What are you saying cuz?

KELLI HOOKS
Last updated 05:00 04/10/2012
Kiwi slang class

Hard yakka: Participants in a Kiwi slang class, from left, Ikran Moalin, Helen Mamo and Walleed Bozawa.

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No idea what cuzzies, sweet as, wop-wops or wuss mean?

Kiwi slang classes at Wellington Central library have been helping migrants tackle these kinds of words, without being too hard out.

The classes use television programmes such as Shortland Street to familiarise learners with Kiwi slang and handouts have lists of common words such as "ropeable" and "rellies".

Multi-cultural learning and support services teacher Shelley Abu-Shanab said both standard and colloquial English were necessary for full integration into New Zealand society.

"If people want to integrate and work efficiently, then understanding this type of language is really important."

She said feedback from participants had been really positive with many saying they would like more sessions.

Ms Abu-Shanab said in future she might even look at teaching swear words.

The classes were organised by Settlement Support and took place at lunchtime to make it easy for working people.

Settlement Support co-ordinator Marilen Mariano said as well as slang, the classes helped people understand the New Zealand accent.

"Even people from other countries who have English as their first language find it very useful."

She said the goal of the classes was to help people settle successfully in Wellington, especially in terms of work.

"One of the problems is always about language barriers, specifically in workplaces."

The free Thursday classes in September, were funded by the Department of Labour and the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment.

They attracted about 80 people each session. "We never anticipated that the group would be this big," Ms Mariano said.

Migrants from more than 30 countries attended the classes.

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- The Wellingtonian

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