Little known actor Hana Both has posted a rant to her Facebook page, taking a swipe at people for not saying Maori words properly in her presence.
Many of our readers will know how accents and received pronunciations are used as a socially divisive tool in New Zild. This Kiwi sport of ‘one up manship’ is frequently used by New Zilders to denigrate migrants when they mispronounce the Maori language, or to lambast them when they speak English properly. Now it looks like they use it against their own too.
Actor Hana Botha posted a video on her Facebook page about failed pronunciation, and it has received more than 40,000 views, more than 1000 reactions, and more than 400 shares. “It’s something that has become more annoying over the summer months, you know, when you’re talking to people about where they’ve been travelling to for Christmas and New Years,” Botha said in the video.
She said it “honestly boggles my mind how many people don’t even attempt it. Yeah, I don’t get them right all the time either, they’re hard, you have to think about them, sometimes you have to try two or three times, but that doesn’t mean that you should just be like ‘Oh, no, actually I’m not going to bother with that, I don’t have time for that.”..
A Te Reo speaker would not take an English place name and try to pronounce it with Maori vowels, she said. “So why are Pakeha allowed to get away with making the Maori vowels into English vowels? read more in today’s NZ Herald
Many British migrants in New Zealand object to being called Pakeha and consider it racist and offensive, almost as offensive as the egregious way their language is corrupted in New Zild.
Of course, the correct use of English language doesn’t receive much credence in New Zild and woe betide the person who criticizes the Kiwi version.
Understandably, the Kiwi accent’s slaughtered vowels and mashed consonants are often the subject of amusement to people outside the country. Not least well spoken British entertainers like Graham Norton, who frequently puts Kiwis in his plummy red chair.
Maybe if Kiwis are going to use English to carp on about pronunciation they should at least learn to speak it properly first?
“Fush and Chups”, “Sunbathing on the dick”, “Woman” (the plural of woman) and “Beached az” jokes aside, the New Zealand accent and the upward inflection at the end of a sentence is incredibly hard on the ear of other English speakers.
Din’t yuh thunk? Bru?
Groundskeeperwillie makes a good observation below that sums up this issue well:
This whole placename pronounciation drive has been simmering for years in NZ (TVNZ etc has had a lot to do with it) and whilst I think it’s great to try to keep the language alive, this is more about points scoring than a genuine attempt at education.
If I did speak Maori then comments to correct my mis-pronounciation should be taken gracefully as they’re intended to help. Not this, though. This is different.