New Zealand

New Zealand language

new zealand flag

New Zealand is a country belonging to Oceania, whose capital is Wellington. It has 5 million inhabitants (120º) and an extension of 268,021 km 2 (75º). Its official currency is the New Zealand dollar and its human development index is very high (16th). And what language is spoken in New Zealand?

What language do they speak in New Zealand?

New Zealand has two official languages:

  • Maori, which is spoken by 3.7% of New Zealanders.
  • New Zealand Sign Language, used by 0.5% of its inhabitants.

English , which is spoken by 96.1% of the population, is official de facto, as it is the predominant language (same case as in Australia). A bill was introduced in 2018 to make it official. In addition, New Zealand achieved something unusual: it became the first country (in 2006) to include a sign language as an official language.

The most common immigrant languages ​​are Samoan (86,400), Hindi (66,300), Mandarin Chinese (52,300), French (49,100), Cantonese (44,600), German (36,600), Tongan (31,800), Tagalog (29,000), Afrikaans (27,400), Spanish (27,000), Korean (26,400), Dutch (26,400), and Japanese (20,100).

map language most spoken language new zealand after english maori

The English language

The English (English) spoken in New Zealand is New Zealand English. This variant is very similar to the one spoken in Australia in terms of pronunciation, with some differences. Despite not being official, it is the main language used in parliament, government, the courts and in the educational system.

It has some loanwords from Maori, such as haka (war dance), kia ora (a greeting), mana (power or prestige), puku (stomach), taonga (treasure) and waka (canoe).

The Maori language

Māori (Te reo Māori ) is an indigenous language of New Zealand. After the Second World War, there was a current that discouraged continuing to speak Maori, both in schools and at work. The Maori language was barely spoken in remote areas and this movement bordered on achieving its purpose. But Maori began to undergo a process of revitalization, and in 1987 it was declared official.

Today there are Maori immersion schools and even two television channels that are broadcast almost entirely in Maori. Many places that have their names officially recognized in both English and Maori.

percentage maori speakers new zealand

New Zealand Sign Language

New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) is the main language of the country’s deaf community. Despite being official, the rights and obligations of use are restricted to legal proceedings. It has a similarity of 62.5% with the British and 33% with the American.

Share which languages ​​are spoken in New Zealand.

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