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Department of Linguistics

Why do some people confuse Australian and New Zealand accents?

The Australian and New Zealand accents used to be very similar and this is largely because their early white settlements contained a similar mix of accents at a similar time in history although New Zealand was settled later than Australia. However, accents continually change to serve the needs of the users and as Australian and New Zealand identities are quite different it was inevitable that the accents would grow apart from each other. There are still many similarities between the two but there are a growing number of differences. This divergence is particularly occurring in the vowels that we call the short front series. These are the vowels in words like KIT, DRESS and TRAP.