Kia Ora! Language Variation in New Zealand English

By readingintheborderlands

Language is a big deal in the borderlands, but local discussions over bilingual education and other issues are usually placed within an English/Spanish frame.  Variation within English is less commonly acknowledged and variation within Spanish is pretty much ignored.

While I could go on and on about language issues in the borderlands, my brain is still in vacation mode, so I’d rather post some pictures from my recent trip to New Zealand. In order to make it at least slightly appropriate for this blog, all the pictures will highlight dialect differences between standard American English and New Zealand English.

The English dialect spoken in New Zealand is strongly influenced by British English. The Maori language is also influential; most schools teach basic Maori in the early grades, there are some Maori/English bilingual programs, and there are radio and television stations that broadcast in Maori. Kia ora, by the way, is a Maori greeting which has entered general use.


Many place names are Maori. Museum labels and signs are often bilingual:

Echoes of British English:

Food related variation:

And other stuff:

And there you have it. Cheers!


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