Thursday, December 11, 2008

How to Speak New Zillund

After almost 10 months I feel secure in saying the Kiwis and I finally understand each other.  I no longer get the glassy-eyed stares and a long pause after I finish my sentences, during which the Kiwi I'm speaking to replays what I have just said in their head, so that they can decipher and make sense of my heavy, staccato-ed,  American-accented words.  I understand, and am comfortable using, the local slang, so that I'm not having to break the flow of a lively conversation with sidebar explanations of the meanings and etymologies of every other word or expression.

Working with children all day, it has been necessary to amend my words to be understood.  It became a matter of needing to speak "correctly" to them.  Considering that for half my day I am teaching very young students which letters make what sounds, and how to sound out words with them, it would do no good to teach them using my American English pronunciations.

Lately Steve has been very amused with me when he catches me using the Kiwi pronunciations at home.  In all honesty, it's just pure laziness on my part.  Take the word "chance" for example.  Or take the word, "example" even.  Take any word with the "a like apple" sound, and replace it with the "o like octopus" sound.  Now try to say it.  See?  It's just lazier  easier to say.  

And for a short lesson in the real Kiwi pronunciations, I give you the following.  Unfortunately, this was one of those viral email things so I don't know where this first appeared or who to give credit for it.  My friend Brandie was the first to bring it to my attention.  Thanks, Brandie!  Click on the image to enlarge it.

1 comment:

Steve said...

Personally I think "O" should be for "Orsome" as in "awesome" which is how Kiwis say "awesome."

"That was totally ORSOME, ay?"