Is it colour or color? Behaviour or behavior?
Most New Zealanders know that New Zealand English (NZE) uses colour and behaviour, following British English (BrE) spelling.
So, are there any differences between NZE and BrE spelling?
It is probably not a surprise that the spelling of English words in New Zealand writing is virtually indistinguishable from that of BrE, just as most NZE grammar rules follow BrE. It is the vocabulary and the accent that distinguishes NZE the most from other forms of English.
However, there are a few small differences – though even then it would not be considered wrong to use the British English spelling variant:
One final note is that NZE writing does use American English (AmE) spelling when the word is part of a trademark – such as Cooper Tires or Colorsteel – or with American titles such as the FBI Medal of Valor. In addition, some newspapers (such as The New Zealand Herald) retain the American English spelling if the original article came from an American publication.
Kennedy, G., Deverson, T. (2005) New Zealand Oxford Dictionary. Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press.
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Marja Stack is a proofreader and copy-editor based in New Zealand. Her business, Clearlingo Proofreading and Editing, caters to all writers, whether business, fiction or non-fiction. For more information or enquiries please see her website: www.clearlingo.co.nz.
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