Story: Speech and accent

Changing vowel

A recent vowel change in New Zealand English is the raising of the DRESS vowel into the area of the FLEECE vowel – this means that 'best' sounds like 'beast' and 'bed' like 'bead'. Here University of Canterbury linguistics scholar Jen Hay explains this change to radio journalist Kim Hill, using her own name as an example, in this 2009 interview.

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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 31 March 2023)

Story by Elizabeth Gordon, published 5 Sep 2013