Describing and complaining
This chapter considers the written evidence of New Zealand pronunciation provided in 1887 by Samuel McBurney a self-taught phonetician, and the evidence from complaints about pronunciation in the early New Zealand School Inspectors’ Reports, and the literary journal <i>The Triad</i>. This written evidence has been compared with data of spoken New Zealand English obtained from recordings collected in the 1940s of old New Zealanders born in the 1850s–1890s. Some features present in the recordings were commented on in the written accounts; others were not commented on. This enables us to establish which features were the result of innovation, and which were conservative, and which had reached a level of public awareness at the time. The comparison of written and spoken data shows that the written reports reliably reflect the spoken data.