The way New Zealand English vocabulary and pronunciation deviate from Standard English is alleged to cause confusion and misunderstanding for Non-New Zealanders. Even though it is claimed that the way New Zealanders speak is just a sign of laziness Jim Mora points out that “a major influence on the development of New Zealanders, through their particular way of speaking, are – consciously or otherwise– asserting a New Zealand identity” (Paul Warren, 2008). Does New Zealand English exist as a new version of English similar to American English or is it just a variant dialect of Standard English that slightly deviates, yet belongs? If so, what are the elements of difference between New Zealand English and Standard English?
New Zealand English is a new language of its own, it is unique and this essay will discuss and make this statement evident.
Since its establishment in the 15th and 16th century the written form of Standard English has been almost the same all over the world, except for some spelling variety. A distinguished variant of New Zealand English has existed since 1912, as a new dialect began to shape using and adopting Māori words to describe the different flora and fauna of New Zealand.
Grammatically, there is no major linguistic difference in formal New Zealand English; such as scientific paper, reports and poems, due to the fact that New Zealand English Grammar is literally indistinguishable from that of British English. The main evidence of the deviation of New Zealand English from Standard English is fundamentally lexical not grammatical. Vocabulary or Lexis, in both words and meanings, is the second most distinguished feature of New Zealand English following the distinctive accent. There is an evident M...
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...to this claim saying that “as a native New Zealander she can pronounce women correctly with two short “i” vowels and that “mispronouncing this word is ignorance, not inability”. (Goodwin 2005). New Zealand English is generally non-rhotic, except for those speakers having the so-called “Southern burr”. However, a semi-rhotic, Scottish influenced dialect is spoken in Southland and some parts of Otago. It is evident that the way in which those who speak New Zealand English do pronounce their words differently, making New Zealand English its own new and unique language.
To conclude, even though New Zealand English is initially driven from Standard British English, due to the regional influence of Australian English and the major lexical Maori influence, it has noticeably deviated from it is source as a means for New Zealanders to assert their unique identity.