Talk:New Zealand English

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Near/Square merger[edit]

I am surprised not to see in the "Distinction between /eə/ and /ɪə/" section the term "near/square merger", as this is widely used as google will show. Also, the "Lack of distinction between ferry and fairy" does not refer to "-arry" words: in "Mary", "marry", and "merry" some pronounce them identically, with a nasalized vowel. Jlittlenz (talk) 11:05, 26 February 2008 (UTC)


I apologize for not posting earlier; anyway, this article should be similar in structure to Irish English, Canadian English, South African English and the like (although this article is so much better than that on SAfrEng); more specifically,

  • Sections 1, 6 (subsections 6.1 through 6.7), and 7 (subsections 7.1 through 7.8) should be merged into one section on Pronunciation; currently, phonology and phonetics are sometimes confused, and there is some repetition;
  • The IPA chart currently in section 1 should cite its sources--I'm not even sure it's entirely accurate;
  • There should be one section on vocabulary, with two subsections (differences with Australian [and possibly British] English, and vocabulary distinctive to New Zealand [with some examples] respectively).

But that's just my take on it. Corrections and suggestions are more than welcome! Jack(Lumber) 19:07, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

IPA chart source is in the archive. (talk) 14:58, 8 May 2008 (UTC)


Anybody got any reference on the NZ use of "eh" ? Feels like it deserves a mention eh? Sweet as. AstroDave (talk) 16:26, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

These days more phonetically spelled "ay". I remember seeing it spelled thus in Barry Crump. Jlittlenz (talk) 04:27, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

I've even seen "aye"... AstroDave (talk) 15:06, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Yeah but 'aye' is a word in itself, plus some places prononce 'eh' as it is written, in the north of England for example. (talk) 12:44, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

Is it Maori for yes? Ae? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:51, 23 March 2015 (UTC)

For at least forty years to my knowledge - the "eh" (pr. as in "hay" and with an upward inflection), has been a marker of the Auckland region - possibly further north as well. Wellingtonians certainly identified it as a marker from their 'rival' city. In the South Island it is NOT common to this day at any social level (1/1/2016), whereas it is consciously not used by educated people in the north island. For southerners it is definitely identifying northern dialects. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:44, 1 January 2016 (UTC)


I think listing wee in vocabulary differences is a bit silly. Wee is a Scottish term apparently used in NZ. It is far less common in Australia but occasionally used, and certainly recognised. Meanwhile the alternate, "Australian" usage of wee is more widespread than that and is also used in the UK as slang for urine. Maybe it can come out of the list: neither usage is restricted to Aust or NZ. Format (talk) 06:55, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Wee in Australia usually refers to urine, though it does occasionally mean small. In new Zealand it is the opposite - it is usually used to mean small, though (very) occasionally it is used to mean urine. That difference in primary meaning means it deserves a place on the list. Grutness...wha? 07:09, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
Umm - I think wee meaning urine is pretty common in New Zealand isn't it? Especially when speaking to infants and toddlers... Wee wee... up here in the so-called subtropics 'wee' means small too, occuring fairly often in the semifossilised phrase 'little wee ' Kahuroa (talk) 09:08, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
'Wee' is common usage for 'small' in Otago and Southland, much more so than further north. 'The wee house' as a term for toilet is generally a conscious pun, sometimes in the form 'wee hoose', as most of us are aware that 'wee' for 'small' is a Scotticism that has endured from colonial times. Koro Neil (talk) 13:44, 12 March 2009 (UTC)


About 20 years ago my Kiwi boss told me to "herf" something. A couple of years later another New Zealander told me that this meant, as I had assumed, "chuck/throw/toss out" and that it was a loanword from the Low German dialect. I haven't been able to verify that this is true or even whether it's commonly used in NZ. Anyone know? Grant | Talk 10:38, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

I think you mean 'heff'... rather than hurf... I'd be surprised if it was a loan from low german, but I guess anythings possible. Maybe its more likely to be combination of heave and biff?? But even that seems doubtful Kahuroa (talk) 06:59, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
I haven't heard 'heff', but I have on occasion 'hurfed' things. I would understand it to mean 'throw, toss' in a general sense, not necessarily 'throw out', but it would be natural enough if it's followed 'toss' in that respect (to 'toss' something now often means 'toss it out'). 'Turf' is often used to mean 'throw', and is likely older – could 'hurf' be a portmanteau of 'heave' and 'turf'? Koro Neil (talk) 12:53, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm a Northlander, and I use this term myself. I might say that we will "hiff the garbage onto the truck", meaning to throw. I'm not sure about the spelling, as this is the first time I've attempted to spell it, and I can't recall ever having read it. To my ear/vocal chords, the vowel in "hiff" is the short-i, but due to the tendency in NZE for the short-i to sound like schwa, it might indeed sound like a non-rhotic "herf" to an outsider. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:29, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Christchurch here, we use hurf, and to mean chuck/throw, etc. Seems common enough to be understood readily by anyone. You'd phrase it as 'hurfed out', if you meant 'tossed out'. (talk) 23:48, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
In reference to Koro Neil's suggestion above, it might be a portmanteau of hurl and turf as well. Also similar to heft.Number36 (talk) 00:55, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

sounds historical[edit]

Does anyone have any information about why it sounds like it does? It can't just be the adaptation of colonists to using Māori words, can it? What made English people taken out of England sound like this? plan 8 (talk) 07:44, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

As soon as the populations are kept mostly seperate, there are sound changes. (talk) 03:49, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Also, not all New Zealanders are from English stock. They are mixed from European, Asian and Polynesian stock. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:32, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Women and Wellington[edit]

Another common feature of New Zealand English is the pornunciation of 'women'. Unlike Australian English, New Zenglish does not make a distinction between the pornunciation of 'woman' and 'women' as both are pronounced as 'woman' with the second vowel being relaxed.

The 'e' sound when followed by an 'l' produces a vowel more like 'a' as in 'hat' rather than the typical 'i' sounds. This means, Wellington is pronounced as 'Wallington' to an Australian English speaker. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:26, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

My experience contradicts your comment about the words woman and women. I'm a NZE speaker and I say woman as [wʊmən] and women as [wəmən]. I believe that I'd notice if someone pronounced both words the same and it's not something I've heard among adult speakers of New Zealand English.
As for Wellington/Wallington, this is an instance of the salary-celery merger that is characteristic of New Zealand English. This merger deserves mention in this article.
Ben Arnold (talk) 02:07, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
Woman and women may not be homophones but they must be quite close. The FOOT vowel is supposedly fronted in New Zealand English, which would put it quite close to the KIT vowel. Thegryseone (talk) 16:45, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

I just checked Trudgill's International English (4th ed., pp. 33-34) and here's what I found:

As a further development [of the centralization of KIT], the vowel /ɪ/ = [ə] has become merged with /ʊ/ after /w/, so that, for example, women has become identical in pronunciation to woman ... [for] younger New Zealanders, at least. ... Unlike AusEng, the vowel /ʊ/ tends to be unrounded, as in many types of EngEng.

