Story: Speech and accent

Bottle of bear

In the past New Zealand speakers usually made a clear distinction between the diphthongs (a speech sound that begins with one vowel and glides to another) in NEAR and SQUARE. In the 2000s for many younger speakers there is no distinction between them. This 2013 Pak 'n' Save supermarket advertisement makes the point very clearly – 'beer' sounds just like 'bear' and 'cheers' just like 'chairs'.

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How to cite this page:

Elizabeth Gordon, 'Speech and accent - Sound changes in speech', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 25 June 2024)

Story by Elizabeth Gordon, published 5 Sep 2013