11 Sep 2017

Is the kiwi accent affecting our grammar and vocab?

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 1:16 pm on 11 September 2017

Over 1 in 10 Kiwis can only read texts on familiar topics according to an OECD survey, and some literary experts are saying it's because of our accents.

They say New Zealanders  have a "vowel shift," it's what causes us to pronounce 'bed' 'bid' and 'pen' and 'pin' and that's why some people find it harder to associate the sound of words with their spelling.

Miriam Meyerhoff is professor of linguistics at Victoria University in Wellington and she says accents have nothing to do with it but our continued 'cultural cringing' does.

No caption

Photo: Wiki commons

Get the new RNZ app

for easy access to all your favourite programmes

Subscribe to Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm

Podcast (MP3) Oggcast (Vorbis)