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Aussie or Kiwi?

Giugno 2018
La maggior parte della gente riconosce se una persona ha un accento britannico o americano. Ma quanti riescono a distinguere un accento australiano da uno neozelandese? Non molti, perché in Europa sappiamo poco di come parlano ‘Down Under’.

di Alessandra Florida

File audio:

flip flops
flip flops
fish and chips
fish and chips

When I was living in Italy, I had many friends in the rugby environment and I was one of those people who used to say that Australian and New Zealand accents sound the same. After almost three years living in Australia, watching Australian TV, having an Australian partner and attending international sports events, my ears are (finally) becoming more trained and used to both accents, and now I can assure you that they are different!


If you know a bit of basic English and are able to understand the general topic of a conversation, listening to the way the speakers pronounce the vowels in the words will help you know whether they are Aussies or Kiwis. Australians tend to stress vowels. New Zealanders, on the other hand, quite often drop vowels, or pronounce them in a different way. A common example is that Australians eat “feesh and cheeps”, but New Zealanders eat “fush and chups”. This is because where Aussies use long ‘ee’ sounds, their Kiwi neighbours use a short unstressed sound, similar to the sound in the article ‘the’. An Australian “teest” is a New Zealander “tist”. The number ‘ten’ is pronounced “tin” in New Zealand, so it can be confused with the word for a container - a ‘tin of beans’. And what about the word ‘pen’? If you are talking to a Kiwi, they may ask you for a “pun” and you might wonder why!


Another way to know whether a person comes from the land of kangaroos or of kiwi birds is to listen to the words they use. Colloquialisms or slang used in the country is different, and this will naturally confuse people from overseas even more! (Overseas is the word usually used Down Under to refer to people from abroad.) Let me give you some examples: the portable cooler or ice box in Australia is called the ‘esky’, in New Zealand it’s a ‘chilly bin’. In summer it’s hot, so you may wear flip-flops, right? Wrong! In Australia you wear ‘thongs’ and in New Zealand you wear ‘jandals’, which apparently is the short form for ‘Japanese sandals’. Finally, instead of your swimsuit/swimming costume, in Australia you use a ‘cozzie’ and in New Zealand your ‘togs’. So, even if they are located close to each other, Australia and New Zealand speak really different English!

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Attending international sports events. Assistere a spettacoli sportivi internazionali. Uno dei falsi amici più comuni: to attend non significa ‘attendere’, ma ‘assistere’, così come to assist significa ‘aiutare’.

Down Under. Australia. Letteralmente, ‘giù di sotto’, è un modo per riferirsi all’Australia, naturalmente dal punto di vista dell’emisfero nord.