Variation within New Zealand

Jennifer Hay, Margaret Maclagan and Elizabeth Gordon

in New Zealand English

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780748625291
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651542 | DOI:
Variation within New Zealand

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This chapter considers variation within New Zealand English (NZE). The study of language variation usually focuses on two types of variation: variation across speakers, and variation within speakers. For example, many speakers who use Maori words and phrases are themselves Maori, but non-Maori speakers also use Maori words in their speech. This is an example of variation across individual speakers. Speakers vary in the vocabulary they use, as well as in their pronunciation, morphosyntax, and discourse strategies. The chapter focuses on this type of linguistic variation within NZE. In addition to variation across individuals, variation can also occur within individuals – across different contexts. For example, speakers who use Maori words in their speech will often use them more in certain contexts. When they are at a hui (meeting) on a marae (the meeting ground where the whare nui or meeting house is situated) for example, they will use many more Maori words and phrases than when they are talking to a Pakeha businessman at a meeting in a city or to a Pakeha shopkeeper. Language variation across contexts occurs in people's speech as they move from one situation to another. The chapter also considers one very particular type of variation according to context: the language used when describing horse racing.

Keywords: New Zealand English; language variations; speakers; context; horse racing

Chapter.  6801 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Linguistics

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