29 September 2008


We've been here more than six months now, and I still get a lot of questions about how Kiwis talk. So here are a few kiwi-isms that I have noticed. (Please note that I'm NOT talking the accent or pronunciation of words. I'm actually talking about word choice).

Kiwis call it mincemeat. Americans call it ground beef.
Kiwis call them kiwi fruits. Americans just call them kiwis. (I'm talking about the kiwis that you eat, not the birds or the people!)
Kiwis call them courgettes. Americans call them zucchinis. (To be fair, some Kiwis call them zucchinis as well).
Kiwis call capsicum what we would call bell peppers.
Kiwis call it toast. Americans call it bread. (Their sliced bread is very, very thin. Their thicker sliced bread, which is still more thinly sliced than our average loaf of bread, is called toast.)
Kiwis call tea what Americans call dinner.
Kiwis call pudding what we call dessert. (Dessert of any kind is called pudding.)
Kiwis say chocolate bar where we would probably just say candy bar.

Kiwis ask, "How are you going?" Americans ask, "How are you doing?"
Kiwis tend to say, "Have you got any ______?" And Americans say, "Do you have any ______?"
In that same vein, Kiwis answer, "Yes, I have." And Americans answer, "Yes, I do."
Kiwis say, "Good on ya!" where we would say, "Way to go!" or "Good job!"
Kiwis say heaps where we would likely say lots.
Kiwis say "No worries," or "It's okay" where we would say, "You're welcome."

Kiwis call it rubbish. We call it trash or garbage.
What Kiwis call university we call college. (College for them is actually high school.)
What Kiwis call a boot and a bonnet we call a trunk and a hood.
When Kiwis say, "Do the Mexican wave!" they mean "Do the wave!" (You know, like in a football stadium. Say, at a BYU game where BYU is about to shutout their opponents. Perhaps UCLA or Wyoming. You know what I mean.)
When Kiwis say auntie or uncle, they probably just mean "adult whom I respect."

I'm sure I could think of more, but for now that I will have to do.


Angela Noelle said...

/Clearing throat meaningfully

- Baby zucchini are called courgettes; if they get big and fat, THEN they're zucchini (it's all about maturity baby!)
- You forget we often don't add the "meat" to "mincemeat", which leads to confusion over Christmas "mince pies", which are in fact filled with minced FRUIT (oh the disappointment to bite into a mini-pie to discover such innards instead of the beef "mince" I'd come to know)
- The phrase "She'll be right" is the comforter of all comforts
- "College" is only for year 7 -13 student schools, if it is year 9 - 13 it is a "High School"

- Kiwis say gherkins where Americans would most likely say pickles
- Kiwis say Vivid, Sharpie, or felt, never ever marker
- Kiwi jelly is America's Jello, and America's jelly is Kiwi jam
- Soda pop and pop are unheard of, Fizzy drink is preferred
- Few people call coriander cilantro in NZ

JaiJai Jillian said...

A lot of those are the same in the UK too.

Science Teacher Mommy said...

I still love "she'll be right" "how are you going?" and "boot." As in pop the boot. The following are Aussie-isms--are they common in NZ too?

What about "car park" for parking lot?

"Flat out" or "Flat chat" for really busy.

"I'm stuffed." Meaning everything from "I'm screwed" (crude) to "I'm tired."

"Stinky" with a basically equivalent to the ugly American "that sucks."

"Lemonade" for any lemony fizzy drink, like sprite.

"Cordial" for that nasty Kool-Aid type drink.

The hilarious Aussie thing is to abbreviate everything. (After asking somebody if they wanted to learn more about the church, "No worries, Love, she'll be right; I'm a Catho." Catholic. Really.)

Jana said...

I love it - I'm totally incorporating more "heaps" into my vocab!

Thanks so much for your e-mail; you're definitely getting cited :)

Alicia K said...

I don't know whats its like in the states but nick names for trades
Electrician - sparky
Builder - chippy.

Also ive come across someone who didn't even say "good on ya", they said "on ya"