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Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Kiwi Mum in the UK - Accents

I have now lived in England for over a third of my life, and I have been thinking about this more and more since I have started blogging. I was in my very early 20's when I arrived at Heathrow Airport, Christmas Eve in 1997. I had the world at my feet and a lot of joy in my heart when I arrived.  I remember the day I arrived, one of the first things I saw, when I appeared out of the underground, was the Red Royal Mail letter boxes. This huge iconic statement of Britain staring right at me, was very awe inspiring and I remember feeling awestruck at that time, truly believing I was in 'Britain' as these were the images captured in books and photos from my childhood in NZ.

Being an Ex-pat Woman there are a lot of encounters you experience living in your adopted country, one of my ongoing ones is Accents.
There are some words that still get confused in my everyday life, the word pen is one, I get 'pin'? no 'pen'. pin? No the biro pen' Ahhh yes, of course'.

My own name still gets confused with my Kiwi accent.. this is the scenario normally goes like this:
' Hello, my name is Becky'
'Hello Vicky'
'No Becky'
'Oh sorry Bicky'
'No Beeecky'
???? the other person looks at me in confusion, so I finally resort to this..
'Like Rebecca, short for Rebecca...'
'Oh Becky!'
yes yes yes! 'Helloooo'

I also have the going home accent problem:
For example when I do go home to New Zealand, I often get the remark from fellow Kiwi's ' You sound like an English person'? Um no I am not!  and here in Blighty, I am recognised straight away by my Antipodean accent, and I sometimes even get 'So you not from around these parts are you?! 
And this one, which for some newly arrived Kiwi's may be annoying  'Are you from Australia?' or 'Are you Australian?' which by now (over a decade) this does not bother me- I am not offended. Please do not worry.

I have embraced the great diversity of dialects, here in the UK. This is one of the fab things about GB. From the Newcastle accent, to the London, Essex, Birmingham and the one most closed to my heart the wonderful ' West Country accent' I love it. In fact I am sure my two children have inherited a few local sayings already here in the land of cider and tractors!



  1. My hubby had the same problem when we lived in Australia, his name is Ben but they could never work it out and thought he was saying Bin!

  2. Britin would be an amzing place to live!
    =) though i don't think I'd ever get over the "are you australian?" question. Maybe i'll just wear a "I'm a kiwi" t-shirt lol!

  3. Geez, what is it with our accents over here? I'm Jacqui, and they ('they' being the British by birth) always think I'm saying Vicky too...

    Then they'd take the piss out of my by calling me 'Jucky'. Bastards.

    Another one I used to have trouble with, although not so much now that my accent has 'evolved' is Egg - as in the thing a chicken produces. People just could not understand what I was saying!!!!

    Now people can understand me - except when I do that Kiwi thing of talking really loud and fast without taking a breath in between. Then they just stare at me like I'm speaking Egyptian!!! xx

  4. Oh I like that..well working with school children, I get odd looks when say the number 6 and then quickly count on from there..felt a bit flushed in the cheeks when one student whispered to her friend, "She said the s**".


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