablet" as "tub-let." This comparison serves to illustrate the progressive distancing of the New Zealand and Australian accents.
- The NURSE vowel /ɜr/ is rounded and often fronted in the region of [ɵː~œː~øː].
- The THOUGHT vowel /ɔː/ is a close-mid back rounded vowel [oː], as is in Australian and South African English.
- One discernible difference between New Zealand English and Australian English is the length of the vowel in words such as job, dog, slog, and fog, etc. In Australian English, as with British English, the vowel is short, so that fog and foggy have the same short vowel. In New Zealand English the vowel of fog is much longer so that there is a clear distinction in vowel length between foggy (short) and fog (long.) The length of the vowel of these one syllable words can be even longer when the word is used for emphasis such as in the sentence "Come on mate, get a job will you?" In this example both on and job are stretched for emphasis. In the sentence "For God's sake, will you feed the damned dog!" god and dog are both stretched to convey the desired emphasis of what is being said. Keen listeners of Australians and New Zealanders talking together can quite easily spot these differences.
- Another distinct difference between New Zealand English and broad Australian English is the FLEECE vowel. Whereas broad Australian has tended toward a merging of the CHOICE vowel with the FLEECE vowel New Zealand English maintains the FLEECE vowel pronunciation of standard British and American English. Thus in the sentence "Steve's favourite cheese is Bega Tasty" a person with a broad Australian accent sounds as if they are saying "Stoiv's favourite choiz is Boiga Tasty." A very clear example of this vowel treatment is Australia's Tim Bailey, weather reader for Network Ten Sydney. New Zealanders do not sound like this.
- New Zealand English is mostly non-rhotic (with linking and intrusive R), except for speakers with the so-called Southland burr, a semi-rhotic, Scottish-influenced dialect heard principally in Southland and parts of Otago. Older Southland speakers use /r/ variably after vowels, but today younger speakers use /r/ only with the NURSE vowel and occasionally with the second vowel in letter. Younger Southland speakers pronounce /r/ in third term but not in farm cart. A fairly accurate representation of the rhotic Southern New Zealand accent was depicted in The World's Fastest Indian a movie about the life of New Zealander Burt Monro and his achievements at Bonneville Speedway. On the DVD release of the movie one of the Special Features is Roger Donaldson's original 1971 documentary Offerings to the God of Speed featuring the real Burt Monroe. His (and others) southern New Zealand accent is definitive. Among r-less speakers, however, non-prevocalic /r/ is sometimes pronounced in a few words, including Ireland, merely, err, and the name of the letter R.
- /l/ is dark in all positions, and is often vocalised in the syllable coda. This varies in different regions and between different socio-economic groups; the younger, lower social class speakers vocalise /l/ most of the time.
- New Zealand English has the wine-whine merger; thus the distinction between /w/ as in witch and /ʍ/ as in which has disappeared except in the speech of older speakers.
- As with Australian English and American English the intervocalic /t/ may be flapped so that in the sentence "use a little bit of butter" becomes "use a liddle bid of budder."
- New Zealand English has the trap–bath split: words like dance, chance, plant and grant are pronounced with an // sound, as in Southern England and South Australia. However, prior to World War II there existed an almost 50/50 split between the pronunciation of dance as // or //, plant as // or // etc, and this had been the case for many decades.
- New Zealand speakers have the salary–celery merger and would thus pronounce // as //. For instance, elephant is pronounced // and only // in older speakers with staunch British allegience. Thus elegy and allergy, Alan and Ellen are now homophones. This merger has been noted since at least 1939 when it was then commented on by Arnold Wall.
- Some New Zealanders pronounce past participles such as grown, thrown and mown with two syllables, the latter containing a schwa /-əʊ.ən/ not found in other accents. By contrast, groan, throne and moan are all unaffected, meaning these word pairs can be distinguished by ear.
- The trans- prefix is usually pronounced //. This produces mixed pronunciation of the as in words like transplant //. However, // is sometimes heard in older persons of staunch British heritage.
- The name of the letter H is almost always //, as in North America, and is almost never aspirated (//).
- The name of the letter Z is usually the British, Canadian and Australian zed. However the Alphabet Song for children is always sung ending with zee in accordance with the rhyme. As with much modern spoken New Zealand English, this and other earlier hard-and-fast rules are gradually becoming a thing of the past and zee pronunciation is being heard more frequently, although never in abbreviations such as ANZ, NZ, TVNZ or in the name of the renamed Shell Service Stations, which are now called 'Z.'