I'm [dʒæˑkɫɜmbɚ] and I approve this message. 23:30, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

I too say woman and women as separate sounds, but often hear others pronouncing them the same way - 'woman'. I've also heard Wellington pronounced 'Wullington'. Strangways (talk) 23:57, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

It seems to me that women is just pronounced as it is written, in contrast to Australian or UK English. Another example of this is the word "says" as in "John says this" which in Australian or UK English is pronounced "sez", but in NZ is often pronounced as written. (talk) 03:16, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

I'm a New Zealander and I pronounce "women" and "woman" identically. The second vowel is a schwa in both instances. I would say that this is the dominant pronunciation among New Zealanders. People who pronounce the two words differently tend to have a specific reason for doing so (eg, they are feminist or use an affected pronunciation to enhance social status). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:39, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps you are missing the point, then. The audible difference between "woman" and "women" is in the first vowell, not the second vowell.Eregli bob (talk) 15:40, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

I'm a New Zealander, male, and I pronounce "woman" and "women" differently, while I agree the above comments by Unsigned, that the general pronunciation of "woman" and "women" is the same, but I'm not sure without evidence whether this is uniquely a New Zealand based phenomena to do with pronunciation. Unsigned's claim that anyone how pronounces women and woman differently are either '...feminists or enhancing social stasis...' without any citations is just idle speculation, or conversely reflective of Unsigned's own insecurities. However I did find this; "woman - late O.E. wimman (pl. wimmen), lit. "woman-man," alteration of wifman (pl. wifmen), a compound of wif "woman" (see wife) + man "human being" (in O.E. used in ref. to both sexes; see man). Cf. Du. vrouwmens "wife," lit. "woman-man." The formation is peculiar to English and Dutch. Replaced older O.E. wif, quean as the word for "female human being." The pronunciation of the singular altered in M.E. by the rounding influence of -w-; the plural retains the original vowel." So as you can see Woman under went a vowel shift to a more rounded wo- sound, and in women retained the older conservative pronunciation of wi-. Mark — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:22, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

Pronunciation key[edit]

There are a couple of things I don't like about the pronunciation key. First, the idea that the vowel in ark is merely a long version of the vowel in run seems wrong to me. I'd have to spend some time working out what my tongue's doing when I'm saying those vowels but it's definitely in a quite different place.

The other thing I don't like is using the same symbol for about, bit, comma, roses and Rosa's. To me, a leading or trailing schwa is the same vowel as in run, and and an internal schwa is the same vowel as in bit. I think a New Zealand English speaker would find it counterintuitive to claim that a single symbol represents both the <i> and <er> in winner.

Ben Arnold (talk) 02:17, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

You are entirely right of course, and for a very simple reason that everyone - especially Australians - just don't seem to understand: they are phonetically different vowels. While a small number of people in NZ do indeed use /ə/ in bit, in metropolitan areas at least the vast majority of speakers use the 'tense' vowel /ɨ/ in this position, the 'lax' vowel /ə/ appearing exclusively as a reduced vowel in unstressed syllables. Certainly, /ɨ/ is nothing like the /ɪ/ of Australian English, but claiming as many do that fush and chups is representative of standard NZE is like claiming Kath and Kim are representative of Australians.

Sycdan (talk) 03:45, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Use of she as third person neuter[edit]

This seems to be less common than it was 50 years ago. I'm interested in the statement, This is similar to Australian English. I've heard Aussies use it, but I'd like to know how far back its use goes. I've heard a joke told by an Australian in which the punchline has a character saying "She'll be right mate," marking him as a New Zealander. I certainly understood that the phrase is a Kiwi one, but I was under the impression that the neuter 'she' was also ours. Did the expression travel west across the Tasman, or is it a shared inheritance? Koro Neil (talk) 14:01, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Quality of /l/ in In Zid[edit]

This is nothing of critical importance (nothing I say on Wikipedia usually is), but I found a source that said /l/ has a "clear" and "dark" allophone in In Zid English. Maybe this is only for the cultivated varieties, maybe it's true for everyone; I'm not sure. I'll have to look again. Though I know that in AusE, /l/ is "dark" in all environments (like AmE), except for occasional l-vocalization, so it would make sense if NZE was the same way, but who knows. Thegryseone (talk) 00:02, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Well, more recent and/or more specialized sources are welcome. This is interesting, anyway. I mean, many American speakers (I'm not among them) will tell you that there's a clear L and a dark L. The truth probably is, the alleged "American clear L" is not as clear as they think it is--in RP, the clear L is clearer than that. My /l/ is dark in all positions, but some positions are probably darker than others. Webster's Third (1961) says, "The clearest /l/ in American speech is not as clear as in some foreign languages, and some phoneticians treat all occurrences of /l/ in the speech of most Americans as dark ... In the U.S., the clearest /l/'s occur in the speech of some Southern speakers [when /l/ is intervocalic]." Well, so much for In Zid English. Sorry for the tangent. I'm Jack(Lumber) and I approve this message. 00:48, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Yeah the RP clear L sounds like the Spanish L to me. When I speak Spanish, my L is one of the things I have to change. Most people (including me) just naturally do this without realizing it when they speak Spanish, because the American L just doesn't sound right for Spanish. Thegryseone (talk) 01:35, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

And vice versa. I'm Jack(Lumber) and I approve this message. 01:42, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Phonetic Quality of NURSE in AusE and NZE[edit]

According to a recent study of AusE by Felicity Cox, NURSE is a rounded vowel in AusE (despite the fact that it's broad phonemic transcription is /ɜː/), that it is at least as high as /eː/, and that it has moved forward since the 1960's. So [øː] (with a retraction diacritic) might be an appropriate narrow phonetic transcription for the AusE vowel. From what I've read, the phonetic quality of the NZE NURSE is around there as well. The point I'm trying to make is that this isn't really something that distinguishes NZE from AusE so much as it is something that distinguishes both varieties from Northern Hemisphere varieties. And it brings up an interesting point: all the Southern Hemisphere varieties of English (including WSAfE) have rounded realizations of NURSE. I don't understand why this is. Thegryseone (talk) 00:28, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

And that's not the only thing they have in common. The claim about the NURSE vowel was already there before my recent changes, I only added a cn tag to it. NZE NURSE is probably somewhat more exaggerated than its Australian counterpart--I remember reading about that New Zealand linguist named Turner who pronounced his own surname the way a German speaker would pronounce the word Töne. I'm Jack(Lumber) and I approve this message. 00:48, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Yeah the NZE NURSE might be a bit further forward than the AusE one, but I'm not sure if the two are always distinguishable from one another. I'm not sure what kind of difference is needed in the F2 values of two vowels for them to be distinguishable from each other. Thegryseone (talk) 01:52, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

I don't even know if it's possible to make a quantative distinction based on the formant values of speakers of different dialects--in absolute terms. I'm Jack(Lumber) and I approve this message. 22:55, 9 April 2009 (UTC)


In the Pronunciation section:

"Documentary films from the first half of the 20th century featuring both Australian and New Zealand voices show that the accents were more similar before the Second World War and diverged mostly after the 1950s."

Dialects section:

"Some speakers from the West Coast of the South Island retain a half Australian accent[citation needed] from the region's 19th century goldrush settlers."

If the accents didn't diverge until the 1950s why would the 19th century gold rush have anything to do with the closer-to-Australia pronunciation on the west coast? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:51, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

Well, you'll notice that it does say "citation needed". That doesn't make any sense to me either because all New Zealand accents could be thought of as "half Australian". Thegryseone (talk) 15:58, 25 May 2009 (UTC)
"Half Australian" is so colloquial to be meaningless/confusing. Which half? Needs better wording, and references. Format (talk) 20:04, 25 May 2009 (UTC)
I think I figured out what that means now and I have a source for it. When they say "half Australian", they're actually referring to just one feature. According to my source, there are conservative South Island speakers who use /æ/ in words like dance and example. This is known to be an Aussie feature though not all Aussies do it. Thegryseone (talk) 21:57, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

Most distinctive?[edit]

Article says in opener the most distictive feature is the i sound... isn't that POV? Opinion? To this Australian the most distinctive thing is the e sounds, as in, the All Blecks. Format (talk) 20:02, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

