"NZE" redirects here. For other uses, see NZE (disambiguation).
"Fush and chups" redirects here. For the takeaway food, see Fish and chips.
This article has an unclear citation style. The references used may be made clearer with a different or consistent style of citation, footnoting, or external linking. (May 2013)
New Zealand English (NZE, en-NZ) is the dialect of the English language used in New Zealand.
The English language was established in New Zealand by colonists during the 19th century. It is one of "the newest native-speaker varieties 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 similar to Australian English in pronunciation, with some key differences. One of the most prominent differences is the realisation of /ɪ/: in New Zealand English, as in some Scots and South African varieties, this is pronounced as /ɘ/.
2 Historical development,
3.1.1 Short front vowels,
3.1.2 Conditioned mergers,
3.1.3 Other vowels,
3.2.1 Other consonants,
3.3 Other features,
4.1 Differences from Australian English,
4.2 Other notes,
6 Māori influence
6.1 Pronunciation of Māori place names,
9 See also,
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 many terms found in New Zealand English but not elsewhere, such as "haka" (1827), "Boohai" (1920), and "bach" (1905).
In 1997, Oxford University Press produced the 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, culminating in The New Zealand Oxford Dictionary in 2004.
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.
This section requires expansion. (June 2008)
A distinct New Zealand variant of the English language has been in existence since at least 1912, when Frank Arthur Swinnerton described it as a "carefully modulated murmur," though its history probably goes back further than that. From the beginning of the British settlement on the islands, 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.
Audio recordings from the 1940s of very old New Zealanders captured the speech of those born to the first generation of settlers in New Zealand, which means linguists can hear the actual origin of the accent. For example, a recording of 97-year-old Mrs Hannah Cross, who was born in New Zealand in 1851 and lived there her whole life, shows she had a Scottish accent. Even some second generation New Zealanders did not have a noticeable "New Zealand accent", such as Mr Ernie Bissett, who was born in Kaitangata in 1894 and lived in New Zealand his entire life. But people growing up in the mining town of Arrowtown, where there was a mixture of accents, developed a recognisable New Zealand accent, such as Annie Hamilton, whose parents arrived there in 1862. The children growing up exposed to different accents picked up different features of these, but in their children, the second generation, there is a unification towards the 'foundation accent'.
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:
Monophthongs of New Zealand English
kit / comma / letter,
thought / north,
palm / bath / start,
lot / cloth,
Diphthongs of New Zealand English
However, vowel charts show that /iː ɒ ɑe ɐʉ æo/ aren't accurate transcriptions, and /ɘi ɔ ɐe ɑʉ æɔ/ approximate the actual pronunciation closer.
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. Because of this difference in pronunciation, some New Zealanders claim Australians pronounce ˈfɪʃ ən ˌtʃɪps for fish and chips while some Australians counter that New Zealanders pronounce ˈfɘʃ ɘn ˌtʃɘps.,
Like Australian and South African English, the short-e /ɛ/ of YES has moved to become a close-mid vowel /e/, although the New Zealand /e/ is moving 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 pronounced as "Brit," leading to confusion.,
The vowels /ɪə/ as in near and /eə/ as in square are increasingly being merged, so that here rhymes with there; and bear and beer, and rarely and really are homophones. This is the "most obvious vowel change taking place" in New Zealand English. 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.,
Before /l/, the vowels /iː/:/ɪə/ (as in reel vs real), as well as /ɒ/:/oʊ/ (doll vs dole), and sometimes /ʊ/:/uː/ (pull vs pool), /ɛ/:/æ/ (Ellen vs Alan) and /ʊ/:/ɪ/ (full vs fill) may be merged .,
/ɑr/-/ɑː/ as in start, bath, and palm is a near-open central-to-front vowel ɐː or ɐ̟ː. The phonetic quality of this vowel overlaps with the quality for /ʌ/ as in strut. The difference between the two is entirely length for many speakers.,
The vowel /ɜr/ (as in bird and nurse) is rounded and often fronted in the region of ɵː~œː~øː.,
The vowel /ɔː/ (as in thought and yawn) is a close-mid back rounded vowel oː, as is in Australian and South African English. Some American English dialects use oː for the diphthong /oʊ/ (as in "goat"), causing New Zealand English Auckland and American English Oakland to become near homophones. The Oakland-Auckland similarity featured in a 1992 episode of American sitcom Full House, where characters Stephanie and Michelle Tanner stowaway on a plane which they believe is flying from San Francisco to nearby Oakland, and end up on a fourteen-hour flight to Auckland instead. This followed an incident in 1985 when an Oakland-bound American passenger accidentally ended up on a flight to Auckland after misunderstanding several Air New Zealand flight attendants at Los Angeles International Airport.,
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. Among r-less speakers, however, non-prevocalic /r/ is sometimes pronounced in a few words, including Ireland and the name of the letter R itself.,
/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, in which the distinction between /w/ as in witch and /hw/ as in which has disappeared. The split is still maintained by older speakers.,
The intervocalic /t/ may be flapped.,
New Zealand English has the trap-bath split: words like dance, chance, plant and grant have /ɑː/, as in Southern England and South Australia.,
As in Australian English, some New Zealanders pronounce past participles such as grown, thrown and mown with two syllables, the latter containing a schwa /-oʊ.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 commonly pronounced /træns/. This produces mixed pronunciation of the as in words like "transplant" (/trænzˈplɑːnt/) whereas in northern (but not southern) British English the same vowel is used in both syllables (/trænzˈplænt/).,
The name of the letter H is always /eɪtʃ/, as in North America, and never in the aspirated /heɪtʃ/ of Hiberno-English origin of UK. (The /heɪtʃ/ pronunciation of 'h' is now widespread in the United Kingdom, being used by approximately 24% of British people born since 1982.),
The word foyer is pronounced /ˈfɔɪ.ə/, as in Australian English, rather than /ˈfɔɪ.eɪ/ as in British English.,
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.
