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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Language: Kiwi Vs American Slang

Having been to both USA and now NZ, AkiraSabine(A.S) can't help but realize the differences in some common words in daily life. It does not mean that a Kiwi word is not used by Americans but it's just not as common. It's funny but it's one of the fun part of travelling, being in a different place surrounded by different people. Being a Malaysian and because Malaysia is a Commonwealth country, we learn the British English and so has more similarities with the Kiwi English which is also another Commonwealth country. However, having said that, A.S still sometimes (and hate to admit quite a number of times) can't catch the Kiwi accent especially over the phone. She has to agree that the American pronunciation is still clearer and easier to catch as they tend to be a little louder, speak slower and stress more on the syllables. 

If you're a Malaysian, you'll notice lots of similarities in the following Kiwi words to what we use in Malaysia though we also adopt some American words due to the exposure to the American entertainment.  Also, not to forget some words which exist only in our 'Manglish' / 'rojak' English too which is not the main focus of this post.

Kiwi VS American Slang

Supermarket: Grocery store
Shopping Centre: Mall
Trundler: Trolley/ Cart
Rubbish: Garbage
Jam: Jelly 
Capsicum: Bell pepper
Spring onion: Green onion
Toilet/Loo: Bathroom/ Washroom
Bloke: Dude
Tomato sauce: Ketchup
Biscuit: Cookie
Tramping: Hiking (It's also common in NZ that they call it 'bush walking')
Jandals (short for Japanese Sandals): Flip flops/Thongs ('slippers/sandals' to Malaysians)
Highway: Freeway
Tights: Pantyhose
Torch: Flashlight
Duvet: Quilt
Sunnies: Sunglasses
Lipbalm: Chapstick
Sweet-as: Awesome/ Cool
Takes yonks: Takes ages
kumara (Maorian word): sweet potato
Bobby Banana: Baby banana
Heaps of: Tonnes of
Chooks: Chicken
aye: eh (used at the end of sentences)
Flat: Apartment ('flatting' in NZ means you share a house/flat with others)
Ice block: Popsicle (in Malaysia, we just call it stick ice cream/ ice stick)
Petrol: Gas
What The F**k: What The H**k
Caravan/ Motorhome: RV short for Recreation Van
CV: Resume
zed: zee (for Malaysians 'zac' for the letter 'z')
Cheers: See ya (when leaving a conversation/ meet up)

A.S also wrote this post on common American words/ phrases she observed in her 6 months in the USA last year (May till Oct 2010).

Drop in here if you wish to speak like a Kiwi.


Nisa' said...

I did have hard time understanding British accent. Some are quite thick. But I learnt that, the more you listen, the more accustomed you get to the different sounds of that particular accent and the more you will understand.

Call me A.S for AkiraSabine said...

Hi Nisa,

Thanks for bringing up the British accent. To be frank, if I were to compare the British accent with the Kiwi's, I'd say the former gives me an even harder time.

Yes, you're right! One just need to listen to it more and get accustomed to it it really immerse in conversations with the locals without much frowning or guessing. ;P

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