Well it's a little POVish. What I was trying to do was clarify what I thought the previous writer meant. Fish and chips is really the only dependable shibboleth. I imagine you're younger than 40 years old and from someplace besides Greater Melbourne. In Melbourne, TRAP and DRESS sound more Kiwi-like (though KIT sounds very un-Kiwi-like). So a Melbournian very well might pronounce "All Blacks" just how you described it. Also older Australians in general might pronounce it close to that as well. The TRAP vowel has changed in Australia. It is now pronounced [æ] by younger non-Melbournians and it's lengthened in certain environments and raised before nasals. So what I'm saying is that's not a dependable shibboleth if you're talking to an older Aussie or a Melbournian, while the KIT vowel is, although it appears that there are exceptions to this as well, e.g., Sydney. The real situation is complicated as you can see. Thegryseone (talk) 21:39, 25 May 2009 (UTC)
I am a Melburnian, and the All Blecks pronunciation sounds quite jarring to me. The whole "Victorians switch e and a around" is a odd invented on the internet thing as far as I can tell. (I think that might be what you are referring to?) No, I am not younger than 40! Australians of any area or any age saying All Blecks, I must say, is news to me. I thought of this as I recently saw a program on the murder of Janelle Patton. They showed the murderer being interviewed in the NZ police station; the main thing in his accent that stood out was the e sound replacing a. His i pronunciations didn't really stand out to my ears. Of course this is all original research too. Format (talk) 01:39, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
Well where did you grow up and how long have you been living in Melbourne? Also how old are you? Where did your parents grow up? How educated are you? What do you consider your social class to be? I don't mean to make things so personal, but this stuff is nice to know if you're doing linguistic research. Of course it's your choice if you want to tell me or not. What I'm saying is not original research. It's not my research at all. I'm basically quoting from a book about the phonology of the different varieties of English. It says 2 things about Aussie English: 1.) The vowel in words like sack a.k.a. TRAP has lowered, i.e., become less Kiwi-sounding since the 1960's. Some linguists did research on the speech of Aussie males in the 1960's and this was compared to research done on Aussie males in the 1990's. They concluded that TRAP had lowered. What this probably means is that it is now pronounced more like [æ]. I'm not sure how old the guys they studied in the 1960's were nor am I sure how old the blokes they studied in the 1990's were, hence the guess about your age. I probably should have said younger than 65 or even 70, because if the guys who they studied were adolescents in the 1960's, then they easily could be in their 60's today. 2.) It also said that "the regional differences in front lax vowels are clear" in Australia. The front lax vowels are TRAP, DRESS and KIT, just in case you didn't know. The book says that,

Sydney and Newcastle [I know you know where those two places are as an older Aussie, I just like linking stuff], just to its north in New South Wales, have substantial centralisation of the KIT vowel, though less extreme than in most sociolects of New Zealand English. Melbourne has this vowel raised nearly nearly to cardinal [i], and also has raised both DRESS and TRAP vowels consistently more than other areas of Australia, as first noted in Bradley and Bradley (1979). This occasionally leads to misunderstanding between Melbournians and other Australians.

So apparently Melbournians young and old still raise TRAP more consistently than other areas of Australia.
The thing you're referring to is called the salary-celery merger. It occurs in New Zealand English. However, that's not what I'm talking about here. I realize that nothing in this world is true 100% of the time. There are always exceptions. You could be an exception. Also books on phonology can be wrong sometimes. Thegryseone (talk) 10:16, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
The things you quote do not really fit my experiences of living in Melbourne for 40 years (if I understand them correctly!) I have never really heard of any of these Melbourne accent differences or misunderstandings before - Melbourne produces a lot of national television (in previous decades a greater proportion than now, but it still produces a lot) and interstate viewers have no problem with the accents as far as I know. The main difference I have heard is with castle, though not all Victorians say that the same way anyway. It is not too big an issue - I just thought the NZE article making a pronouncement about the "biggest difference" from AustE was a pretty big call. It think there is a problem comparing the accents in such a basic way because there is variation at least in the intensity or broadness of accent across NZ from my small experience there. This is probably the case in Aust as well-doesn't stand out to me as much as I am Australian. The main Australian region with a (slightly) different accent is South Australia - this is already alluded to here in the NZE Article. Format (talk) 20:06, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
I don't think this is that big of a deal either. I am just an amateur linguist babbling on and on about stuff. I'm not trying to argue with you (not that you said I was), I just really enjoy discussing this stuff. Books can be wrong. What they say about Australian English isn't the last word. You can always do your own research and listen to the way Aussies from various places and of various ages pronounce their vowels and consonants. After all, you're the Aussie here. I'm American and I've discovered lots of differences in the regional dialects of American English just by using my ears. A lot of these differences aren't written about anywhere. So like I said, books on phonology don't tell you the whole story anyway. There are a lot of subtleties.
From a worldwide perspective, the centralization of the KIT vowel in New Zealand is an unusual feature. The only other places I can think of that do that are some Scottish English accents, South African English (although it's more restricted there) and the Inland North dialect region in the United States (although it's less extreme there and the majority of speakers probably don't even do it). If you don't understand what I mean by centralization, let me explain. I mean they pronounce words like kit with a vowel that is closer to the one you would probably use at the beginning of about or in the last syllable of braces or stated. I do believe most linguists would consider the pronunciation of the KIT words in New Zealand to be the "biggest" difference from Australian English or at least the one that's easiest to hear, but like I said, I don't really want to argue with you because I've enjoyed this discussion and because you're a native Aussie and I'm not. She'll be right. Hooroo mate. Thegryseone (talk) 23:10, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
I agree it is interesting. As you state the New Zealand kit pronunciation is distinctive. That is possibly the first and most distinctive thing Australians identify as different when they hear New Zealanders speak for the first time. (As for other English speakers who knows? Don't know if North Americans and UK speakers hear it the same way.) After awhile it becomes apparent there are other vowel shifts apparent: iggs for brickfast, All Blecks being obvious ones mentioned in this article. (New Zealanders mostly use the long a in chance, but that isn't noticeable to Australians because many Australians, and all South Australians, say that too.) The NZ kit pronunciation is sometimes used in a similar way to the Canadian a-boat (about) - it stands out and is exaggerated/parodied as the difference. I guess my initial comment as worded appeared to dispute the way the article was worded, but you're putting up a good argument for it staying. Format (talk) 23:31, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
Well, as an American I'll tell you that the Aussie accent and the Kiwi accent are more different from one another than the American accent and the Canadian accent. American accents and Canadian accents are extremely similar. I'm pretty sure Americans are the only people in the world who can hear the difference. Even Canadians don't realize that they sound different from Americans.
I don't think I have clarified this, but in general you're right about the Kiwi pronunciation of black and eggs for breakfast. The New Zealand front lax vowel shift tends to be more extreme than that of Australia. However, if you were to compare your TRAP and DRESS vowels to my American ones, they would probably be a bit more raised. Yours would be between mine and a Kiwi's. I was just trying to say that it's not like TRAP is never raised in Australia (it had to be raised at one time in order for DRESS to be raised, which caused KIT to be raised and fronted, making fit sound more like a shortened version of feet to speakers of some other varieties of English; this is called a chain shift btw), it's just that almost all Kiwis do it and it can be more extreme sometimes (especially among young women), sounding closer to your DRESS vowel. Thegryseone (talk) 00:41, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

Phonology section[edit]

I've restored the phonology section that was removed due to the belief that it wasn't referenced. The problem was that the reference was not footnoted properly, so it wasn't clear enough to the reader that it was actually there in the reference section. If there are any queries about my action, please bring them up here before any changes are be made. – Marco79 18:00, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

Jersey Error? (In Dif. from Oz)[edit]

I followed the jumper or sweater explanatory link and discovered it included sweatshirts. Now correct me if I am wrong but I thought jerseys referred to a specific type eg wool. School jerseys are what spring to mind but having been out of the country for a quite a wee while I could be mistaken. Does the note need editing or redirecting to the jersey page or ...? (talk) 16:44, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

When I was a lad in England, I recall both a jersey and guernsey being different styles of woollen top, originating from the eponymous Channel Islands. In NZ/Australia, and perhaps generally, they now mean a sports top fairly unlike the original. Don't have any references, though :-) --Richdrich (talk) 08:48, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