- The word foyer is usually pronounced //, as in Australian English, rather than // as in British English.
- The word and combining form graph is pronounced both // and //, whereas in Australia and the majority of the UK it is universally pronounced //.
- The word data is commonly pronounced //, with // being the second commonest, and // being very rare.
- Words such as contribute and distribute are predominantly pronounced with the stress on the second syllable, -tri-. Variants with the stress on the first syllable are also used.
- Common in spoken New Zealand is the use of the word "like" as a quotative, discourse marker or as a hedge, similar to its use in "Valleyspeak" belonging to the "Valley Girl" stereotype of the United States. This appears to have been adopted by young New Zealanders during the 1980s when "Valleyspeak" became popularized internationally through music and media of the time. Katie Drager, assistant professor in sociolinguistics at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, showed that New Zealand English speakers have distinct uses for ‘like’ and that they pronounce each type of ‘like’ slightly differently (so that e.g. “He was like ‘yeah’ and she was like ‘no’” would have a different pronunciation from “And, like, it was raining”). Australian English did not develop in this way and thus this feature remains a distinct difference between Australian and New Zealand colloquial English.
- Like Canadian English, New Zealand English is well known for the frequent use of the word "eh", where it is used by New Zealanders after sentences to mean many things such as "is it?", "isn't it", "it definitely is", "excuse me/pardon", "do you agree?", "that is true," "what?", "are you serious?", "didn't you [accusative]", "I mean what I said", etc. The Māori word "nei" has similar meaning and usage. The New Zealand usage of the word "eh" is also increasingly filtering into Australian English and can often be heard in similar usages especially by Western Australians and Sydneysiders, possibly due to the higher numbers of New Zealand immigrants living in those areas. Queenslanders too claim the use of "eh" to be a marker of their local dialect which is unattributed to any New Zealand influence.
There are a number of dialectal words and phrases used in New Zealand English. These are mostly informal terms that are more common in casual speech. A considerable number of loan words have also been taken from the Māori language as well as from Australian English. (see the separate section, below).
New Zealand adopted decimal currency in the 1960s and the metric system in the 1970s. Despite this, several imperial measures are still widely encountered and usually understood, such as feet and inches for a person's height, pounds and ounces for an infant's birth weight, and in colloquial terms such as referring to drinks in pints. In the food manufacturing industry in New Zealand both metric and non-metric systems of weight are used and usually understood owing to raw food products being imported from both metric and non-metric countries. However per the December 1976 Weights and Measures Amendment Act, all foodstuffs must be retailed using the metric system. In general, the knowledge of non-metric units is lessening.
As with Australian English, but in contrast to most other forms of the language, some speakers of New Zealand English use both the terms bath and bathe as verbs, with bath used as a transitive verb (e.g. I will bath the dog), and bathe used predominantly, but not exclusively, as an intransitive verb (e.g. Did you bathe?).
Both the words amongst and among are used, as in British English. The same is true for two other pairs, whilst & while and amidst & amid.
Australian English influences
Many New Zealand English terms have their origins in Australia. The most well-known one is the use of the word mate to mean friend, or buddy, or simply person, as in "G'day mate, how are ya?" or "cheers, mate!" Although it is originally an early British usage adopted and adapted in Australia, it is used in New Zealand exactly as in Australian usage. Māori tend to use the word bro in the same way although this is no longer exclusively a Māori usage. Other Australian words that have become part of the New Zealand vocabulary are coo-ee which was originally an aboriginal term meaning ‘to come’ and which has been used as an all-purpose call to summon someone in for their lunch etc. It exists in NZE in the phrase "within coo-ee" meaning ‘near’. "Tall poppy" originated in Australia as a negatively loaded reference to someone who stood out from the crowd (e.g. by being particularly bright or successful). It has been adopted and adapted in New Zealand, giving "tall poppyitis" (a variant of "Tall Poppy Syndrome"), "tall poppy pruning", etc., as well as homegrown equivalents like "tall ponga" (the ponga is a native tree fern).
