Story: Linguistics

Tig, tag or tiggy

Tig, tag or tiggy

In the early 2000s Victoria University of Wellington linguists Laurie and Winifred Bauer researched and mapped children's playground language. One result showed how the same playground chasing game was given a different name according to the geographic location of the school. 'Tig' was mainly used in Otago and Southland; 'tag' was dominant in the rest of the South Island and lower North Island, while 'tiggy' was ascendant in the upper North Island. In 1898 a correspondent to the Otago Witness had pontificated on the origin of the word 'tig'. (The game involves one child trying to catch and touch another in the group, and shouting 'tag', 'tiggy' or 'tig', after which the tagged person becomes the chaser.) 

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National Library of New Zealand, Papers Past
Reference: Otago Witness, 30 June 1898, p.42

Permission of the National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Janet Holmes, 'Linguistics - Social dialects and sociolinguistics', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/document/43844/tig-tag-or-tiggy (accessed 22 May 2019)

Story by Janet Holmes, published 22 Oct 2014