As an NZE speaker, a "jersey" is normally synonymous with "jumper" or "pullover" and means a woollen garment of medium to heavy weight, except where it refers to the uniform of a sports team, in which case it will generally be a sweater (light-weight cotton or synthetic garment). Not all sports use this term though. (talk) 02:08, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

Yes, to me (an NZer), a "jersey" is woolen and a "sweater" is lightweight cotton or synthetic. Also, "sweater" is synonymous with "skivvy". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:53, 11 April 2012 (UTC)


Article claims that "marone" is used in Australia as an alternative for "maroon". I have never heard of this before. ("Marrone" is the Italian word for "brown".) Format (talk) 18:30, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

I am aware of this usage, although it's fairly much obsolete now. As per the reference here: . I've also found it in a book published in Britain in about 1950 (referring to the particular shade of colour of an Australian stamp first issued in about 1938). However I don't have any recollection of it being a specifically Australian usage. Daveosaurus (talk) 08:20, 1 November 2009 (UTC)
As a follower of Manly I hear this all the time. Not the spelling but the pronunciation. I rarely hear it pronounced "maroon" tbh.Ticklemygrits (talk) 05:36, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

I rarely hear "maroon" pronounced correctly in Australia. In fact, even ABC announcers say "marone" and I have had many heated discussions with Australians about the pronounciation. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:51, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

Difference in pronunciation from Aussie English which may be worth mentioning...[edit]

Is it worth mentioning the pronunciation difference between NZ and Aus with words like "cool" and "rule" - which in Australia have distinctly more of a "cewl"/"rewl" sound? Grutness...wha? 06:33, 26 December 2009 (UTC)

I feel this article obsesses over Australian English too much. Certainly there are similarities between the two, but I feel this article would be better if it focused on describing NZ English objectively rather than continually comparing things to Australian English saying "this contrasts with Australian English, which... " I do not think it helps the article too much, and makes it seem a bit parochial. Format (talk) 20:38, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

some Australians conversely claim that New Zealanders say "fush and chups" - fush? Does this rhyme with blush, or is this a result of my NZ accent interpreting an Australian's interpretation of mine? Because to me fish is ... well, I can't think of how to write it so it would be understandable. But it doesn't rhyme with blush. -- Guest -- (talk) 10:16, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

I personally believe that the claims about fush and chups, and feesh and cheeps are silly. In both cases, it is informal banter or a joke that is sometimes heard, but it is not really encyclopedic. How wide spread these jokes are, and what actual pronunciation is used for "fush", are unclear, because they are nothing more than informal jokes. I am Australian, and have actually heard New Zealanders do the "Seedney Harbour Breedge" send-up. Thing is, if I as an Australian can hear them saying "Seedney", then it must be an exageration. If that were an accurate pronunciation, I wouldn't have known they were sending up an Australian accent and would simply think they were (to my ears), speaking normally. Since every accent of English is different from all the others, this one comparison seems a bit skewed to me. BTW, how do New Zealanders say "cheap"? Format (talk) 22:30, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
"Cheap"? Rhymes with "beep" by my accent - but not chip. -- (talk) 03:58, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
I was trying to illustrate how foolish feesh and cheeps sounds to me. In Australian English 'cheap' rhymes with 'beep' but it does not rhyme with 'chip', which has a completely different vowel sound all together. To me it sounds like NZ has dropped the 'i' sound, replacing it with a schwa. Australia English has the schwa sound too, like the 'e' in 'record' in the sentence "I will record that in my book." Not sure why New Zealanders find the sound of the letter 'i' so funny? Do they also find it funny when Italians speaking Italian pronounce it exactly the same way? Format (talk) 05:28, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
By that description, do you mean the i sound in chip is the same as the e sound in record, or near enough? I'm suspecting Australians and NZers pronounce the words both the same, at least nowadays. That's what I always assumed anyway. (talk) 04:56, 17 February 2010 (UTC)
No Australians use a definite 'i' sound in "chip" - it is close to the vowel sound in the New Zealand pronuciation of "eggs" or the first vowel in the Italian pronunciation of "pizza". New Zealanders are more likely to use the schwa for the vowel sound in "chip". The Australian and New Zealand pronunciations of "chip" are different, but the differences are not as great as the exaggerated fush and chups/feesh and cheeps implies. Format (talk) 07:06, 17 February 2010 (UTC)
Oh, I get you now. Sorry this conversation got dragged out a little far. XD (talk) 07:43, 17 February 2010 (UTC)
To me, Australians don't sound like they're saying chip as 'cheep' rhyming with cheap, while mostly it sounds completely normal, but where there is a difference in a pronounced accent I'd compare it more to 'chep', rhyming with 'rep'.Number36 (talk) 00:18, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
The schwa that NZE uses for "i" is distinctive, in that air is blown a bit more forcefully than usual over a depressed tongue, which mixes in a rushing noise. That gives the "uh" impression which forms the basis of the fush and chups send-up. On the other hand, feesh and cheeps makes fun of the AE tendency to nasalize these vowels. (talk) 08:35, 26 August 2014 (UTC)

Southland Burr[edit]

Empirically speaking, I'd say that it's a common misconception that the "Southland Burr" starts around Dunedin. I spent the first 20 years of my life in Dunedin, and I would make the following comments: 1. I have never, ever heard someone in Dunedin say "do the messages" to mean "do the shopping". 2. Growing up, we always assumed that the pronounced "r" sound was a characteristic of the Gore/Mataura accent. By the time one had moved south to Invercargill, it had largely disappeared again. 3. We did say "wee", that's true. 4. There are a few distinct southern regionalisms aside from the Gore "r" and "wee", such as "pottle". Strawberries (for example) come in a "pottle", I believe that further north they come in a "punnet".

Time references may be necessary here as well. In the late 60s/early 70s, the northern equivalent of "pottle" (container like a large cardboard cup) was "carton", a term also used in a quite different sense for a cardboard box. "Punnet" of strawberries I've heard only in the south, the northern equivalent being "chip" of strawberries. I think this term may have disappeared, along with the object it described. It was a small container, shaped like a mini-basket and made of strips of thin wood. This was replaced by a similarly shaped aluminium container. As far as I can recall, these remained punnets in the south, I don't know whether they were still called chips in the north. Possibly "punnet" was replaced by "pottle" in the deep south (Otago/Southland), but remained in place in Canterbury. I doubt that it's ever been used in the North Island. I haven't heard either "punnet" or "chip" for some time now. Does anyone have better information on this? Koro Neil (talk) 00:20, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
I'm a Northlander and I say "punnet". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:58, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Has anyone addressed the word "Slater"? When I moved to England in the 80s I was astounded to find that English people didn't know what a "slater" was. They call it a "woodlouse". I have since heard that the word "slater" is to be found in Scotland. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:51, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

Growing up in Taranaki, I knew them as woodlice, though the term "slater" was probably around. Now living in Dunedin, I call them slaters, but I don't think it was a new term to me when I first came south. Koro Neil (talk) 00:35, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

For what it's worth, I've never heard anyone in Southland say "do the messages" either. But I think if there's any real variation in accents within Otago/Southland, it's between the coastal area (particularly outside the Dunedin or Invercargill urban areas) and the interior; gold mining in the 19th century and tourism in the 20th century would have resulted in mass immigration from places other than Scotland.Daveosaurus (talk) 01:47, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

Doing the messages may have died out -it was becoming rare when I lived in Milton in the '70s, but it was still heard fairly regularly. I doubt that I've heard it at all in the last couple of decades. Grutness...wha? 21:45, 16 October 2010 (UTC)

