Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Where You From?

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  • Islander,

    "Kiwi Keith" was ridiculed for speaking with 'a plum in his mouth.' He was not esteemed by my generation. The vowel sounds used by him & his ilk were not usual (unless you were his kind of pretentious wanker) and the rate of speech delivery was only engaged in by people who had elocution lessons, were polititcians, or felt hopelessy humiliated by having a Kiwi accent. Generally, all 3-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Dempsey, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    Am I the only 4th generation Aucklander here ? :-)

    5th here.

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 659 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn, in reply to Islander,

    Yes, Kiwi Keith was a bit plummy. I used to think he was pompous, actually. However, his elocution notwithstanding, the speed he spoke at was rather well observed, as no doubt he'd suffered the horrors of speaker delay at meetings. Also gave him, and his audience, time to think. Or to say "rhubarb, rhubarb".

    But...there is ample evidence if you listen to archival material from 40 or 50 years ago that the NZ accent is definitely there, but clear. (Not clare, which is often what you get these days.)

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    One notable house I lived in during my years in Christchurch was on the sweeping bend of Carlton Mill Road

    Was that the blue house, Geoff, or the one next door?

    Late 1990s in CHCH Jacqui

    When I arrived in 1990 it was already firmly 'uni': I never heard it called anything else.

    I actually think it is very sad how much many kiwis denigrate our local ways of talking. Once we get past the cringe New Zealand English is fascinating and deeply cool.

    Word. And yes thanks, I understand it just fine.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood, in reply to Emma Hart,

    One thing about the earthquake, I think it's made us a lot more conscious of our built environments. I mean, I knew I was attached to the Provincial Council Chambers. I was less aware of how much I loved the Lanes, or the Dux, or Knox Church.

    Absolutely, the Dux, especially. Even when I didn't live in ChCh, I'd meet friends when I travelled up there. I've also realised how much I'll miss going to Galaxy Records and Scorpio Books as well. It was a pretty much a weekend ritual for me, shopping at those places.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 449 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood, in reply to Jacqui Dunn,

    Yes, Kiwi Keith was a bit plummy. I used to think he was pompous, actually. However, his elocution notwithstanding, the speed he spoke at was rather well observed, as no doubt he’d suffered the horrors of speaker delay at meetings. Also gave him, and his audience, time to think. Or to say “rhubarb, rhubarb”.

    Indeed. New Zealanders speak notoriously fast and it's getting faster. Even those from the Home Nations acknowledge it, to say nothing of those who don't speak it as their first language (for some reason, it seems to be my german friends who most frequently point this out).

    I think one pretty cool thing about New Zild English is that we've got documentation of its development right from the start. That's a pretty remarkable thing to have.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 449 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Kia ora Emma – late 1990’s was when I first heard it (sorry, should’ve made that clear)

    -speaking of which,
    say these words to yourself
    clear, clare, clair-

    notice how your tongue moves?
    And how the sound doesnt change all that much?

    I passionately love N’Zild and have defended how I pronounce English everywhere from Sydney University to the Library of Congress, USA-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Matthew Littlewood,

    I think one pretty cool thing about New Zild English is that we've got documentation of its development right from the start. That's a pretty remarkable thing to have.

    Reckon. Maybe Dr Hay could drop by and talk to us about this topic a bit #nudge

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Sacha,

    There are extraordinary sound archives held in University & radio storage especially in the South..
    They make clear that the South Island Scots sounds I heard in my childhood (“weir” for were e.g) and “nei?” (e.g from my late taua & poua rather than “ne?)” were common-place.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings, in reply to Matthew Littlewood,

    New Zealanders speak notoriously fast and it’s getting faster.

    I think this is why I'm sometimes mistaken for a non-kiwi. I'm not aware of doing it but when I hear recordings of myself I talk in a very slow and deliberate manner - I have a nasty suspicion that I give the impression that I am explaining everything to a small and rather dim child.

    I was lucky enough to be in the first year of Elizabeth Gordon and Margaret Maclagen's New Zealand English paper at Canterbury. They were enthusiastically engaged in researching the ear/air merger at the time and it was fascinating to be able to watch a significant shift in the language unfolding.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • Leopold,

    "...I'm New City born and bred but nowadays I'm lost between two shores
    LA's fine but its not home / New Yorks home but its not mine no more.."

