Do you speak New Zillund?

As I was conducting “research” for this post, I found a hitherto undiscovered piece of blog brilliance entitled U2 vs Jane Austen, and a salient article about How to Speak like a Kiwi:

Non-NZers find it hard to understand us when we say words like bed – they sound more like bid. Likewise, bid sounds more like bud. 🙂 Hence, Australians take the crap out of us for saying “fush and chups” whereas we think they say “feesh and cheeps”. Also, if you want to say the word New Zealand and sound like a native, DO NOT say “New Zeeland”. You’ll immediately sound foreign. Most of us say “New Zilland”. Horrible, but true.

The BBC site H2G2 (aka Hitch-hiker’s Guide) has this snippet:

New Zealand English (also known as ‘New Zild,’ and ‘Noo Zillund’) has several strands of influence. One, of course, is Maori – there are vocabulary items, and pronunciation details clearly traceable to Maori influence. Such words as puku, (stomach, informally meaning beer belly) hapu (pregnant), kia ora, punga (tree log) and korero (speak, communicate) are Maori borrowings which have entered English. The word Kiwi, originally limited to the small flightless bird, has become a term for New Zealanders themselves. Many New Zealanders are unaware of the extent to which Maori words have entered the language and are in common use, because they are so much a part of every day. It is hard to believe that in a time as recent as the 1980s, receptionists were forbidden to use the greeting ‘Kia Ora’ when welcoming callers to both public and private businesses.Since then, the use of ‘Kia Ora’ has become usual, however, and in 1988, Maori was made an official language of New Zealand.

Note however that much of the information about New Zealand English to be found on the web shows evidence of corruption by our nefarious northerly neighbours, Australia (otherwise known as the Strine Penal Colony). Do not believe everything you read! The West Islanders have a quaint dialect, some influenced by the Koori people. Woe betide the New Zealander who thinks their languages are closer than they are! Devon is not just an English county, but to Aussies it’s ‘luncheon meat.’ Other weird Strine words include doona (duvet), stroller (pushchair), and esky (chilly bin).

I advise all non-NZ readers to print out the attached picture and use it whenever communicating with Kiwis.


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