FWIT, people from Otago, particularly Dunedin, definitely do have the burr but evidently for less words, and I think with less consistency compared with central Southland. More anecdotally, I'm 30, was born in Gore, live in Dunedin, and have only ever encountered the term "doing the messages" to my knowledge on this wikipedia article. "Running errands" I'm familiar with, as well as "doing shopping". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:30, 3 February 2017 (UTC)


I'd like to see some evidence that the word "domain" is the NZ equivalent of the Australian "paddock". The word is used in several Commonwealth countries to refer to the "Queen's Domain". So you have Auckland Domain, but you also have The Domain, Sydney. StAnselm (talk) 23:11, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

Address given as Hedgehope Domain, SH 96, Hedgehope: [1]; "Monthly meetings are held on the 3rd Thursday of each month at the Club rooms situated in the Edendale Domain": [2]; "Throughout New Zealand a Town Domain is typically a public sport area administered by a Domain Board." (Link to censored by Wikipedia); "The cemetery is approximately 6k up this road on the south side of the Woodbury Domain." [3] Daveosaurus (talk) 00:08, 16 October 2010 (UTC)
In Australia a paddock is a fenced enclosure for livestock. Format (talk) 00:17, 16 October 2010 (UTC)
That's exactly my understanding of paddock as a NZer- as in sheep paddock on a farm. Domain is different - a publically administered ground used for events or just as a park. Kahuroa (talk) 10:25, 16 October 2010 (UTC)
Yes it sounds like the Aust and NZ usages of "paddock" and "domain" are the same. "Domain" is not really used in everyday Australian speech when describing a park or garden area, but there certainly are official names using "Domain", including Kings Domain, Melbourne. Format (talk) 22:29, 16 October 2010 (UTC)
Same in NZ I think - names of places established in the 19C, maybe early 20th. Not a current term really Kahuroa (talk)

Domain is a modern spelling for the French import (1066 and all that) of demesne relating to ownership of or rights to land. In NZ the colonial governments set aside lands to be community areas and, later, set up community boards to administer them. Ultimately these were absorbed by local governments under a form of trust. Lin (talk) 00:09, 16 September 2012 (UTC)

Bach (New Zealand)[edit]

The Differences to Australian English table lists Bach (New Zealand) and crib against the "Australian" equivalent term, "holiday House". However this entry seems wrong for the table: Australia does not have a specific equivalent term for bach/crib. "Holiday house" is merely a generic term for any vacation house irrespective of size, level of opulence, or location. As I understand at, a bach is a small beach side shack. Perhaps Australians might call an equivalent in Aust a beach shack, but even that is not really a specific term, more generic. Format (talk) 08:27, 17 October 2010 (UTC)

The more comparable australian term would be "weekender".Eregli bob (talk) 15:49, 27 December 2012 (UTC)
If Australia has no equiv that's a difference. But bach is perhaps a dying term like so many terms in this article. With rising property values beach houses these days can be architect designed and v pricey and shacks are pretty much a thing of fhe past or fast becoming so. The South Island crib i can't speak for. Kahuroa (talk)
Here in the deep south the words bach and crib are used pretty much interchangeably these days, but they are both still common, if perhaps less so than in the past. Grutness...wha? 21:42, 17 October 2010 (UTC)
The term "crib" is used primarily in the South Island. See here. New Zealanders from the North Island generally use the term "bach". (talk) 14:39, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
Noticed at Piha, west Auckland coast the other day, that there are still plenty of humble baches among the flash stockbroker beach houses. I guess it was once an isolated haven, not so much now. Kahuroa (talk) 22:56, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
Well in the table there is the description: A small, often very modest holiday property, often at the seaside. However, the Australian usage of "Holiday house" does not fit that specific definition (or the specific definition of bach); In Australia "Holiday house" is generic and means any holiday house (eg a million dollar mansion in Portsea, Victoria or an estate in Mount Macedon, Victoria). It is not equivalent to "bach". An Australian might say "beach shack" but these aren't words peculiar to Australia. Format (talk) 07:46, 13 November 2010 (UTC)
I have changed the entry accordingly. Kahuroa (talk) 10:17, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

Differences from Australian English[edit]

I have added a

tag to this section. Working through the list, many explanations are US-centric and this in itself is an issue for this article given American-English is also a dialect of English - you can't really give an explanation of the English meaning using a different dialect again.


Cooler The article linked too itself says "In the United Kingdom the common name is a "cool-box". In the United States they are usually called a "cooler". In New Zealand they are generally called a "chilly bin", a genericized trademark; the common Australian name of "Esky" is also a genericized trademark." So just call it a cool-box if that is the English equivalent.

Bach Already under discussion I believe. Needless to say "Shack" isn't used overly in Australia, and the reference given is a single entry on a real estate site. Holiday home could be better? Usually you just hear "I've got a place down the coast".

Flip-flops Pure Americanism.

Cul-de-sac has a different meaning in Australia - Cul-de-sacs rarely have no-through-road signs on them.

Country raincoat - seriously??

Akitora (talk) 09:06, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

I've tried to address most of these concerns, and have removed the tag. Note that English doesn't necessarily mean English language in England. Snori (talk) 18:52, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
I think the entire Differences to Australian English table is a bit misguided, and artificially limits what can be listed. Why explicitly focus on Australia in the comparison? Why limit the article to only describe terms that are used in New Zealand but not in Australia. If you look through column three of the table, it makes it apparent that there is no logical reason to single-out Australia, because in some cases New Zealand uses a US term, in other cases it uses a UK term, and in other cases New Zealand has a unique term (Bach). And with these terms, some are also used in Australia, while others aren't. The article would be improved, IMO, if it referred objectively to New Zealand English. It should refer to those terms used in New Zealand, and forget about worrying about what is happening in Australia. It could refer to those terms used in New Zealand: bach, crib, cell phone, chilly bin, capsicum. Where appropriate (in the case of capsicum) it could explain that the term is used only in New Zealand and Australia. The current table means that things like capsicum are not mentioned at all. It has a few errors too. Like, in Australia, a texta ([4]) is a brand name of permanent marker and they have a dense, intense, permanent ink -the term "texta" isn't really ever used for a highlighter which is a bright, flourescent ink. Format (talk) 22:22, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
Comparison with Australian English makes sense as Australian English is internationally better known and is much closer to NZ English in vocubulary than British, American or SA English. Daveosaurus (talk) 23:56, 4 January 2013 (UTC)


I've removed the confusing entry from "Differences from Australian English". A Swanndri or swannie is a heavy woollen shirt, with no direct Australian equivalent. Yes, the company now makes oilskin garments similar to the Australian Driza-Bone - but no-one in NZ calls these swanndris. Snori (talk) 19:07, 2 January 2012 (UTC)


I have been asking around everyone I know, Alot of which were around in the 70's 80's as I myself was, and not a single one of them has ever heard of it, or the book. It simply seems it was made up for the book and maybe a few fans of the book used it... Seriously, It does not belong here. It's nothing. Last I checked, we simply call it English. (talk) 07:14, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

American English[edit]

A section on the influence of this should be included.--MacRusgail (talk) 15:27, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

Pronunciation section needs reviewing.......[edit]

I think an Australian wrote or at least edited this page to be honest, particularly the "Pronunciation" section. I really think it needs to be re-edited. Here's an example.

"The short-a /æ/ of TRAP is approximately /ɛ/, which sounds like the short-e of YES to other English speakers. The sentence "She is actually married to a happy man" said by a New Zealander is heard by other English speakers as "She is ectually merried to a heppy men."

I don't think that something like this is worth mentioning. There are also some silly references mentioned in regards to the pronunciation of certain words. In my experience, foreigners usually can't distinguish between Australian and New Zealand English. I would edit this myself but I don't know how and I'm not going to. I just thought I'd bring this to someone's attention. (talk) 23:42, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

I agree—for the same reasons generally and from lack of skills. My current issue is with the lack of the appreciation of the influence that Māori has on NZ English. My main complaint is that the way that "h" is dropped from many versions of English beginnings whereas it is a prominent feature of the way we say English. There are so many Māori place names using "h", Hauraki, Hurunui, Hikorangi, Huirangi and so on, that we just cannot easily drop the way we express that letter in English.

