What word do I use to describe people from India & neighboring countries

Please note I am not trying to be offensive in this question. If I were to refer to people from China/Korea/Japan without specifying their country I would use the term “Asian” and likewise for people from Germany/France/Greece I would use the term “European”. However people who come from countries neighboring India such as Sri Lanka … Read more

Dialect using “woman” instead of “women”?

If you watch this VICE episode, the presenter sounds like a native speaker, but uses "woman" instead of "women" every time (probably over a dozen times in the 10 minute video). Specifically, the presenter is either pronouncing the word "women" in an unusual way (so: is this some kind of dialect or regional variation?) or … Read more

Is there an AmE/BrE equivalent to the New Zealand English word ‘whanau’?

In an MSN News article about increasing firearms in the UK, which mentioned the recent death of Sergeant Matiu Ratana (originally from New Zealand) in a Croydon custody suite, the word ‘whanau’ was used which I had never come across before. Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s prime minister, paid tribute to the officer on Facebook. She … Read more

How often do you use ‘nowadays’ vs ‘these days’ in your dialect?

I would say that in South Africa, nowadays is rather quaint; something that perhaps Boomers and older or second language speakers would use. Unfortunately, I cautioned a student nearly a year ago against using it for this reason and I’m now doubting my advice. Anecdotal confirmation from my career English teaching Boomer mother is that … Read more

How did the term “bolshie” come to be applied to birds?

This question is prompted by a term in http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/73108561/Council-warning-threatened-falcon-species-launch-fists-of-fury-against-walkers Falcons were bolshie birds, she said, being a raptor species Earlier in the article, the same woman, a town official, said: They defend their territory as any stroppy little falcon likes to do. Her tone was one of admiration and even affection. From the context, it … Read more

What is the etymology of “Pasifika”?

What is the etymology of the term “Pasifika”, which can mean the Pacific Islands, people of Pacific Island heritage (in a New Zealand context), or a festival held in Auckland about Pacific Island culture? Answer It’s a New Zealand English term derived from the Samoan version of a Portuguese version of a Latin phrase. From … Read more

What’s the origin of “dinkum”?

Dinkum as a noun means work, especially hard work. As an adjective, like fair dinkum, it means honest or genuine. Other than saying it’s chiefly Australian and New Zealand, the OED simply says “Origin unknown” and has a first quotation from 1888 for the noun and 1894 for the adjective. But why dinkum? What is … Read more

Is “early mark” only used in Australia and New Zealand?

What countries is “early mark” used in? It means being let out of something, typically school, early. onelook.com only reports it being mentioned in Urban Dictionary, and it doesn’t have information on what varieties of English use it. Google ngram isn’t very useful – too many uses of early mark without it having the meaning … Read more

Why are almost all vowels pronounced “i” in New Zealand English?

One thing I always notice when I’m hearing Kiwis speaking English is the fact that almost every vowel turns into /ɪ/. Here’s a video which illustrates the point (listen to them when they speak vowels). Example words that video whose vowels I hear changed: Has (sounds like ‘his‘), neck (nick), men (min), death (dith), centre … Read more