When we talk about Australia, we sound Australian

December 3, 2009 § Leave a comment

When New Zealand males talk about Australian topics, their vowel in fish gets a decidedly Australian pronunciation. This and other new research was presented at the 18th Linguistic Society of New Zealand Conference held at the Turitea campus on the weekend. New Zealand linguists reported on a synthetic voice that speaks New Zealand English, the changing meaning of mauri in te reo Māori, and the acquisition of Samoan as a second language in New Zealand’s Samoan community.

The highlights of the conference also included two e-plenary sessions. In a bid for sustainability and accessibility, two international speakers were invited to address the conference from their institutions. Professor John Newman, formerly of Massey University presented startling new insights into grammatical features of English found in multimillion word corpora from his office at the University of Alberta, in Canada. Professor Bernard Comrie of the prestigious Max Planck Institute of Evoltionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany showcased cutting edge work on language typology – the World Atlas of Language Structures, which included a live demonstration of online interactive maps that could be manipulated to unearth language relationships and the distribution of language phenomena.

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