08 May 2009

Kiwi speak

The Kiwis are making spoken English all their own by mixing it up and blending their own unique flavour into it. To the untrained ear, Kiwis may sound very much like Aussies but you will eventually notice the differences. Even the British influence over spoken English is being changed to something uniquely New Zealand.

This is something that can be quite difficult to fathom for newcomers. Some TV documentaries and papers have even made special reports about this evolution. The NZ Herald, for example, made a couple of such articles:
I'll just have me fush and chups and then I'm off to bid
'Colonial twang' part of our identity
New Zilunders and proud of it

There were, indeed, more than a couple of times when we found ourselves confused, and a lengthy explanation had to be done for us to understand (we thought we heard "text" but it was "tax", for example) so it will really take some time to adjust. There are, however, ways for us to adjust our ears to the Kiwi English.

Listen to the radio.

Thank goodness for the Internet radio! Now you can get your fill of Kiwi English through the internet. Try the following for size: RadioNZ and MoreFM. I like MoreFM because the buses are tuned in to this station more often than not, and they play 80s music! Plus they have a lot of interaction with callers and so you get that local flavour.

There is also a list of radio stations in Wikipedia you can choose from.

Watch the TV.
Of course this is no problemo if you are already here in New Zealand. But you can also try out some soap operas that are being broadcast in the internet. Some of the shows on Free-to-air channels are re-broadcast on the internet through tvnz on demand.
One such show is Shortland Street, a soap opera and drama television that started airing in 1992 and is still going strong!
A fun way to learn about the local culture and listen to some Kiwi speak is bro'Town, a cartoon series which focuses on the life and times of five Auckland teenagers. This is shown on TV3 on Sundays at 8PM. Episodes are also available in the Net but are, however, available only to New Zealand viewers.

Hmmm... I haven't tried searching for New Zealand podcasts yet but there must be some out there. These are just some ideas to get you started with familiarizing yourself with Kiwi speak. It can get confusing, but it's all part of the learning process.


  1. err.. what is fush and chups? fish and chips?

  2. jho: yes... it's a representation of how words are changing in pronunciation.

  3. Now you can sound like Peter Jackson. But try not to look like him, though. :D


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