How to recognize a New Zealander

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How to recognize a New Zealander

New Zealand has been settled by English-speaking people since about 1840, thus even more recent than the Australian settlement. As most of its immigrants came from Australia, it is not striking that it shares almost the exact speech habits with the latter:

"Native speakers of NZ can distinguish an Australian pronunciation quite readily, though the converse is not always true: Australians tend to classify a NZ accent as coming from a distant and unfamiliar part of Australia, such as Tasmania. Native speakers of English from other parts of the world, on the other hand, can usually not distinguish an NZ from an Australian pronunciation." (Hawkins, n.d.)

Hence, the differences are very slight. They are "... mainly a matter of slight changes in vowel quality." (Crystal, 1988: 240). Different sounds can be found in the lacking of the æ-sound in dance, words like ultimate produced as [], and ea as in New Zealand pronounced short: [] (Bähr, 1974: 284). In some areas, Scots influx is to be felt: in parts of the Southern Island, e.g., one can sometimes hear the r rolled (Crystal, 1988: 241). As expected, also the voiceless wh ([]) is common in NZ.

In vocabulary, Maori influx is greater than the Aboriginal one in Australia, but still quite small. In NZ, however, the Maoris have most of the time been an accepted minority who are left a lot of space for caring for their culture and language.

In any case, the Kiwis (as NZers call themselves) have their own slang, too. Official words as benzine instead of petrol, gas, though, are relatively small in number. As in Aussie and Yankee languages slang is more common usage than in England. Some examples (Daley/Lutterjohann, 1990):

Kiwi slang = meaning
Enzed = New Zealand
pom = Englishman (pejorative)
bach = AusE: weekender
pop = put; prepare; go...
telly = TV
gig lamps = glasses
kitchen tidy - dustbin
jug = litre of beer
screw = salary
cocky = farmer
quid = two dollars
strides = trousers
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