Easy Learning of New Zealand English
How to Speak New Zealand English
English, as spoken in New Zealand (NZ), does not vary greatly from the English spoken in the UK, the USA, Canada, or other English-speaking countries. Although the largest influence on New Zealand English is the Australian accent and dialect, there are notable differences, since New Zealand’s dialect has been mixed with other forms of English.You will be understood by “Kiwis” if you speak the version of the English language that is native to you or that you have learnt. If you want to speak English the way it’s spoken in New Zealand, you’ll need to learn specific pronunciation differences. There are also numerous slang terms you can pick up over time that set New Zealand English apart from the English of other regions.
Learning New Zealand English Pronunciation
Learn the different pronunciation of some words.The New Zealand dialects have similar, but not identical, pronunciations to American and British words. Learning common differences in pronunciation will help you to communicate easily and avoid easy misunderstandings.
- New Zealand English speakers will pronounce the word “data” like it is pronounced in American English, “Dar-tah,” not “day-taa,” as in British English.
- Debut is pronounced “de-booo,” almost unrecognizable from the UK and American pronunciation.
Listen to native’s vowel pronunciation.A significant part of the pronunciation difference between American and British English, and New Zealand English, lies in the vowel.To imitate the New Zealand accent, move the base of your tongue farther back in your mouth and when you’re saying “Uhhh...” say “Ahhh....”
- Draw out the vowel “E” into an “EEE” sound. “Ten minutes” should sound like “teen meenuts.”
- Pronounce the short “A” sound like a long “O.” In the short “A,” such as in “awesome” or “Auckland,” say “oarsome” or “Oarkland.”
Flatten your vowels.This is one of the most notable pronunciation oddities of New Zealand English; vowels are altered so they nearly all sound the same. For example, although there is a marked difference between the vowel sounds in the words “near” and “square” for British and American English speakers, the vowel sounds are the same in New Zealand English.
- The short “I” is flattened and pronounced like a “U.” “Fish and chips” should sound like “fush and chups.”
Raise your verbal intonation at the end of a sentence.New Zealand English speakers typically inflect their voices upwards at the end of declarative sentences.To American and British English speakers, it can sound like Kiwis are asking questions, when they are simply making statements. Start out using this effect in moderation, and imitate the speech patterns of New Zealand English speakers around you.
- A New Zealand English speaker saying, “I went to the coast. It was very hot,” will sound more like, “I went to the coast? It was very hot?”
Using New Zealand Vocabulary
Learn some specific New Zealand words.Once you have adjusted your English pronunciation to match the New Zealand inflections, you’ll need to expand (or adjust) your vocabulary by learning some new slang. In some cases, New Zealand English speakers re-purpose common English words; you’ll need to learn those as well. To start with, remember:
- Av: no one from New Zealand says “Avenue,” they all say “Av” instead.
- Dairy: As well as its association with milk production, in NZ the “dairy” also refers to the local shop / corner shop. Your local dairy does not just sell milk! You can get bread, snacks, newspapers, and groceries from the dairy.
- Bach: holiday home, often coastal.
- Chilli Bin: cooler.
- Jandals: flip flops or thong footwear.
- Manchester: bed linen.
- Lollies: sweets or candies.
- Shonky – mild profanity. Not as bad as “munted.”
- Munted: not good. Less vulgar than “rooted.”
- Rooted: Rooted is a vulgar term used in place of the F-word. For example, “That’s rooted,” means “The item in question is no longer in working order.”
- Stoked: very pleased.
Don’t be fooled by false cognates.These are words and phrases in New Zealand English that sound similar to phrases in British or American English, but actually have contradictory meanings.Although you will be able to pick up the meaning from speakers’ body language and context clues, some false cognates are more confusing than others, and you’ll need to memorize many.
- Quite nice: something that is unpleasant.
- To have a mare: to make a fool of yourself.
- Sweet As: agreed, or good. This phrase is occasionally confused by non-Kiwis as being a compliment to the bottom. “As” does not mean “Ass” or “Arse” when used in casual conversation.
