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Thread: Kiwi Accent

  1. #1
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    Question Kiwi Accent

    Who is responsible for the Kiwi accent? I mean this funny twisting of vowels is very unique, but since immigrants introduced English to NZ I was wondering where they came from. Canada had almost the same immigrants, earlier thought, but they speak almost accent-free, at least for my ears. Australian sound more like a cool American knock-off. Or was it simply a sloppy educational system.

    Cheers

    LS
    Last edited by Lazysnapper; 4th April 2015 at 09:18 AM.

  2. #2
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    Apparently...
    The New Zealand accent appeared first in towns with mixed populations of immigrants from Australia, England, Ireland, and Scotland. These included the militia towns of the North Island and the gold-mining towns of the South Island. In more homogeneous towns such as those in Otago and Southland, settled mainly by people from Scotland, the New Zealand accent took longer to appear.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_English

    Where are you from, that Canadians don't sound to you as if they have an accent?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lazysnapper View Post
    Canada had almost the same immigrants, earlier thought, but they speak almost accent-free,
    Not trying to be mean, but that is quite funny. All the Canadians I know speak with a Canadian accent.

    Where does any accent come from? I don't think you'll find a quick or short answer to that. Linguistically, there are lots of reasons for languages to go one way or another, both in vocabulary as well as in pronunciation. English on the whole, as my German teacher from way back loved to point out, is really just an underdeveloped form of German

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    On all the serious bits, entirely agreed! And nothing about any language, or any dialect or accent of any language, is wrong, or funny, or peculiar, in itself. It may only be judged so by someone who doesn't speak that language/dialect/accent. We all have an accent (a distinctive way of pronouncing a language). We just tend not to notice someone else's accent when we have the same one, which can also be when you hear comments such as, 'S/He speaks beautifully,' though those also crop up when someone is trying to change their accent for one they think is more prestigious. Fun, isn't it?

  5. #5
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    From my experience, I hear a lot of Scottish intonation in the accent of Kiwis I know. They also use a lot of Scottish type words such as: wee for small.

  6. #6
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    I would say DHarder's accent is 90% English, perhaps 5% German. I promised not to disclose the source of the final 5%. She has a reputation to protect, after all...

    Quote Originally Posted by dharder View Post
    Not trying to be mean, but that is quite funny. All the Canadians I know speak with a Canadian accent.

    Where does any accent come from? I don't think you'll find a quick or short answer to that. Linguistically, there are lots of reasons for languages to go one way or another, both in vocabulary as well as in pronunciation. English on the whole, as my German teacher from way back loved to point out, is really just an underdeveloped form of German

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  8. #8
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    My husband used to say Americans have no accent and I would ask him if he was meaning that American English is the standard by which all others deviate. His answer was obviously no! Because American mass media has been fond of a certain kind of accent, those Canadians and Americans who speak like that are thought of as having the "American" or "Canadian" accent. My husband could not hear the variety of accents between Americans and Canadians at first. After living in North America for 13 years, he can. Even now, when we meet an American or Canadian here in NZ, he can still hear it even if he can't identify what region of the USA or Canada the speaker is from.

    If you haven't already, The Routes of English and The Adventures of English are two books and television series by Melvyn Bragg that explore the reasons behind accents.
    Also, there is a television program at nzonscreen called New Zild, that discusses theories about the NZ accent. Elizabeth Gordon is probably the foremost expert on the New Zealand accent and has written many interesting books and articles on the topic.

    My son finds spelling difficult because he still hears many words with an American accent. When he and I are at home practising and work on word chunks and spelling patterns, he has no problems. But at school, he struggles. He's always adding Rs to words that end in a. There is a teacher at school that everyone calls Whaea; he calls her Fire, with a hard American r, because that is what he hears. That is how I was able to figure out that accent was the problem. So, in addition to learning to spell, he has to learn to interpret the Kiwi accent, even though his dad is a Kiwi. My daughter has a Kiwi accent and she has the opposite problem in that she often gets confused by me when we work at home together. Her dad has to read her the spelling list.

    Aren't accents fun?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwieagle View Post
    The Adventures of English
    Couple of days this program was televised on History Channel, I found it very helpful and entertaining at the same time

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jawnbc View Post
    I would say DHarder's accent is 90% English, perhaps 5% German. I promised not to disclose the source of the final 5%. She has a reputation to protect, after all...
    ��

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