New Zealand English

New Zealand English

New Zealand English

New Zealand English


This book is a comprehensive but accessible description of English as it is spoken in New Zealand. New Zealand English is one of the youngest native speaker varieties of English, and is the only variety of English where there is recorded evidence of its entire history. It shares some features with other Southern Hemisphere varieties of English such as Australian English and South African English, but is also clearly distinct from these. For the past two decades extensive research has focused on the evolution and ongoing development of the variety. New Zealand English presents the results of this research in an accessible way.


This book is designed to be an accessible overview of New Zealand English. It is aimed at a general readership, and would be suitable for high school and undergraduate students, or for anyone interested in New Zealand English. It should also prove useful to scholars wanting a general reference on the dialect.

There has been a large amount of work on New Zealand English produced over the last decade, and it would not be possible to do all of it justice in a work of this size. In particular, there are many aspects of New Zealand English which have intriguing theoretical implications, and have formed the centre of interesting academic debates. As it is intended to be introductory, this book does not touch on theoretical issues. It is intended to be a simple, straightforward descriptive account of the best-known features of New Zealand English.

We are grateful to all of our colleagues working on New Zealand English for providing such a stimulating research environment, and we owe particular thanks to our colleagues in the Origins of New Zealand English (ONZE) project at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch.

Many of the examples used in this book come from collections of recordings held by ONZE. These collections have been funded by the University of Canterbury, the New Zealand Public Good Science Fund, the Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Fund, the New Zealand Lotteries Board Fund and the Canterbury History Foundation. Robert Fromont designed the software (ONZEminer) which we use to interact with these recordings and extract relevant examples. We also owe special thanks to Therese Aitcheson for preparing the EndNote Library which forms the basis of our bibliography, and to Tony Trewinnard for producing the maps and Abby Walker for help with the sound files. The written extracts from The Triad, The Listener and other early writings together with the school inspectors’ reports (from the Appendices to the Journal of the House of Representatives) were collected by Elizabeth Gordon. The extract from Whale Rider at the start of Chapter 6 is © Witi . . .

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