Story: Speech and accent

Speakers of Māori English commonly end questioning sentences with 'eh' (pronounced to rhyme with 'may'), and this practice has crept into Pākehā English. As Māori-language scholar Jeanette King explains to journalist Kim Hill, the likely origin of this is the Māori word 'nē', used at the end of a sentence to indicate a question or the expectation of a response. The image is by Ngāi Tahu artist Peter Robinson.

Using this item

Auckland Art Gallery – Toi o Tāmaki, Chartwell Collection
Reference: C1997/1/15
Mixed media by Peter Robinson

Permission of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

Sound courtesy of Radio New Zealand - Te Reo Irirangi o Aotearoa

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How to cite this page:

Elizabeth Gordon, 'Speech and accent - Variation within New Zealand English', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 8 December 2023)

Story by Elizabeth Gordon, published 5 Sep 2013