    About the only thing I can find worth quoting from the chair-talking guy

    Since Jan 2007 • 153 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Emma Hart,

    When I arrived in 1990 it was already firmly ‘uni’: I never heard it called anything else./q>

    The 1993 AA Accomodation Guide had a list of Kiwi vocab in the front for confused tourists, which included "varsity". I was really bemused when I got there twelve years later and no-one called it that. Which possibly tells you more about where I take my language cues from than the development of New Zealand English.

    <q>Indeed. New Zealanders speak notoriously fast and it’s getting faster.

    One place this is really noticeable is podcasts and radio; I find American podcasts much more difficult to listen intently to than Kiwi or even British ones, because they go so slowly (and are, in consequence, often very significantly longer.)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    I’m not sure that there is any difference in overall speech rate between NZE and other varieties of English -- though at least one study (Robb et al 2004) has indeed suggested that NZE is faster than American English -- but there are some other differences that might lead to a perception of a faster rate.
    One well-attested feature of (at least some) NZE speakers is a tendency towards syllable-timing (Holmes & Ainsworth 1996), as measured by a fuller pronunciation of vowels in unstressed function words (e.g. of, the, he, you ). This should mean that NZers pronounce function words more slowly than other speakers; but it also means that there is less contrast between function words and content words in NZ speech, which may make NZ speech harder for speakers of other varieties to understand, even if the overall rate of delivery is the same.
    An alternative – as yet unresearched, and not supported by Robb et al's results – is that (some) NZ speakers might be more “bursty” than speakers of other varieties (which would mean that words are on average spoken more quickly, but without necessarily affecting the overall number of words/minute). There was an interesting paper at the NWAV 39 conference (Schnoebelen 2010) that attempted to define “burstiness” using an acoustic analysis of the speech of the Star Trek characters Mr Spock (who uses a fairly even, or “flat”, style of delivery) versus Capt James Kirk (extremely “bursty”, with rapid delivery of phrases, but also many short pauses). [Schnoebelen also pointed out that “burstiness” is an age-graded feature, associated with “impetuous youth”.]

    * Robb et al's (2004) results for samples of 40 speakers each of NZE and AmE: speaking rate: US 250 syllables per minute vs. NZ 280 syllables per minute; and articulation rate (i.e. excluding pause time): US 316 syllables per minute vs. NZ 342 syllables per minute)

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1942 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    I have two homes.

    To use Tom’s Christmas analogy, way back on the first page, I always say I am going home for Christmas. Because I am. But when I come back to Wellington, I am coming home too.

    Christchurch is home. It’s where most of my family is, where a fair whack of the people I love are. My parents are there, my brother. It’s where the children I care about are (my friends in Wellington being mostly childless, debauched individuals). Where Emma is. And Isabel and Megan and a bunch of other people I hold dear.

    It’s also where most of my memories are stored. My first kiss, the first time I got drunk, my school and university years, my graduations, throwing up on the steps of the Casino. The school building that burnt down when I was 10. My walk to school through Linwood park. The Linwood McDonalds, where as a librarian, I got to go before it opened, so the staff would have people to ‘practice on’. School balls. My grandparents’ funerals (technically Ashburton, but I am counting it). Weddings and christenings and parties and most of the things that made me who I am. Of course, there’s the bad memories, too. The time I found a girl who had just been raped in The Square, the time I got my ribs broken, the heartbreaks and awful, mean people. But still, I’m horrified by how many of the buildings that contain those memories are gone, are reduced to rubble. How much of my home, touchstones, aren’t there anymore. I will be down in a couple of weeks, and I am dreading it.

    For all that Christchurch is home, Wellington is even more so. It’s where I’ve chosen to live. It’s where I’ve made my life. It’s where I ran away to, in some ways, but it’s worked out. I did a Political Science degree. Of course Wellington was where I would end up. And after a few days in Christchurch, I long for it.

    I’ve been thinking Megan and I should simply merge our friend collections. It’s about that time, surely.

    We’ve done quite enough of that already, haven’t we my love?

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    One place this is really noticeable is podcasts and radio

    I'm trying to slow down, I swear!

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to linger,

    An alternative – as yet unresearched, and not supported by Robb et al’s results – is that (some) NZ speakers might be more “bursty” than speakers of other varieties (which would mean that words are on average spoken more quickly, but without necessarily affecting the overall number of words/minute).

    I don't know if this counts, but I spend a fair amount of time listening to newsreaders. One thing I have noticed is that there's 2 different styles. (Well, there's lots, clearly, but for the purposes of this.) Some speak consciously slower, overall. Their pace is even throughout a story. And others speak faster, but leave longer gaps between phrases. They probably average out about the same speed (we aim for about 3 words per second), but of the readers I like, they are mostly from the second lot, because they sound much more natural, and "new zild-y".

