04 June 2010

Cheers! (um...where's the beer?)

After being here in Wellington, New Zealand for almost two years now (how time flies!) I think that my understanding of their accent has improved a bit.  I can carry on a decent conversation, although this is mostly in a business / office atmosphere.  I still find my mind floating off into space when they go into animated, casual conversation and they speak so fast I can hardly follow.
Inspite of that, I'm doing good so far.  I have even learned to understand some terms that are uniquely kiwi:

Top up - actually means reload in our country.  Such as, reloading your celfone perpaid load.  Aside from the phone credit, you also top up your bus card, your petrol.  Speaking of which,

Petrol - is gasoline.  I hear diesel more often, though.

Arvo - means afternoon.  I received an email one time with a note: "see you this arvo".  I had to ask a colleague what it meant.

- No longer means you both have a mug of beer to toast with!  This term is easily substituted for "thank you"

Mate - is not exclusive to your significant other anymore, but now refers to anybody.  Guys would more likely use it to refer to their buddies.

BYO - Bring Your Own, as in "bring your own wine" to a restaurant.  There are restaurants here with "Licensed BYO" advertised on their window.  Not sure what that means.  Anybody?

Cuppa - is a cup of tea.  Would you like a cuppa?

Dairy - no longer refers to milk and butter.  A Dairy is the local version of our sari-sari store.

Op Shop - Opportunity Shop; a second-hand shop

I also do a lot of written communication, and I noticed that they use a lot of exclamation marks.  We rarely use this unless we want to emphasize something or when we're angry or excited, we use a series of exclamation marks.  But here, this mark is used rather liberally.  I was a bit confused about it when I was new because I always thought I was offending my correspondents but learned that it's just the way it is!!!


  1. Anonymous8:58 am

    Hi Watson,

    I really enjoy reading your blog, it's a great resource especially for a Kiwi wannabe like me. :) Keep on writing, I'm sure a lot of people are interested in what you have to say. Cheers mate! :)


  2. They say "top off" here in the states to mean to fill it up. So its kinda similar to "top up". :D

    New Zealanders sound Australian, I imagine. Have you tried mimicking their accent? ;-)


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