- Yeah-nah: No thank you. Kiwis say “Yeah-nah” when they want to say no without giving offence. A really good example if this is when a kiwi is offered another alcoholic beverage, “Have another beer bro, it’s not late” Answer, “Yeah, nah.” Meaning, “I’d like another drink and have considered accepting but I really shouldn’t.”
Prepare for abbreviated versions of common words.New Zealand English speakers are notorious for abbreviating words. Listen for this, and don’t be surprised if you hear familiar words chopped in half, often with the suffix “-ies” added.
- For example, you may hear someone say they’ll visit their “rellies” (relatives) after they eat “brekkie” (breakfast).
Develop a Rudimentary Understand of Maori
Recognize the roots of the Maori language.Maori is the language of the indigenous people of New Zealand. Although the Maori language was banned for many years after New Zealand was colonized, today it is spoken commonly in certain communities. In fact, as many as 1,000 Maori vocabulary terms are now commonly integrated into English-language speech.
Learn a few key Maori words.As Maori is largely integrated into everyday usage, it is advisable to learn at least a few key words. In addition, many Maori geographical and city names are used by speakers of New Zealand English. For example:
- “Whanau” refers to “family.” Note that the “Wh” in whanau is pronounced as “f,” as with all Maori words that begin with “wh.”
- “Kia Ora” is a common Maori greeting, and one you’ll likely hear spoken in New Zealand English.
Learn the Maori vowels and their pronunciation.As you come across unfamiliar Maori words—and especially place names—you’ll need to be able to sound them out on your own. As the vowels are the trickiest part of Maori words, and you’ll just need to memorize their pronunciations. In Maori, most consonants are pronounced the same as in English.
- A, “ahh”
- E, “eh”
- I, “eee”
- O, “oh”
- U, “ew”
- “Ng” followed by a vowel is usually pronounced as a hard “N” sound.
QuestionWill New Zealanders be offended if we don't know how to pronounce something or mispronounce it?Top AnswererEveryone is different, but generally speaking, New Zealanders won't take offense, as long as you try to get it right or ask how it should be pronounced. Even some Pākehā Kiwis struggle with place names particularly, for example Whakatane - pronounced Fa-ka-tarn-eh.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if my cuttin gits stuck in my chully bun?Top AnswererBro, open the chully bun and let the cuttin out! It's not hygienic to transport pets in containers designed for food. Buy a cat carrier, ya big stinge-bag.Thanks!
QuestionIs Maori the native language of New Zealand?Top AnswererThe first people to live on the islands known today as New Zealand eventually spoke Te Reo Māori, the indigenous language of Aotearoa. It's not a native language, as human beings did not evolve in New Zealand. Polynesian people traveled there 700 years ago and created a culture of their own.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I get my NZ accent back?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe best way to develop an accent is by listening to it! If you can't live in NZ, I would recommend listening to clips of people with the accent you want!Thanks!
QuestionHow do I say "bon voyage" in Maori?Top AnswererKia pai te haere. Bon voyage translates as "very fast"; Kia pai te haere means "go well", which is more appropriate.Thanks!
QuestionWhat is the difference between Kiwis and Maori? Are there two languages in New Zealand?Top AnswererEveryone born in New Zealand may call themselves kiwi, if they want to. Kiwi means a person from New Zealand. Some people from New Zealand are Māori, and some aren't - but they all are Kiwis. Many Maori speak Te Reo Māori, and some don't. Many New Zealanders not of Māori descent, Pākehā and others speak Te Reo Māori. English, Māori and New Zealand sign language are the three official languages.Thanks!
- American, Australian, and British films and TV shows are popular in New Zealand. Consequently, many Kiwis are familiar with these accents and the nuances of these versions of English.
- Different parts of the country have variations on New Zealand English. For example, someone from Auckland (in the north) will speak differently to someone in Dunedin (in the south).
Video: HOW TO SPEAK LIKE A NEW ZEALANDER | BRITTSCOTTCLARK
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