Describing and complaining

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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&#8217; 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&#8211;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.


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