In a more general way I caannot get over how Aussies murder the pronunciation of Polynesian and Pacific Islands languages. A current example is "Naroo" for Nauru and another is "Petro" for Petero. It seems that we are growing wide apart from similarity! Lin (talk) 00:30, 16 September 2012 (UTC)

"The name of the letter H is always /eɪtʃ/" I don't think this assertion is correct. Some - particularly older - people use the aspirated '/heɪtʃ/' form in parts of Tasman, Buller and Westland. Shaun mcgrath (talk) 09:11, 10 December 2012 (UTC)

There's no reference or cite for it, and it seem dubious to me as well, I'm going to remove it. (talk) 23:39, 12 February 2013 (UTC)


The statement that New Zealanders prefer the spelling fiord needs examining. Fjord is the spelling I'm familiar with; the spelling with i is pretty well limited in my experience to the name of Fiordland, and the inlets which give the region its name are invariably called sounds rather than either fiords or fjords, even in their names (Milford Sound, Dusky Sound, etc). A contrary point of view is put forward in the archives of this talk page. Koro Neil (talk) 01:33, 1 October 2012 (UTC) (Dunedin, Otago)

Strongly seconded. (talk) 23:38, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
I'll strongly third that. The most common context one would refer to fjords in would be talking about those in Nordic countries, where the spelling fjord would be used. Where would 'fiord' be used? (And not completely relevant but why would anyone pass up an opportunity to put f and j together? It's such a friendly looking conjunction. Fjord. ;) )Number36 (talk) 00:29, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

Nothing about macrons[edit]

An omission from the article is any mention of the use of the macron in NZ English to indicate long vowels in words of Maori origin. Nurg (talk) 10:03, 26 October 2012 (UTC)


The latest addition, Pudding --> Dessert, seems like yesterday's news to me. Pudding is rarely heard in NZ these days as far as I can tell. But more importantly, Pudding also describes non sweets such as Yorkshire pudding, black pudding, suet pudding and steak and kidney pudding etc. Comments? Moriori (talk) 01:39, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

My friend uses it, I guess I assumed that it was widely used. Beager (talk) 01:46, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
Old news? Yes. And the word is part of many dishes from England (e.g.raspberry pudding in Australia). Some are steamed,[1] some Christmas. While 'sweet' and 'dessert' are recent imports, evidence suggest pudding is still NZ for dessert.[2] I suggest a visitor to a home in rural NZ would be offered pudding as a sweet following a meal. wcrosbie (talk), Melbourne, Australia 02:15, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
How about you change the lead of our Pavlova article from "Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert" to "Pavlova is a meringue-based pudding'". That could give us some sort of lead. And in the meantime perhaps we should add Haggis and Black Pudding as examples in the addition Beager made today. Moriori (talk) 03:12, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
I wouldn't call a pavlova a pudding though (I'm Australian). A pudding is a subset of desserts, referring to something more cakey or cakey with a sauce. So a sticky date pudding or a lemon delicious can be called puddings, but other desserts like pavlova, pies, custard or jelly-based desserts etc aren't. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:38, 27 October 2014 (UTC)

We use both dessert and pudding, almost synonymously in New Zealand and with equal frequency. Most obviously you certainly would never get a 'pudding menu' at a restaurant, you'd get a dessert menu. The current edit incorrectly makes it seem as though we don't use dessert. Same problem with judder bar, when we do use speed bump as well, if not actually much more commonly. Also I'd've thought hot dog would belong on the list with the meaning specific to New Zealand of a battered sausage on a stick. (talk) 23:33, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

  1. ^
  2. ^

More detail needed on Maori English[edit]

Most kiwis can detect a Maori speaker of English(say on talk back) before they have said more than 3 words.I cant explain why-can someone help? Voice tone is different? Use of plurals is very different in less educated Maori? Sentence structure different?Vocab VERY different?This section needs expanding.Can anyone help? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:47, 10 April 2013 (UTC)

There is one sentence on this question, if you have missed it: "Pākehā English" and "Māori English"; with the latter strongly influenced by syllable-timed Māori speech patterns". I don't have clue what exactly is meant by "syllable-timed Maori speech patterns", though. Aaadddaaammm (talk) 09:59, 10 June 2013 (UTC)

Anglicisation of placenames[edit]

Here's the table showing the pronunciations of some place names.

Placename Anglicisation Te Reo Mãori IPA
Paraparaumu para-pa- ram pa-ra-pa-ra-umu pɑ.ɾɑ.pɑ.ɾɑ
Taumarunui towm-ra-noo-ey tau-ma-ra-nu-i tɑu.mɑ.ɾɑ.nui
Hawera ha-w'ra ha-we-ra hɑː.we.ɾɑ
Te Awamutu tee-awa-moot or tee-a-mootu te a-wa-mu-tu te ɑ.wɑ.mu.tu
Waikouaiti wacker-wite or weka-what wai-kou-ai-ti wai.kou.ɑːi.ti
Otorohanga oh-tra-hung-a or oh-tra-hong-a o-to-ra-ha-nga oː.to.ɾo.hɑ.ŋɑ
Te Kauwhata tee-ka-wodda te kau-fa-ta te kɑu.ɸɑ.tɑ

The problem is that the items in the Anglicisation column (or at least many of them) are meaningless. For example, is the ow in towm-ra-noo-ey meant to be pronounced like the ow in cow or the one in low and how about the ey, is it meant to be like the ey in key or the one in they ... or what? Does tee-awa-moot rhyme with foot or with boot? As for ha-w'ra, is this even an Anglicisation? It doesn't even seem pronounceable (according to normal English phonology). What's needed is an IPA transcription. Jimp 11:14, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

You raise interesting points. Note that all the entries in the Anglicisation column are mispronunciations (a fact that is not made clear). Thus they form part of informal speech, especially so since some of them are abbreviations. The "ow" is generally pronounced as in "cow" or "town", but "ow" as in "low" is sometimes heard and could actually be considered to be closer to the true Te Reo "au" sound than "cow" is. The "ey" is pronounced as in "tree". The "moot" rhymes with "boot" or "flute". The "ha-w'ra" is indeed a phonetic spelling of the mispronunciation by New Zealanders of the place name "Hawera" and you should read the section "Short front vowels" which tries to give an explanation for the scarcely-pronounced i's in "fish and chips". If you think of it this way: in informal speech, New Zealanders tend to lazily scarcely pronounce the "e" in "Hawera". It tends to get lost between the "w" and the "r". Incidentally, this is actually a better description for the "fish and chips" pronunciation, and "fush and chups" is an exaggeration. A better phonetic spelling might be "f'sh and ch'ps". I've lived in Auckland my entire life and was in high school when JFK was shot. Akld guy (talk) 02:20, 15 August 2014 (UTC)

Terminal devoicing[edit] a distinctive aspect of NZE phonology. Heff for have, and so on137.205.183.114 (talk) 08:28, 26 August 2014 (UTC)

Source? Peter238 (talk) 18:06, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
I don't know if it's worth mentioning if it doesn't affect the vowel length. Most "voiced" (which are in fact voiceless lenis [or sometimes even voiceless fortis] word-initially and word-finally) consonants are differentiated from the voiceless ones by the length of the vowel that preceeds them. See clipping (phonetics). Peter238 (talk) 23:35, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

Vivid Versus Texta/Highlighter[edit]

If you asked for a vivid you would get something that blacks out text and is difficult to remove. Vivids are permanent markers as distinguished from felt tips and whiteboard markers. They are, effectively, the total opposite of highlighters. Why are they listed as being equivalents? Is this some truly bizarre Australian use of the term highlighter? Is it some nonsense on the part of a Wikipedia editor? And, whatever the case there the description does need to be changed to permanent marker. (talk) 12:39, 23 December 2014 (UTC)

