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Thread: Is this the Kiwi accent?

  1. #1
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    Default Is this the Kiwi accent?

    Hi, browsing for houses on the internet, i came across the Sanctuary Gardens Subdivisions on Bayleys.co.nz. There was also a link to a movie about that lots.

    Link: http://www.bayleys.co.nz/reality_tours/sanctuary.wmv (7.8MB alert!)

    For me as a non native English speaker, the voice of the man was hard for me to understand. I was wandering if al the New Zealanders are talking like this, or is it just this guy who is swallowing his words?

  2. #2
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    No, that's how they talk here. He is talking a bit quick, and often mispronounces words (or at least says them in a way that only locals would understand).

  3. #3
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    When you first hear certain Kiwis talk (and there are lots of accents within the country), it can be hard to get your ear tuned in, as their vowel sounds are different from standard English English - but then, that's true of certain local accents within Britain, too, even for a native speaker. And you do get accustomed to it the more you hear it.

  4. #4
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    Well, I have learned myself the Indian accent (stayed 6 months), so I better no worrie about the Kiwi accent.

  5. #5
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    Kiwis have undergone a reverse vowel-shift (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_vowel_shift for the original "great vowel shift" in England, and this is a good site about it too, with audio: http://alpha.furman.edu/~mmenzer/gvs/). As such, Kiwi English is actually closer in sound to how middle English would have sounded (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_English). Once you learn the vowel substitutions ('i' becomes 'u', 'a' becomes 'e', 'e' becomes 'i', 'oo' becomes 'u' etc.) it gets easier. Try downloading NZ Radio pod-casts for a gentle introduction and to get your ear in.
    Last edited by CJ22; 28th August 2008 at 01:07 PM.

  6. #6
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    I was looking at the documentation of Lord of The Rings a lot and get the idea of how they speak. When we came here, we listen a lot of radio talk...newstalkzb.co.nz that's a good tools to practice your listening.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJ22 View Post
    Kiwis have undergone a reverse vowel-shift (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_vowel_shift for the original "great vowel shift" in England, and this is a good site about it too, with audio: http://alpha.furman.edu/~mmenzer/gvs/). As such, Kiwi English is actually closer in sound to how middle English would have sounded (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_English). Once you learn the vowel substitutions ('i' becomes 'u', 'a' becomes 'e', 'e' becomes 'i', 'oo' becomes 'u' etc.) it gets easier. Try downloading NZ Radio pod-casts for a gentle introduction and to get your ear in.
    If anyone is interested in the histpry of language, I can recommend Melvyn Braggs 'The Adventure of English'. It tells the story of how the English language developed in UK, and then how is spread to other English speaking countries in the world and changed.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for all the links. I shall listen to the pod cast to get familiar with the Kiwi English.

  9. #9
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    Bare in mind that 'NZ Radio English' is a sort of 'intermediate' accent, by and large. It's quite Anglicised. Hence 'gentle introduction' Occasionally, they have a real Kiwi on. I've never been totally baffled, but I have had occasional moments of unclarity. It took me a while to figure out what was meant by the 'chicken desk' at the airport.

    Oddly, the real thick accents seem to be in the younger generation, and the old folks are quite understandable. That's the opposite of most places, I find. Also, it's just an observation, but does anyone else think the accent tends to be stronger in the women than the men?

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by CJ22 View Post
    Also, it's just an observation, but does anyone else think the accent tends to be stronger in the women than the men?
    'YIS'?

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