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New Zealand English

New Zealand English

Jennifer Hay
Margaret Maclagan
Elizabeth Gordon
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 184
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  • Book Info
    New Zealand English
    Book Description:

    An accessible overview of the state of current knowledge about English as it is spoken in New Zealand.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-3088-2
    Subjects: Linguistics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-ix)
  4. Maps
    (pp. x-xii)
  5. 1 Geography, Demography and Cultural Factors
    (pp. 1-13)

    New Zealand is one of the most isolated countries in the world. Its nearest neighbour, Australia, is 1,600km to the west; to the north the closest countries are New Caledonia and Tonga (about 1,700km away); in the south it is 2,300km to Antarctica and it is even further (9,500km) across the Pacific Ocean to Chile in the east. This state of isolation began 80 million years ago when the land mass of New Zealand broke away from the continent of Australia. Before that New Zealand was a very small part of Gondwanaland, the vast Southern supercontinent which in time broke...

  6. 2 Phonetics and Phonology
    (pp. 14-46)

    When visiting other English speaking countries, New Zealanders often report communication difficulties. These difficulties usually involve particular sounds. One example we heard recently was of a New Zealand doctor working in Australia, who asked a patient if he was feeling better. The doctor was very surprised at the patient’s negative response, since he appeared to have made a good recovery. Fortunately the patient continued ‘I’m not feeling bitter’ and they eventually worked out where the misunderstanding was. A similar story involves a young New Zealand tourist wanting to withdraw forty pounds from a London bank. When asked how she wanted...

  7. 3 Morphosyntax
    (pp. 47-64)

    The previous chapter focused on the sounds of New Zealand English – which together make up the New Zealand accent. Descriptions of the unique features of New Zealand English almost always focus on accent. One reason for this is that there are a large number of very salient differences between the sounds of New Zealand English and the sounds of other dialects of English – differences which can be very obvious to listeners. Of course it is not just New Zealand English that is most identifiable by its unique accent. Whenever we meet someone from some other part of the...

  8. 4 New Zealand Vocabulary and Discourse Features
    (pp. 65-83)

    This chapter will concentrate primarily on vocabulary, discussing a range of lexical items that together characterise New Zealand English. At the end of the chapter, we will also look briefly at distinctive discourse features of New Zealand English – including the use of particular discourse markers (e.g. ‘eh’), as well as some conversational strategies New Zealanders use in interaction.

    In 1679, Captain James Cook and the crew of his ship Endeavour made landfall on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand. On this and two subsequent visits Cook and his men wrote in their journals about their...

  9. 5 The Origins of New Zealand English
    (pp. 84-94)

    The European settlement of New Zealand is usually dated from 1840 which was the year that Maori and Europeans signed the Treaty of Waitangi. New Zealand English, therefore, has developed and evolved over a period of about 150 years. The date is significant because the beginning of European settlement in New Zealand is recent enough for the early stages of New Zealand English to be studied in a way which was impossible for those studying other earlier varieties of native-speaker English, such as American English or Australian English.

    When people first recognised a new variety of English in New Zealand...

  10. 6 Variation within New Zealand
    (pp. 95-111)

    When Nanny Flowers says ‘Turituri to waha’ (be quiet) to Koro Apirana in Whale Rider there is no translation in the text. It occurs far enough into the novel so that readers, New Zealanders as well as others, can probably work out what she is saying from the context even though turituri to waha is not a phrase that is commonly used by non-Maori speakers. The other Maori word in the extract, mana (authority, prestige), by contrast, would be understood by all New Zealanders and possibly by non-New Zealanders as well.

    We discussed Maori words as a characteristic part of...

  11. 7 Selected Bibliography of Works on New Zealand English
    (pp. 112-137)

    There are three publications which regularly publish work on New Zealand English: the New Zealand English Journal (formerly the New Zealand English Newsletter), Te Reo (the Journal of the New Zealand Linguistics Society), and Wellington Working Papers in Linguistics. The archives of these publications contain a great many articles – largely descriptive – outlining features of New Zealand English. Some, but by no means all, of these articles are included in the bibliography below.

    A more comprehensive New Zealand English bibliography has been prepared by Tony Deverson and John Macalister, and was published in volume 20 (2006) of the New...

  12. 8 Sample Texts
    (pp. 138-153)

    This is a transcription of one of the provided audio files, which consists of two female university student friends having a casual conversation. Features of this audio file are discussed throughout the book. The sound file, together with the associated transcriber files (.trs) and Praat textgrids can be found at

    Transcription conventions: a stop ‘.’ indicates a short pause, a dash ‘–’ indicates a longer pause. Timing is indicated in the left margin every 15 seconds. Speaker overlap is indicated by both: in the left margin for the overlapped utterances. Small interjections are contained between angle brackets.


  13. Bibliography of Cited Works
    (pp. 154-160)
  14. Index
    (pp. 161-164)