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • ChrisW, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Gidday Sofie and Steve! - I can say I's from Peria - born there. Well, strictly speaking born in the Kaitaia maternity hospital, but if Dad had broken the back axle of the Morris 8 half a mile from home on the way to the hospital rather than in the middle of a dark and stormy night on the way back, then would have been Peria. But he was an itinerant teacher - I left Peria the day after I could walk, so my sense of connection there is tenuous.

    We migrated around the northern half of the North Island - rural and small town places, started high school in Opotiki (gidday Recordari!) ended up in (east) Auckland, early university years too, thence Dunedin which feels more like home than Auckland. Wellington for long enough to feel fond of it, now 21 years in Gisborne.

    Definitely Gisborne is home. Yes Islander, having my grandfather and two earlier generations buried here contributes strongly to that sense of rootedness, my mother born here too. And close familiarity (!) through work and play with the wrinkles of the coast and hills of the hinterland, the many stories in the bush and the non-bush.

    By way of illustrating what this means in practice - I've been in hospital much of the last three months, critical periods in Palmerston North because that's where we have specialist oncology services, and despite plenty of visitors making it there for me I could only feel unsettled, isolated and alienated there and pined for return to the comfort of a hospital ward home in Gisborne for preference. And back in Gisborne I thrived and soon returned to home itself. Definitely I'm from Gisborne.

    Gisborne • Since Apr 2009 • 851 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    Addendum and reference dump:

    ... On the other hand, a smaller-scale followup study of children's speech (Robb & Gillon 2007) found that NZ children spoke more slowly than American children.
    In both studies, the authors explain the observed difference in speech rate in terms of differences in vowel pronunciation (e.g. higher vowels tend to be shorter than lower vowels; and tongue position in adult NZE tends to be higher for most vowels than in adult AmE).

    References:
    Holmes, J. & Ainsworth, H. (1996), ‘Syllable-timing and Maori English’, Te Reo: Journal of the Linguistic Society of
    New Zealand
    39, 75-84.
    Robb, M., Maclagan, M. & Chen, Y. (2004), ‘Speaking rates of American and New Zealand varieties of English’,
    Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics 18(1), 1-15.
    Robb, M.P. & Gillon, G. (2007) 'Speech rates of New Zealand English- and American English-speaking children.' International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology 9(2), 173-180.
    Warren, P. (1998), ‘Timing Patterns in New Zealand English Rhythm’, Te Reo: Journal of the Linguistic Society of New Zealand 41, 80-93.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1942 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Lea Barker,

    tales from the flatland...

    ... if any of you were living in Chch in the 70s, do you remember the name of the landlord who owned scores of rundown houses that he split into flats and rented out to students?

    One of the larger than life character landlords around the inner city was Mrs "Ma" Clifford, though I think her son may have taken over in the late '60s and '70s, and yes, I believe they were fairly parsimonious with their paint purchases...
    She had many of the old houses on Worcester, Hereford, Montreal and Cashel streets. She lived at 52 Worcester street and biked everywhere...

    though there were other landlords with largish portfolios as well, the Cliffords are the ones I remember...

    ...other glimpses of Christchurch's past can be garnered here

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    One of the larger than life character landlords around the inner city was Mrs “Ma” Clifford, though I think her son may have taken over in the late ’60s and ’70s, and yes, I believe they were fairly parsimonious with their paint purchases…

    Hence the Builders' 'Clifford Flat'?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    The Big Mac Book is here...?

    The Linwood McDonalds, where as a librarian,
    I got to go before it opened...

    I haven't been into a McDonald's for many, many years, but am heartened to hear they now have libraries, and librarians, on site
    - are they near the toilets?
    ; - )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    Interesting.
    Have you noticed any age differences in the use of those two reading styles?

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1942 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    I haven’t been into a McDonald’s for many, many years, but am heartened to hear they now have libraries, and librarians, on site
    - are they near the toilets?

    I should have said, a librarian (and a sports monitor, and crossing guard - is that what we called them?) at the school over the road.

    Apparently the "good kids" got the free maccas. It was very exciting, given the only other 'fast food' I'd ever has was Georgie Pie on a family trip to Auckland. Sigh. To be 10 again.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to linger,

    I would say the older they are, the more likely they are to be in the "overall slower" group. It probably has something to do with received style, and NZBC training and all that stuff. These days we're taught it's OK to sound like a New Zealander, as long as you sound like a New Zealander everyone can understand.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    Which still doesn't explain Catriona McLaaard

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

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