Teach English in TieshAgai Zhen - Wulanchabu Shi — Ulanqab

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New Zealand, known as the land of the long white cloud, has a large amount of travellers that visit every year. According to Statistics New Zealand, 3.86 million international travellers visited New Zealand in 2018 (International travel: December 2018, February 2019). From my experience as a hostel manager in New Zealand, I was able to meet many different backpackers from all over the world and noticed issues with communication in English. For example, New Zealanders refer to themselves as Kiwis, not to be confused with the animal or the fruit. There is a lot of complications when it comes to learning English as a second language. English is such a widely spoken language across the world, with American English and British English being the two main groups. New Zealand officially follows British English as the country is part of the Commonwealth of Nations, but Kiwis are proud people and often refer to the English used as Kiwi English. Students that wish to study English as a second language in New Zealand will have learning problems with slangs and idioms, or as they call it in New Zealand, kiwi-isms, as well as pronunciation and understanding the Kiwi accent. Kiwis use slang on a daily basis, be it at home, work, school or in social settings. There are some words and saying that are used only in New Zealand, and I found this to be the main problem in the hostel when I tried to have a conversation with a backpacker. As the slang and kiwi-isms is so natural for me to use in my everyday life, I did not realise for a long time that nobody understood me. This made communication hard, as teaching the kiwi slang to learners from different cultures can prove to be quite difficult. Lonely Planet (How to understand a New Zealander, October 2011) even put together an article in preparation for those wanting to travel to New Zealand and speak with the locals in Kiwi English. As well as using slang, the Kiwi accent is very different than British or American accents. New Zealanders are often accused of either mumbling or speaking inside their mouth. For a learner in New Zealand to be able to understand, Kiwis need to speak very slowly and enunciate very word well to be understood. This was an issue that I came across in the hostel on a regular basis. If there was ever a backpacker from New Zealand speaking with the other backpackers, the non-native English speakers would often just agree or laugh uncomfortably, not really sure what was said. I made sure to speak very clearly when I spoke to a non-native English speaker, which was very much appreciated in the hostel and backpackers would often come to me for help, because of the approach I took when speaking to them. Learners of English as a second language in New Zealand will also have a hard time understanding the Kiwi way of pronouncing words. New Zealanders often sound like they are using the wrong vowel when pronouncing certain words. The best and most popular example of this is how Kiwis pronounce 'fish and chips'. The i often sounds like a u, so when speaking it sounds like they are saying 'fush and chups' instead. The joke is now so widely made that a tour bus company, Kiwi Experience, (FUSH ‘N’ CHUPS, n.d.) even named one of their routes after the famous New Zealand food dish. Although learners in New Zealand will have some struggles understanding the locals from time to time, Kiwis are very genuine and helpful people. They will want to teach learners, new to the language, all about their slang and kiwi-isms. Kiwis will also have a great laugh if students make fun of their accent and way of pronouncing certain words. Though misunderstandings are sometimes inevitable, there will always be support and help for learners of English as a second language. References Stats NZ (15 February 2019). International travel: December 2018. Retrieved January 25, 2020, from https://www.stats.govt.nz/information-releases/international-travel-december-2018 Lonely Planet (10 October 2011). How to understand a New Zealander. Retrieved January 25, 2020, from https://www.lonelyplanet.com/articles/how-to-understand-a-new-zealander Kiwi Experience, (n.d.). FUSH 'N' CHUPS, Retrieved January 25, 2020, from https://www.kiwiexperience.com/hop-on-hop-off-bus-passes/fush-n-chups