New Zealand adopted decimal currency in the 1960s and the metric system in the 1970s. Despite this, several imperial measures are still widely understood and encountered, 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. The word "spud" for potato, now common throughout the English-speaking world, originated in New Zealand English.
Differences from Australian English:
Many of these relate to words used to refer to common items, often based on which major brands become eponyms:
Cellphone / mobile / mobile phone (cell)/phone(mobile)
A portable telephone. New Zealand English uses the terms 'mobile' and "cell" (and their full forms) interchangeably, compared with preferring a single term (as occurs in the UK and US).
An insulated box used to keep food cold. Esky is a genericised trademark.
Crib / Bach
A small, often very modest holiday property, often at the seaside. Crib is mainly used in the southern part of the South Island, bach in the rest of New Zealand.
Milk bar, Deli
Convenience store, a small store selling mainly food. In larger cities in New Zealand "convenience store" is used due to immigration (and to current NZ law forbidding a "dairy" from selling alcohol), though "dairy" is used commonly in conversation. In New Zealand in the 1950s and 1960s "milk bar" referred to a soda shop. In some states of Australia "milk bar" is used; other states use "deli". "Deli" is used in New Zealand to refer to a store selling high quality meats.
A continental quilt, a thick covering for a bed. The Australian term doona is a genericised trademark.
Icy pole/Ice Block
A frozen, water-based frozen snack, an ice pop, popsicle or ice lolly
A kind of open-toed footwear composed of a sole attached to the foot via a strap at the front, known as flip-flops in the United States.
Candy floss or cotton candy, a fluffy kind of confectionary.
Speed bump, a raised section of road used to deter excessive speed.
Jumper or sweater, an item of clothing worn over a shirt to insulate the body. In New Zealand and Australia "jersey" is also used for top parts of sports uniforms (e.g. for rugby) - another term for a sports jersey, guernsey, is frequently used in Australia but rarely in New Zealand.
No through road
Signage for a road with a dead end, a cul-de-sac.
Dessert, a type of food, often sweet, generally eaten after a main course.
Swimwear/swimming costumes, or other clothes designed to be worn in water. (see Australian words for swimwear)
Liquid Paper, Wite-Out
Correction fluid, a fluid applied to paper that covers up ink below it when dried, after which it can be written over.
Sharpie. A felt-tip pen filled with permanent marker ink. The term "highlighter" is also widely used in New Zealand to refer to a wide-tipped pen of this sort.
Travel through open or (more often) forested areas on foot; Both Australians and New Zealanders also make use of the term "Bushwalking".
Used in New South Wales and Victoria. Refers to swim briefs.
The last letter of the alphabet is predominantly called zed, as in Britain, rather than the American zee, though the influx of television programmes from the U.S. (especially children's series such as Sesame Street) has increased the use of the latter form. In New Zealand English the letter "h" is pronounced aych, while Australian English uses haych.
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. 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 and are more common.,
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". This is similar to Australian English.,
Main article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C4%81ori_influence_on_New_Zealand_English
Many local everyday words have been borrowed from the Māori language, including words for local flora, fauna, place names and the natural environment.
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 Maori words, usually colloquial, occurs most prominently among youth, young adults and Maori 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 are 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 pronunciation of many Māori place names was 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.
Te Reo Mãori
tee-awa-moot or tee-a-mootu
wacker-wite or weka-what
oh-tra-hung-a or oh-tra-hong-a
Some anglicised names are colloquially shortened, for example, "coke" for Kohukohu, "the Rapa" (pronounced rapper) for the Wairarapa, "Kura" for Papakura, "Papatoe" (pronounced Papatowie) for Papatoetoe, "Otahu" for Otahuhu, "Paraparam" or "Pram" for Paraparaumu, "the Naki" (rhymes with lackey) 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 Mãori. Not only does this dialect sometimes feature apocope, but consonants also vary slightly from standard Mãori. To compound matters, names were often initially transcribed by Scottish settlers; as such further alterations are not uncommon. Thus, while Lake Wakatipu is sometimes referred to as "Wakatip", Oamaru and "Om-a-roo", and Waiwera South as "Wy-vra", these differences may be as much caused by dialect differences - either in Mãori 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.
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 travelled/traveled), the British spelling is almost universally used. With "-our" words like colour/color or behaviour/behavior the spelling of "-our" is always used. One common exception to this rule is fulfill, where New Zealand favours the US usage fulfill over the British fulfil. Unlike Australian English, New Zealand English retains the distinction between program (computer heuristic) and programme (schedule, broadcast show) found in British English.,
In words that may be spelled 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.,
New Zealand favours fiord over fjord, unlike most other English-speaking countries