University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics


New Zealand has some 250,000 people whose families immigrated from the South Pacific islands, making up seven percent of the New Zealand population. The majority of these people come from four main islands or groups: Samoa, Cook Islands, Tonga and Niue. The first generation immigrants are second language speakers of English, with their first languages being the Polynesian language of their country of origin. New Zealand born members of the community are often dominant in English rather than their community language. This leads to a complex situation of language contact which seems to be resulting in the emergence of a Pasifika ethnolect of New Zealand English in the younger members of these communities. This study analyses the realisation of the interdental fricatives (DH) and (TH) in the speech of ten young Samoan and Niuean New Zealanders. (DH) was frequently realised as a stop, particularly after a pause and in stressed syllables. (TH) had both stopped and fronted forms, with fronting occurring at high rates in syllable coda position. A more detailed analysis of the speech of one Samoan participant revealed several other features which may be associated with Pasifika English in New Zealand. These include the occurrence of non-prevocalic /r/ after NURSE and the absence of linking /r/ and other sandhi consonants.