Greg Hewgill (ghewgill) wrote,
Greg Hewgill

kiwi english

After being here for a couple of months, I've started to notice all sorts of ways in which Kiwi english is different from North American english. The most obvious difference in spoken language is pronunciation, eg. head is pronounced like heed, backpack sounds like beckpeck, fish and chips is like fush and chups. In written language, spelling is the most obvious difference (colour vs. color, organise vs. organize).

One aspect that's a bit different that I hadn't expected is prepositions. Until recently, I thought english speakers used prepositions in pretty much the same way. Perhaps I should have known better than to assume that, because there are definitely some differences:

New Zealand EnglishNorth American English
Not On Service (eg. a bus)Not In Service
What did you do at the weekend?What did you do on the weekend?
Call us on 555 1212Call us at 555-1212
Your balance as at 12:34 is ...Your balance as of 12:34 is ...

It's easy enough for me to adapt to the spelling here (especially since words such as "colour" are spelled the same way in Canadian english) since I have time to think about spelling when I'm typing, but it's going to take a bit more work to come up with the locally correct preposition fast enough when I'm speaking. Then again, since my accent will likely never be anything close to Kiwi, I would hope my funny use of prepositions will be easily excused.

Tags: language, nz

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