Other Australian terms common in NZE include bushed (lost or bewildered), chunder (to vomit), dinkum (genuine or real), drongo (a foolish or stupid person), fossick (to search), jumbuck (sheep, from Australian pidgin), larrikin (mischievous person), Maccas (21st Century slang for McDonald's food), maimai (a duckshooter’s hide; originally a makeshift shelter, from aboriginal mia-mia), station (for a large farm), pom or pommy (an Englishman), wowser (teetotaller), and ute (pickup truck.)
American English Influences
Advancing from its British and Australian English origins, New Zealand English has developed to include many Americanisms and American vocabulary in preference over British terms as well as directly borrowed American vocabulary. Some examples of American words used instead of British words in New Zealand English are muffler for the British silencer, truck for the British lorry, station wagon for the British estate car, stove over cooker, creek over brook, hope chest over bottom drawer, eggplant instead of aubergine, hardware store instead of ironmonger, median strip for central reservation, stroller for pushchair, pushup for press-up, potato chip instead of potato crisp, license plate for registration plate, corn instead of maize, cellphone or cell for British and Australian mobile phone and mobile, gasoline or gas for British and Australian petrol (although Australian influence is re-popularizing petrol), and popsicle instead of British ice lolly (or Australian icy pole.)
Directly borrowed American vocabulary include bobby pin (hair pin), the boonies (boondocks), bucks (dollars), bushwhack (fell timber), butt (buttocks - replacing British/Australian arse although arse can still be used), ding (dent), dude (guy, fellow), duplex (a type of dwelling), faggot and fag (a homosexual - replacing British poof and poofter), figure (to think or conclude; consider), hightail it (leave or go quickly), homeboy (person from one's neighbourhood), hooker (prostitute), lagoon (expanse of shallow fresh water), lube (oil change), man (in place of mate or bro in direct address), major (to study or qualify in a subject), to be over [some situation] (be fed up), reckon (to think or suppose), rig (large truck), sheltered workshop (workplace for disabled persons), spat (a small argument), subdivision (land divided into blocks or sections), and tavern (a place licensed for the sale and consumption of alcoholic drink.)
In the New Zealand Navy the US pronunciation of Lieutenant (loo-ten-ant) is used (but not for the Army or Air Force).
New Zealand's parliament is called House Of Representatives (as opposed to House Of Commons in UK and Canada.)
In recent times the American pronunciation of exit ('eg-zit' versus 'ek-sit') is preferred.
New Zealand pronunciation of tuna is almost invariably 'too-na' and not the British and Australian 'choo-na.' However, the words tune and tuner are always pronounced 'choon' and 'choona' as with British and Australian English.
In addition to word and phrase borrowings from Australian, British and American English, New Zealand has its own unique words and phrases derived entirely in New Zealand. Not considering slang, some of these New Zealand-isms include:
- choice (adj or interj) excellent; good
- Dairy (noun) a corner shop; convenience store
- Superette (noun) a convenience store smaller than a supermarket but bigger than a corner store.
- chur (interj) contraction of "cheers" most common heard in "chur, bro."
- dear (adj) expensive; overpriced.
- fang it (phrase) to go fast.
- get your beans (phrase) get what's coming to you; be punished
- give it a burl (phrase) to try; undertake an activity
- handle (noun) A glass of beer; pint.
- Kiwi (adj) Not only does Kiwi mean 'a New Zealand person' but it is sometimes used to replace the word New Zealand in NZ businesses or titles, such as KiwiRail and Kiwibank or New Zealand-related nouns, eg. "Kiwi-ism." This practice may be seen by non-New Zealanders as overly kitsch or cute.
- knackered (adv) tired; worn out.
- iwi (noun) Māori word for tribe.
- kai (noun) Food (from Māori)
- munted (adj, slang) a) destroyed; trashed; broken b) of a person, weird or odd
- puckerood or pakaru (adj) broken; busted; wrecked.
- rattle your dags! (phrase) hurry up!
- rough as guts (phrase) of machinery, not working properly; of behavior uncouth or unacceptable.
- shot (acknowledgement or interj) a) thank you b) to express joy c) give praise
- souvenir (verb) to take without asking; steal (such as soap from a hotel or napkins from a restaurant, etc)
- skull (verb) to drink a glass of beer in one go.
- stoked (adv) very pleased; delighted.
- sweet as! (interj) Cool! Awesome!