In Australia, a "highlighter", is a highlighter, that is a felt tip pen with ink that seems to fluoresce. "Texta" is a brand of permanent marker. The texta company was known for very inky permanent marker pens that had a very strong odour - but I think the company has many other items these days. Traditionally the word "texta" was used generically for other felt tip coloured pens used for colouring-in books, children's drawings, etc. Australians would never use the word "highlighter" to speak of a generic marker pen for colouring in; "highlighter" is used only for those specific pens used in offices and academia that actually highlight text. Format (talk) 20:56, 9 January 2015 (UTC)


I'm surprised to see "knackered" as a New Zealandism. Growing up in NZ I had always used the word "stuffed" to mean "exhausted". When I moved to Britain at the end of the eighties, I was consistently misunderstood upon the use of "I'm stuffed", receiving the reply "Have you eaten too much?" — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:29, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

Yeah, nah[edit]

This is not unique to NZ so has been removed from the New Zealand-isms.

yeah, nah (acknowledgement). This is also commonly heard in Australia. Ref: Burridge, Kate; Florey, Margaret (2002). "'Yeah-no he's a good kid': A discourse analysis of yeah-no in Australian English". Australian Journal of Linguistics. 22 (2): 149–171. doi:10.1080/0726860022000013166. 

Prawns and shrimps. Truly?[edit]

Kiwis call prawns shrimps and Okkers call shrimps prawns? Well I never. Moriori (talk) 02:40, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

No. Okkers call shrimps And prawns just prawns. Such a big country, so little time. Eddaido (talk) 20:35, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
(sigh) Well, now I've read the instructions. Wasn't going to do that first was I. Eddaido (talk) 00:00, 29 December 2015 (UTC)


A dialect? Seriously? New Zealand English is hardly a dialect. I think that is far too much of an exaggeration. Thoughts? (talk) 01:52, 24 May 2016 (UTC)

Please refer to Dialect, where you will read that "A dialect is distinguished by its vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation....". New Zealand English certainly distinguishes itself as a dialect on each of the three counts. Akld guy (talk) 02:51, 24 May 2016 (UTC)
I disagree Akld guy. Any distinction is on all counts is too minor to be relevant. The vast majority of native English speakers would be unable to distinguish an Australia from a New Zealander based solely on pronunciation. Grammatical differences, if any, are so minor as to be irrelevant. There are some oft repeated unique New Zealand words but they are, once again, too few to be relevant. In fact, a large number of those that do exist form sub-heading on this talk page. New Zealanders have an accent, not a dialect.Roger 8 Roger (talk) 05:48, 4 November 2016 (UTC)
Scholars obviously think otherwise. Mr KEBAB (talk) 17:33, 4 November 2016 (UTC)

@Mr KEBAB A productive comment? Roger 8 Roger (talk) 22:38, 4 November 2016 (UTC)

It may be that the definition of dialect in linguistics is different from the one you are thinking of. The Dialect article seems to indicate that a dialect is just a variety of a language that is spoken by a particular group of speakers, and that there isn't any requirement for how different a language variety has to be, to be considered a dialect: dialects can be almost completely mutually intelligible with each other. If you're thinking of a dialect as being a particularly divergent form of a language, then NZ English doesn't necessarily qualify: it doesn't have hugely different grammar from other varieties of English, though pronunciation can be quite different depending on which variety of English you're comparing it with (for instance, it's probably closest to Australian, and very far from General American). It is probably mutually intelligible with many other major varieties, once you get used to the pronunciation and if the NZ speaker isn't using any unique NZ words. But in the very broad definition of "a variety of a language spoken by a particular group of speakers", NZ English is certainly a dialect. It is spoken by a particular group of people: inhabitants of New Zealand. So what definition of dialect are you using? — Eru·tuon 21:56, 4 November 2016 (UTC)

@Erutuon I agree that the lack of a fixed definition of 'dialect' is the problem in any discussion about this. Mutually un-intelligible down to slight sound differences. I think the bar is set closer to the former because we already have a word, "accent', that accounts for sound differences. There is also the problem of NZers jumping at every opportunity to stand out from the crowd, admittedly a problem shared by many groups everywhere. Why have an accent when you can have a dialect? Incidentally, the New Zealand English article needs a major overhaul. Roger 8 Roger (talk) 22:38, 4 November 2016 (UTC)

“Choice” as NZ slang[edit]

I don’t doubt that “choice” is a slang word in New Zealand, but it’s not unique in New Zealand. It’s used in Canada, too, at least, with that meaning. —Kmsiever (talk) 19:57, 2 August 2016 (UTC)

@Kmsiever: Are you sure that you understand the New Zealand usage? That is, as a single word reply indicating 'excellent' or expressing great satisfaction. "Hey, Ben, I've fixed the car so we can get to Adam's 21st party in Hamilton on Saturday night." "Choice, bro." with the word somewhat more drawn out than it is in its normal contexts. Akld guy (talk) 06:51, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
Yes, that is how we use it in Canada. —Kmsiever (talk) 18:02, 8 September 2016 (UTC)
Can you point to a reference for that, or some usages in Canadian literature? Akld guy (talk) 19:52, 8 September 2016 (UTC)
Sorry for the late reply. I just remembered about this conversation. :) Sorry, no, no references come to mind. If I come across any, I will be sure to include them here. —Kmsiever (talk) 21:47, 17 November 2016 (UTC)


"tramping (noun) tramp (verb) Bushwalking, hiking. Usage is exclusive to New Zealand." That's also questionable. It's certainly not ixclusuv to New Zealand. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:57, 4 September 2016 (UTC)

Can you point to a reference for that, or some usages elsewhere? Akld guy (talk) 19:54, 8 September 2016 (UTC)

If the names of clubs is anything to go by, then 'walking' is by far the most popular name in New Zealand, followed by tramping. Walking New Zealand lists 120 walking, 100 walkers, 45 tramping, 6 ramblers and 3 hikers groups. The first reference to a tramping club seems to have been in 1919.[1] Before that references seem to be about tramping around the country, rather than tramping in the country, on mountains, etc. So possibly it originated with WW1 soldiers tramping across Europe? The only tramping club outside New Zealand seems to be the Victorian Mountain Tramping Club.Johnragla (talk) 17:12, 12 April 2017 (UTC)

@Johnragla: Walking groups are for city dwellers who want to walk for exercise within suburban limits, along the footpath(NZ) = pavement(UK) = sidewalk(US). As the article says, tramping is the NZ term for bushwalking; that is, hiking in remote areas through bush country. There's a clear distinction between the terms and in no way do they mean the same thing. Rather than your soldier connection, I'm inclined to believe that the term arose around the time the Little Tramp Charlie Chaplin appeared on cinema screens. It may have been started by hikers making fun of their walking style as an exaggerated walk like his. We'll probably never know. Akld guy (talk) 19:57, 12 April 2017 (UTC)

Questionable content[edit]

I am curious, was this article written by people who grew up and live in New Zealand? I don't mean to sound combative, but if this is the case then perhaps these linguists are a bit too close to the subject, i.e. they are familiar with quirky New Zealand-isms that most of us either haven't heard of or would rarely hear or use. I don't want to criticise without offering constructive commentary, so I will discuss the content of the article with some other New Zealanders first to separate out what are my own personal assumptions from those of New Zealanders generally. I just find the article to be misleading in a large number of ways if you were a reader from outside of New Zealand with no other frame of reference. (talk) 05:56, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

