I haven’t yet mastered the accent, nor even come close really (just can’t figure out how to say their “o”!), but I’ve had to learn some new words since moving here.
Kiwi English/US English
biscuit: cookie **
capsicum: green pepper
chilly bin: cooler
chips: french fries
dairy: convenience store
drinks: happy hour
flash: fancy, ritzy
flat out: busy, crushed
full on: intense, all out
half 9: 9:30
heaps: lots, a bunch
panel beater: auto body shop
serviette: napkin (fabric)
morning tea: morning snack
sultana bran: raisin bran
tomato sauce: ketchup
what’s on: what’s happening
**Although Kiwis also use the word “cookie”, they do not have a term for buttermilk biscuits, as they do not exist here.
***Imagine my confusion when I saw “jelly wrestling” outside of a stripper club!
****except for chocolate, which is referred to as “chocolate bars”
And some phrases:
When Kiwis tease someone, they “take the piss out of” them. They say “good on ya”, instead of “good for you”. I always pause a bit too long when someone asks “how you going?”, as I’m expecting either “how’s it going?”, or “how you doing?”.
One of the funniest terms/phrases to me, though, is when someone asks me to “flick” an email. It just reminds me of flicking a booger! (I guess that’s what happens when you have three brothers….)
Another funny one to me is that people are taken to hospital. Not THE hospital, just hospital, as if it’s a city.
I think I have mentioned the phrase “sweet as” before. Kiwis say the phrase, but never finish it – it’s for the listener to fill in, I suppose. I’ve noticed lately, though, that Kiwis like to add “as” on to other words without finishing the sentence: “crazy as” , “mad as” etc.
Kiwis love the word “aye”. It’s often at the end of the sentence, but not quite how the Canadians use it. It’s more of an affirmation, as in “I saw a movie, and it was excellent aye.” I’ve also heard people say “aye” instead of “what” if they didn’t hear what someone said.
Instead of counting down days, I often hear people saying “three sleeps to go!” I’ve heard this in other parts of the world, though, so not quite certain it’s exclusive to NZ.
And the thing that bugs me the most: zed. It is the pronunciation of the letter “z”. I understand every country outside of the USA that speaks English probably said Zed, but I just can’t. It’s an entire word for one letter! I did look up the etymology, and I learned that “zed” comes from the Greek alphabet letter /zd/. As that is two letters, and not the one “z” we have now, I ask that English speakers stop saying “zed”. Cool? Thanks. =)
The Kiwis also LOVE to abbreviate!
Wellington = Welly
Presents = Pressies
Mosquitos = Mozzys
“www” = dub dub dub
Sunglasses = sunnies
Breakfast = brekkie
Biscuit(cookie) = bikkie
Cardigan = cardi
And finally, some pronunciations:
Filet, as in ‘filet of fish’ is pronounced ‘fill-it’ here. Of course, I’ve seen it spelled fillet too, so maybe that’s why?
A garage is pronounced ‘gARE-ege’ (rhyming with carriage, which I guess makes sense, but I still can’t bring myself to say it.)
I’m still trying to get the hang of how ‘i’ and ‘e’ are pronounced. More on that later!
I’ll add to this list as I learn more words and phrases.