- tiki tour (noun) a guided tour; exploration.
- town house (noun) a small self-contained, free standing house with little or no back yard, often with a shared driveway with neighbouring houses. The NZ meaning is unique and differs completely from the American, Asian, Australian and European meaning of townhouse (ie. terraced houses) as well as the UK meaning (city houses of nobility.)
- up the boohai (phrase) to be lost; stranded.
- wahine (noun) A woman; wife (from Māori.)
- winner (noun) (of a person) a total loser; write-off.
- Yeah-nah (acknowledgement) an emphatic 'no.'
Differences from Australian English
Many of these relate to words used to refer to common items, often based on which major brands become eponyms.
|a portable telephone|
|chilly bin||Esky[note 2]||cooler|
|shack||a small, often very modest holiday property, often at the seaside|
|dairy[note 4]||milk bar
|convenience store, a small store selling mainly food|
|duvet||Doona[note 2]||a continental quilt, a thick covering for a bed|
|ice block||ice block
Icy Pole[note 2]
|an ice pop, a popsicle, an ice lolly, a frozen water-based snack|
|candy floss||fairy floss||cotton candy|
|cattle grid||a device for preventing cattle wandering on country roads|
judder bar[note 5]
speed hump[note 6]
|a raised section of road used to deter excessive speed|
drinking fountain
|a fountain designed to provide drinking water|
|no exit||no through road||signage for a road with a dead end, a cul-de-sac|
|togs||swimming costume[note 7]
budgie smugglers[note 8]
|swimwear, swimming costumes, or other clothes designed to be worn in water|
|Twink[note 2]||Liquid Paper[note 2]
|correction fluid, a fluid applied to paper that covers up ink below it when dried, after which it can be written over|
|a marker pen|
|travel through open or (more often) forested areas on foot|
- Some New Zealanders will often reply to a question with a statement spoken with a rising intonation at the end. This often has the effect of making their statement sound like another question. There is enough awareness of this that it is seen in exaggerated form in comedy parody of New Zealanders, such as in the Classic 1970s comedy character Lynn Of Tawa. This rising intonation can also be heard at the end of statements, which are not in response to a question but to which the speaker wishes to add emphasis. High rising terminals are also heard in Australia.
- In informal speech, some New Zealanders use the third person feminine she in place of the third person neuter it as the subject of a sentence, especially when the subject is the first word of the sentence. The most common use of this is in the phrase "She'll be right" meaning either "It will be okay" or "It is close enough to what is required". Similar to Australian English are uses such as "she was great car" or "she's a real beauty, this [object]."
The dominant influence of Māori on New Zealand English is lexical. A 1999 estimate based on the Wellington corpora of written and spoken New Zealand English put the proportion of words of Māori origin at approximately 0.6%, mostly place and personal names.
The everyday use of Māori words, usually colloquial, occurs most prominently among youth, young adults and Māori populations. Examples include words like kia ora ("hello"), or kai ("food") which almost all New Zealanders know.
Māori is ever present and has a significant conceptual influence in the legislature, government, and community agencies (e.g. health and education), where legislation requires that proceedings and documents be translated into Māori (under certain circumstances, and when requested). Political discussion and analysis of issues of sovereignty, environmental management, health, and social well-being thus rely on Māori at least in part. Māori as a spoken language is particularly important wherever community consultation occurs.
Pronunciation of Māori place names
The pronunciations of many Māori place names were anglicised for most of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, but since the 1980s increased consciousness of the Māori language has led to a shift towards using a Māori pronunciation. The anglicisations have persisted most among residents of the towns in question, so it has become something of a shibboleth, with correct Māori pronunciation marking someone as non-local.
|Placename||English pronunciation||Te Reo Māori||Māori pronunciation|
|Cape Reinga||/ /||ray-i-nga||/ /|
|Hawera||//, //, or //||ha-we-ra||//|
|Otorohanga||// or //||o-to-ra-ha-nga||//|
|Te Awamutu||/ /||te a-wa-mu-tu||/ /|
|Te Kauwhata||/ /||te kau-fa-ta||/ / or / /|
|Waikouaiti||/ / or / /||wai-kou-ai-ti||//|
Some anglicised names are colloquially shortened, for example, Coke // for Kohukohu, the Rapa // for the Wairarapa, Kura // for Papakura, Papatoe // for Papatoetoe, Otahu // for Otahuhu, Paraparam // or Pram // for Paraparaumu, the Naki // for Taranaki, Cow-cop // for Kaukapakapa and Pie-cock // for Paekakariki.
