December 8, 2017

English: As spoken in New Zealand

By Clive Dalton 


The English language is constantly changing, which is good, as it helps to cope with how the world is changing.  But it doesn't make it easy for anyone having to learn the language in different parts of the 'English-speaking' parts of the world.

The English spoken in New Zealand has changed greatly in the last 50 years from what was called 'BBC' or 'Queen's English'.  The main change in New Zealand in recent years has been a massive 'vowel shift' which is now very well established, much to the annoyance and disgust of the older generations who were taught by teachers who were sticklers for the Queen's English.

TV and radio have always been the gold standard, and have (or used to have) people to oversee grammar and pronunciation.   Many of us are wondering where they have gone! 

So anyone coming to New Zealand from overseas to learn English, to work or to study regularly have problems initially with the language.

The influence of American English
This is having a big influence on world English, and it's probably not a bad thing because of the massive variation in regional English in the UK, where some dialects are a complete mystery to those who live 100km away.


Voice Tone
Female Kiwi English speakers on TV and radio have become very nasal and with a grating tone, especially when they increase the volume. There seems to be no effort in recruitment to see this as an issue which is standard with American female speakers.


Here's a list from listening to TV and radio announcers, journalists and broadcasters over a period of a few weeks.  The first column is what was heard, and the second is what was meant. 
 

New Zealand English as heard from TV and radio announcers, and English spelling and meaning


Kiwi as heard
English spelling/meaning
acadimic
academic
afears
affairs
akshally
actually
beer
bear/bare
bid
bed
bist
best
bitta
better
binafut
benefit
cheer
chair
cheery
cherry
cintral
central
chicken
check-in
chickout
check-out
chickpoint
checkpoint
contist
contest
deery
dairy
earport
airport
eer
ear
effected
affected
essue
issue
fairy
ferry
fear
fare
fect
fact
git
get


heer
hair
hid
heard
hively
heavily
icho
echo
iksipted
accepted
idge
edge
ingine
engine
iscort
escort
ividince
evidence
Keens
Cairns
keer
care
livel
level
meer
mayor
nitwork
network
nivva
never
pardy
party
peerents
parents
percint
percent
pin
pen
pirished
perished
pitral
petrol
preer
prayer
prepeer
prepare
rear
rare
really
rarely
repeer
repair
rid
red
rist
rest
sheering
sharing
sickend
second
sinate
senate
sivril
several
skeer
scare
spishel
special
tear
tare
tist
test
twenny
twenty
vinew
venue
woman
women plural (‘wimmen’)
yis
yes