Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Welcome to New Zillund

I saw this image on Blog on the Tracks today and had to steal it for myself. Priceless!

Zoom in closer and take a better look. For anyone who knows what the New Zealand accent sounds like, you'll know what I mean. Although I love New Zealand, I'm one of those cultural cringers; I find it embarrassing to listen to Prime Minister John Key speak, especially during overseas interviews.

While we laugh about fush n chups and other words on this list, I can assure you they are not made up. Apparently Wendy was one of the names my parents were throwing around when I was born. Dad liked it, Mum wasn't fussed, but my Italian grandmother had the final say: "Windy? How can you call a baby Windy?" Whew!

I remember learning about New Zealand English at school. Back then, rising intonations, diphthongs and a broad accent were just things we had to know about to pass exams but, sadly, they are very real. Just step outside the country for a moment or two and you'll notice it immediately. *shudder*

As a teacher, I have made audio recordings for my students for years, particularly for those living overseas. I'm conscious that I speak quite quickly and make a concerted effort to talk s l o w l y when recording or speaking publicly. I emailed off an audio file to a kiwi family living in China, feeling proud of my efforts. The next day, I received an email back from the children's mother. She and the kids were thrilled with my recording and said it reminded them how much they missed hearing the kiwi accent. I was mortified! Needless to say, I now record at my usual talking pace lest my attempts to slow down and enunciate carefully be misinterpreted.

What do you think of the kiwi accent?

1 comment:

Fergus Miller said...

Hi Café Chick,

Can I steal Welcome to New Zillund now?!
Love your blog