Research on New Zealand English vocabulary

A major role of the New Zealand Dictionary Centre is to maintain and update the database of New Zealand English from which The Dictionary of New Zealand English was compiled. The Centre will prepare future editions of The Dictionary of New Zealand English. Anyone with an interest in New Zealand words and their use, including new words, new uses of older words that have evolved in New Zealand, or earlier uses of words than previously recorded can send us such information.

The Centre publishes a number of other New Zealand Dictionaries, ranging from works designed for school use to larger comprehensive dictionaries such as the New Zealand Oxford Dictionary. This landmark international encyclopedic dictionary contains more than 100,000 definitions, including 12,000 New Zealand entries, along with 20 appendices containing significant New Zealand data. The Centre is committed to the study of all words in New Zealand English, including those borrowed from other languages and those from particular domains of use (e.g. New Zealand English words of rural origin).

Oxford University Press has also recently published a number of 'regional' dictionaries, including The Australian National Dictionary, The Dictionary of South African English, and The Canadian Oxford Dictionary. The public interest in these publications is a measure of the importance of regional varieties of English in the construction of national identity in these post-colonial societies.

Specific areas of research at the Centre include two completed PhD studies

The Presence of Māori Words in New Zealand English (John Macalister, 2003)

The Rural New Zealand English Lexicon 1842-2002 (Dianne Bardsley, 2003)

In 2003, Katherine Quigley started her PhD study of the language of public sector reform in New Zealand 1981-2001, and in November 2004, Cherie Connor was awarded a PhD Fellowship to study the contribution of the marine environment to New Zealand English.

Other current projects include the collection and research of New Zealand acronyms and initialisms and the study of New Zealand transport terms since 1840.

The Dictionary Centre conducts a Volunteer Reader Scheme, in which readers who regularly read New Zealand material note new terms and usages for recording by Centre staff. If you are interested in receiving a Volunteer Reader Scheme Information pack, contact Dianne Bardsley, New Zealand Dictionary Centre, Victoria University of Wellington, Po Box 600, Wellington