There is some confusion between these shortenings, especially in the southern South Island, and the natural variations of the southern dialect of Māori. Not only does this dialect sometimes feature apocope, but consonants also vary slightly from standard Māori. To compound matters, names were often initially transcribed by Scottish settlers, rather than the predominantly English settlers of other parts of the country; as such further alterations are not uncommon. Thus, while Lake Wakatipu is sometimes referred to as Wakatip,[needs IPA] Oamaru as Om-a-roo,[needs IPA] and Waiwera South as Wy-vra,[needs IPA] these differences may be as much caused by dialect differences – either in Māori or in the English used during transcription – as by laziness in anglicisation.
Recognisable regional variations are slight, with the exception of Southland, where the "Southland burr" (see above) is heard. It is also common in the southern part of neighbouring Otago. This southern area formed a traditional repository of immigration from Scotland (see Dunedin). Several words and phrases common in Scots or Scottish English persist in this area: examples include the use of wee to mean "small", and phrases such as to do the messages meaning "to go shopping". Taranaki has also been said to have a minor regional accent, possibly due to the high number of immigrants from the South-West of England, however this becoming less pronounced. Current research (2012) suggests that postvocalic /r/ is not restricted to Southland, but is found also in the central North Island where there may be a Pasifika influence, but also a possible influence from modern New Zealand hip‐hop music, which has been shown to have high levels of non‐prevocalic /r/ after the NURSE vowel.
Other Southland features that have been identified and which may also relate to early Scottish settlement are the use of the TRAP vowel in a set of BATH words (dance, castle), which is also found in some Australia English regions and in the maintenance of the /ʍ/ ~ /w/ distinction (so which and witch are not homophonous for such speakers.)
Some Māori have an accent distinct from the general New Zealand accent, tending to use Māori words more frequently. Bro'Town was a TV programme that exaggerated Māori, Polynesian, and other accents. Linguists recognise two main New Zealand accents, denoted "Pākehā English" and "Māori English"; with the latter strongly influenced by syllable-timed Māori speech patterns. Pākehā English is beginning to adopt similar rhythms, distinguishing it from other stress-timed English accents.
- Where there is a difference between British and US spelling (such as cancelling/canceling and jewellery/jewelry), the British spelling of using double-L is almost universally used although there are some specific words that always retain a single "l" as in enrol.
- New Zealand spelling of -re words such as centre, metre, litre, and theatre have always officially followed the British spelling as opposed to American center, meter, liter, and theater although in practice American spellings frequently appear in New Zealand texts, such as in Real Estate listings, buy-and-sell websites such as Trade Me, AutoTrader, and others.
- -ce words such as defence, and licence are always spelled in the British way as opposed to American defense, and license.
- With -our words like colour/color or behaviour/behavior the spelling of -our is usually used unless a Trademark, such as Colorsteel or The Color Run, etc. Foreign official awards such as the FBI Medal Of Valor always retain their US spelling in New Zealand texts. Additionally the online version of the New Zealand Herald newspaper republishes articles with US spelling when the original article is written with US spelling, such as articles from the Associated Press. Since the advent of Word Processors with Spell checkers, in modern assignment writing in New Zealand universities the rule is to use either 100% British spelling or 100% American spelling, the emphasis being consistency. Informally, these rules are not followed exclusively as evidenced by the frequency of US spelling in New Zealand on-line buy-and-sell websites, automobile sales sites, Real Estate sites, Business sites, etc.
- For words ending -ment as in judgment and argument etc, the American spelling is universally used in New Zealand as opposed to British judgement and arguement.
- The British spelling of aeroplane has fallen out of favour for the US spelling, airplane. Either can be used in NZ. In Britain and Australia airplane is also increasingly being used. Conversely, aeroplane is still sometimes used in French-speaking areas of Canada.
- New Zealand English retains the distinctions between program ("computer heuristic") and programme ("schedule, broadcast show"), disk ("information storage device") and disc ("flat circular object"), and analog (as in analog stick) and analogue (all other senses) found in British and Australian English.
