Australian Accent vs. New Zealand Accent

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Difference between Australian Accent and New Zealand Accent

The Anglophone Australia and New Zealand are two of the youngest nations in the world. Many people are often heard saying that New Zealand accent is similar to that of Australian Accent. On the contrary, in spite of common ancestral origin New Zealanders find it rather annoying if foreigners say that their accent is similar to that of Australians and vice versa. Maybe it is due to their geographical proximity that both accents sound similar. Most of the Australian specialties in vocabulary are derived from local English dialects.

Australian Accent
New Zealand Accent


The phonetics of any language is the base for knowing the accent and pronunciation. The symbols used denote the exact sound produced while pronouncing the word.Australian English is a‘non-Rhotic’accent and it is similar to the other Southern Hemisphere accents. Vowel phonology is mainly used to distinguish between the various dialects English, just as it is done for other languages.

The vowels of Australian English can be divided into two categories: long and short vowels. The short vowels consist of only monophthongs, which correspond to the lax vowels used in analysis of Received Pronunciation. The long vowels consist of both monophthongs anddiphthongs. It mostly corresponds to its tense vowels and centering diphthongs.

The phonology of New Zealand English, though quite similar to non-Rhotic dialects, has some distinct variations.In New Zealand English, the short-iof KIT is a central vowel not phonologically distinct from ‘Schwa’(?), the vowel in unstressed "the". It thus contrasts sharply with the[i]vowel heard in Australia.

Tone and Usage

When New Zealanders reply to a question the statement is usually spoken with a rising intonation at the end. The effect is thus of making the statement sound more like a question. Rising intonations at the end of sentences are also used among Australians but is believed to have originated from the New Zealanders.


What makes Australian accents differ from New Zealand accent is some aspects is that New Zealanders have the tendency to produce words with short “e” sounds into long “e” sounds. For example, if one was to say the word “check”, it would sound “cheek”.

The loss of short “I” is replaced with “schwa” as mentioned above. Hence, “fish” sounds “fush”, “six” sounds “sux” , “chips” sounds “chups” and so on. Another instance is when the sound of the letter “a” becomes a short “e” sound. Thus “mat” would sound “met”, “sad” becomes “sed” and so on.

Similarities and Differences

  • There always remains some sort of conflict between the Australians and that of New Zealanders. Neither of the two natives like being told about the similarity of their accents as there still remains some subtle difference.
  • The origins of both their accents are seen to have similar roots and their geographical proximity makes it very easy for one to infect the other. Hence, it is still harder to distinguish for a person who is alien to both.

Which accent sounds more pleasant?
  • Australian Accent
  • New Zealand Accent

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