I see that your IP address geo-locates to Victoria, Australia. It's possible that the only New Zealanders that you have come into contact with are those who have lived in Australia for long enough to pick up the Australian accent and Australian colloquialisms. Do you have a specific complaint? Perhaps we can address your concerns on a point by point basis if you can be more specific. Akld guy (talk) 06:27, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
I realise Wikipedia has to cite sources, but I'd be curious to understand the source materials. Sometimes an authoritative source (i.e. published linguist) may be pushing fringe interpretations and perspectives, especially in an attempt to offer something unique. I also think the article needs to specify that certain words and phrases belong to sub-cultures and are not necessarily generally understood by other New Zealanders. For example the phrase Fang it (to go fast) is known to one younger person I asked, but she insists that it is a term used among young boy racers. None of the other NZers I asked have heard the phrase. (talk) 06:55, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
Hi Akld guy, I am on holiday here (which is why I have the time to edit wikipedia) and the three other people I have consulted are all NZers who have only just relocated to Melbourne ranging in age from 26 to 61 (an uncle hosting his niece and her husband until they get their own place). I will point out the specific words and phrases I think are questionable, but first I have to finish consulting others about them. Some of the differences in interpretation may be generational (I am middle aged) (talk) 06:55, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

@ Nameless though you are, I think your point has merit, and I'd rather look at what you say than your IP address. @Akld guy, surely you know that all kiwis are big fishes in small ponds, desperate to find importance where none exists?:) In general, I too have concerns about this article; it tries to make NZ English look more distinct and unique than it is.Roger 8 Roger (talk) 09:52, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

Hi Roger, I see we are in basic agreement. I agree that authors keen to make their mark may exaggerate or assign significance where there isn't that much in practice. I have seen this in the academic world, especially among people with an agenda. 80% of the article is fine, it's just that my latest visit to Australia brought the subject of accent differences up with some of the locals which drew me to the article. In recent years I wouldn't normally bother editing a wikipedia page (I usually wouldn't have the time anyway), but there seem to be an odd number of categorical statements in the article which seem to be an inverse of the real situation. For instance I am not aware that in NZ a townhouse is a free standing home different to a terrace. As I have always observed the term used, and as myself and the Kiwis currently around me understand it a townhouse in NZ English is always a home physically attached to another, not a detached structure. The differences from Australian English infobox has several statements which make the Aussies I had dinner with tonight scratch their heads. One example is the use of the terms shrimp and prawn, which in reality appear to be used the same as in NZ, but the article claims mainstream Australian usage doesn't usually use the word shrimp when referring to small prawns. Australians I have consulted do not agree. I think I will post the questionable terms on Facebook as I have many Australian colleagues who write for a living and will find the topic interesting to comment on. Once I am sure my list includes only terms that are at odds with the reality I will list them here. Even if these statements are authoritatively sourced, those sources are not reliable if they contradict how normal mainstream people actually speak, and therefore conflict with Wikipedia's mainstream POV editing policy. BTW my name is David, if that is important. (talk) 14:27, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
One more comment: Subgroups within society and across different countries use specific terms. Read a medical journal or sit in on industry-specific workplace meetings or visit a car club and you will see situation-specific terminology used. I think it is wrong to imply that use of terms by subcultures within a certain country means that "in NZ English people say such-and-such", when in fact such terms are unused by most people. I can accept that all the terms in the article exist somewhere, but it's the inference that these are terms that people who speak NZ English use (or are commonly understood) when that isn't usually the case. I've never heard the phrase "get your beans" before - and if I had I would have asked what it meant. I just have never heard this phrase used in NZ. The same is true of saveloys being called "polony" in NZ. Once again there may be people in NZ who use this term, but it isn't a mainstream commonly understood name for saveloys. A fellow NZer who has lived in OZ for 20+ years is adamant that a bach/crib is not referred to as a "shack" in Australia - which has the same meaning it has in NZ - unless it is actually a shack. Some baches in NZ may indeed be shacks - in which case such a structure is likely to be called a shack by NZers also, or they can be expensive beach properties. In NZ any property near the coast is likely to be high-value real estate in practice. I am not out to nit-pick wikipedia, I just think an article that seeks to be authoritative needs to make statements that are more or less true to the situation it describes. (talk) 14:41, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
Update: an Australian has told me the correct term for an Australian bach/crib would be a "beach shack" which she emphasises is an entirely different concept from what is meant by the Australian use of the word "shack". She likened this to the term "servant", which has an entirely different meaning from the term "public servant". "Beach shack" is an Australian euphemism for a beach house and only rarely at the lowest end would that be a true shack. Most would be formal structures, i.e. beach houses, sometimes quite luxurious. I'm told you'd only describe someone's beach house as a "shack" if you were willing to risk insulting them or the context was very clear. The cited source for "shack" instead of "beach shack" may need to be looked into for accuracy or misinterpretation. (talk) 16:38, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

Another comment: I think the article needs to distinguish between words that are genuinely indicative of how everyday English is spoken in NZ, i.e. that are both understood by the vast majority of people and used by the vast majority of people and words that are known of in NZ English but aren't necessarily used or understood by most speakers of English in NZ. The words "bach/crib" are an excellent example of NZ English because they are close to being universally understood and used. Words like "chur" are not used or understood by most NZers (over the age of 30 at least). "Bro" is a bit better in that its meaning would be understood by almost all people but certainly not used by a majority of them. Such terms are actually less indicative of nationality and more indicative of social class - a subject the article seems to tip-toe around, despite it being central to language variances in any language, including NZ English. (talk) 04:19, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

"Bro" does not appear in the list, and never has, to my knowledge. It's a word that's used elsewhere, example USA, and therefore doesn't qualify as an entry. Akld guy (talk) 06:27, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

Spelling section[edit]

It states at the start that NZ uses UK spelling rather than US spelling. Why then does there follow a long list of such examples? Akld Guy, you recently reinstated my removal of Kerb rather than Curb. The reason you gave was because it is true. Well, being true is not a reason for including something like that. It is hardly worthy of note, especially when the spelling code has been stated above, UK not US. Other parts of this section, not relating to the UK-US difference also seem barely worthy of note. Long lists of words put in for the sake of it just lowers the credibility of the whole article. I suggest a heavy cull. Roger 8 Roger (talk) 04:13, 31 March 2017 (UTC)

@Roger 8 Roger: The reason you gave for deleting the entry was: "uncited and adds nothing". I restored it (with a reference) because merely stating at the start that NZ uses UK spelling rather than US spelling is not adequate when the reader might not be familiar with UK spelling. Imagine that you're Chinese or Korean and don't know that the UK spelling is kerb. Such a person might wonder whether it's kirb or kurb or kerb or curb. Would this article be of any help to him after your deletion when he wants to know how it's spelled in NZ? No, so the best we can do is give some examples. You're approaching it from the point of view of someone who knows what the UK spelling is. How about putting yourself in the shoes of readers who don't. Akld guy (talk) 05:52, 31 March 2017 (UTC)
But how far should we go with that reasoning? Followed to its logical conclusion we might as well add every word in the dictionary. Surely a line needs to be drawn and I think saying NZ uses UK spelling is that line. Roger 8 Roger (talk) 06:41, 31 March 2017 (UTC)
Add every word in the dictionary? No, because the vast majority of words are the same in all Englishes. Only a few words are different, so it's best to state them explicitly here. The article is not written for the benefit of UK readers only, it's for those who may have ESL and have no idea what the UK version is, let alone the NZ. Akld guy (talk) 08:58, 31 March 2017 (UTC)

Glossary of Australian and New Zealand punting[edit]

It seems to me there should be some link with the long list of words on the Glossary of Australian and New Zealand punting page, but not sure where to put it. Do you agree and, if so, where?Johnragla (talk) 22:52, 13 April 2017 (UTC)

  1. ^ "TARARUA TRAMPING CLUB (Dominion, 1919-08-02)". Retrieved 2017-04-12.  Unknown parameter |lwebsite= ignored (help)