- It is acceptable to form past tenses and past participles of certain verbs with either the British -t or American -ed forms in New Zealand English. For example, learn becomes learnt or learned, spell becomes spelt or spelled, burn becomes burnt or burned, and dream becomes dreamt or dreamed (//). However in phrases such as burnt offering or as in the colour burnt sienna the word burnt is always spelled -t. These -t choices are pronounced with a final unvoiced /t/ sound, meaning spoilt is pronounced // not // unless spelled specifically -ed in which case it is accordingly pronounced //. Learned, the adjective meaning "wise", is universally spelt thus and pronounced as two syllables. The past tense and past participle of earn is earned universally, though it may be pronounced ending with a /t/ sound.
- Words with the digraphs ae and oe in British English used to be predominantly spelled as such in New Zealand English (e.g. foetus not fetus) and not with just e as in American English however over the last three decades the American spelling has become favoured. This has also occurred somewhat more recently in British English as well. Examples of this include encyclopaedia (old) = encyclopedia (new), chamaeleon (old) = chameleon (new), hyaena (old) = hyena (new), and homoeopathy (old) = homeopathy. All of these words are listed in the New Zealand Oxford English Dictionary with the accepted American/New Zealand spelling listed first and the British spelling as an alternative. However, manoeuvre is always officially spelled in the British way and not US maneuver (possibly unconsciously due to having both the -oe and -re rules in the one word.)
- In New Zealand the spellings of ton and tons are commonly used (e.g. I have tons of friends and I feel tons better), despite the metric system with its tonne having been introduced in the 1970s.
- In words that may be spelt with either an -ise or an -ize suffix (such as organise/organize) New Zealand English, like Australian English, mainly prefers -ise. This contrasts with American English, where -ize is generally preferred, and British English, where -ise is also generally preferred but by some, including the Oxford Dictionary, -ize is preferred. In New Zealand it is not wrong to use either spelling. In Australia -ize is unacceptable.
- New Zealand favours fiord over fjord, unlike most other English-speaking countries, although fjord is not unseen.
- When spelling words with macrons borrowed from Māori, New Zealand English can either spell them with macrons or without (e.g. Maori and Māori are both accepted spellings). In informal writing, macrons are not usually kept. New Zealand tends to spell these words with macrons more often than other countries and there is a growing tendency to do so.
- New Zealand uses jail exclusively over Australian and British gaol.
- The American spelling tire is almost equally used as the British spelling tyre.
- All abbreviations of title, position, marital status, middle name, etc are abbreviated without a period in New Zealand. Thus the abbreviation of Doctor is Dr, the abbreviation of Mister is Mr, and the W in George W Bush do not have periods after them, as opposed to Dr., Mr. and George W. Bush in other forms of English. Countries, businesses and places such as USA, AA (Automobile Association), Sth Africa are also abbreviated without a period in New Zealand English. This practice has been in place in New Zealand since the late 1970s.
- Australian English
- British English
- Culture of New Zealand
- New Zealand humour
- Regional accents of English
en-NZis the language code for New Zealand English , as defined by ISO standards (see ISO 639-1 and ISO 3166-1 alpha-2) and Internet standards (see IETF language tag).
- Hay, J., Macglagan, M., & Gordon, E. (2008). New Zealand English. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press.
- Trudgill, P., Gordon, E., Lewis, G., & Maclagan, M. (2000). Determinism in new-dialect formation and the genesis of New Zealand English. Journal of Linguistics, 36(2), p. 300).
- Bayard, Donn (2000). "New Zealand English: Origins, Relationships, and Prospects". Moderna Språk (Sweden: Linnaeus University) 94 (1): 8–14. ISSN 2000-3560. Retrieved 2010-07-24.
- The Story of English by Robert McCrum, William Cran, and Robert MacNeil. BBC Publications and Faber and Faber: London, 1986.
- Mannell, Cox & Harrington (2009a).
- Mannell, Cox & Harrington (2009b).
- Bauer et al. (2007), p. 99.
- Bauer et al. (2007), p. 98–100.
- This is also pronounced /eə/, especially amongst some young speakers with very cultivated accents.
- Many words that are pronounced with /ʊə/ in traditional RP are often pronounced with /oː/ in New Zealand English.
- Evans, Zoë; Watson, Catherine I. (2004). "An acoustic comparison of Australian and New Zealand English vowel change". CiteSeerX: 10
.1 .1 .119 .6227.
