The New Zealand accent sounded too foreign to an American reality television show that it placed subtitles so audiences can clearly understand. Before Kiwis will take it the wrong way, a linguist said New Zealanders should not take it personally.
Reality hit TV show, The Amazing Race, placed subtitles on several comments made by Canterbury locals. Dave and Connor O'Leary, the father-and-son tandem in the show, were fishing while wearing their racing helmets. Dirk Barr, North Canterbury Fish and Game officer, made a friendly remark:
"Those fish are pretty dangerous, they might jump up and get ya." His comments were indicated word for work on the screen as if speaking a non-English language for U.S. viewers.
Mr Barr said he was surprised to see the subtitles but speculated that it was for the benefit of the show's wide audiences around the world.
The Amazing Race subtitle was not the first time that American TV producers have subjected foreign accents to subtitles. In 2012, pop group Girls Aloud's Nadine Coyl, who had a thick Irish accent, and UK girl group, The Saturdays, also received the same treatment on U.S. television.
Language expert Dr Helen Charters from the Auckland University said Kiwis should not be upset about the subtitles. On a linguistic aspect, putting subtitles means the accent used was not the same with the standard English language. When the show placed subtitles, it was sending a message to viewers.
Ms Charters said that Kiwis should take it as a confirmation that they have their own way of talking. The show's producers might have placed subtitles to highlight what was said. It showed the spoken language was important enough to let everyone know what it's all about.
It was important for Kiwis to appreciate everyone with accents since not everyone has the same way of talking in English.
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