Story: Speech and accent

Diphthongs in New Zealand English (2nd of 3)

This table shows the five closing diphthongs (where, during the production of these diphthongs, the tongue moves higher up in the mouth) and three centering diphthongs (where, during production of the diphthongs, the tongue moves towards the centre of the mouth) that constitute the diphthongs used in New Zealand English.

Many speakers of New Zealand English merge /iə/ and /eə/ (NEAR and SQUARE), so there is no distinction between cheer, which is traditionally pronounced with /iə/, and chair, which is traditionally pronounced with /eə/.  Many speakers do not use the diphthong /ʊə/ in words like tour, but rather make them two syllables and pronounce them /tuə/. Others use a monophthong so that tour rhymes with four.

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Source: Elizabeth Gordon

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How to cite this page:

Elizabeth Gordon, 'Speech and accent - Features of the New Zealand accent', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 6 July 2022)

Story by Elizabeth Gordon, published 5 Sep 2013