- Crystal (2003), p. 354.
- Kortmann et al. (2004), pp. 587 and 611.
- Trudgill & Hannah (2002), pp. 23-24.
- Kortmann et al. (2004), pp. 582, 592, 610.
- English-language vowel changes before historic /r/#Near-square merger
- Trudgill & Hannah (2002), p. 24.
- Kortmann et al. (2004), pp. 589f.
- Kortmann et al. (2004), pp. 582, 591.
- "Other forms of variation in New Zealand English". Te Kete Ipurangi. Ministry of Education. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
- Kortmann et al. (2004), p. 605.
- Kortmann et al. (2004), p. 594.
- Kortmann et al. (2004), p. 611.
- Kortmann et al. (2004), pp. 606 and 609.
- http://www.arts.canterbury.ac.nz/linguistics/.../2009_Elizabeth_Gordon_3.pdf The New Zealand accent: a clue to New Zealand identity? Pages 47-48
- "When is a pint not a pint? ", Ministry of Consumer Affairs
- "Is a pint really a pint in Wellington? ", 06/09/2012, The Wellingtonian
- Dignan, J. R. E.; O'Shea, R. P. (1995 title = Human use of metric measures of length). New Zealand Journal of Psychology 24: 21–25. Check date values in:
- Entry Spud on Etymonline
- Kate Nixon (3 January 2011). "Queensland beach shack". Homes.ninemsn.com.au. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
- judder bar. Collins English Dictionary — Complete & Unabridged 11th Edition. Retrieved 3 September 2012 from CollinsDictionary.com website:http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/judder-bar
- Crystal (2003), p. 355.
- Kennedy, Graham & Shinji Yamazaki 1999. The Influence of Maori on the New Zealand English Lexicon. In John M. Kirk (ed), Corpora Galore: Analyses and Techniques in Describing English. Amsterdam: Rodopi: 33-44
- "Identifying Māori English and Pakeha English from Suprasegmental Cues: A Study Based on Speech Resynthesis", Szakay, Anita
- Jeanette King on the influence of Māori pronunciation on New Zealand English, 6/2/2010.
- Morel, Mary. "American and Australian spelling". Online Grammar. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
- The fiord spelling was the normal one in English until the early 1920s, and is preserved in many place names worldwide. In New Zealand it is used in Fiordland, a rugged region in the south-west.
- Bartlett, Christopher (1992), "Regional variation in New Zealand English: the case of Southland", New Zealand English Newsletter 6: 5–15
- Bauer, Laurie; Warren, Paul; Bardsley, Dianne; Kennedy, Marianna; Major, George (2007), "New Zealand English", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 37 (1): 97–102, doi:10.1017/S0025100306002830
- Cryer, Max (2002). Curious Kiwi Words. Auckland: HarperCollins Publishers (NZ) Ltd.
- Crystal, David (2003), The Cambridge encyclopedia of the English language (2nd ed.), Cambridge University Press
- Deverson, Tony, and Graeme Kennedy (eds.) (2005). The New Zealand Oxford Dictionary. Oxford University Press.
- Grant, L.E., and Devlin, G.A. (eds.) (1999). In other words: A dictionary of expressions used in New Zealand. Palmerston North: Dunmore Press.
- Kortmann, Bernd; Schneider, Edgar W.; Burridge, Kate; Mesthrie, Rajend; Upton, Clive, eds. (2004), A handbook of varieties of English, Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter
- Leland, Louis S., jr. (1980). A personal Kiwi-Yankee dictionary. Dunedin: John McIndoe Ltd.
- Mannell, Robert; Cox, Felicity; Harrington, Jonathan (2009a), An Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology, Macquarie University
- Mannell, Robert; Cox, Felicity; Harrington, Jonathan (2009b), An Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology, Macquarie University
- Orsman, H.W., (ed.) (1997). The Dictionary of New Zealand English: a dictionary of New Zealandisms on historical principles. Auckland: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-558380-9.
- Orsman, H.W., (ed.) (1979). Heinemann New Zealand dictionary. Auckland: Heinemann Educational Books (NZ) Ltd.
- Trudgill, Peter; Hannah, Jean (2002), International English: A Guide to the Varieties of Standard English (4th ed.), London: Arnold
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