30 Apr 2015

Medical examinations or digital conversions?

7:50 pm on 30 April 2015

In past posts, I have outlined the differences between two similar sounding words. Getting it wrong can suggest a quite uncomfortable situation.

150714. Photo Diego Opatowski / RNZ. Generic radio studio. Microphone, Onair, console

Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

A correspondent has pointed to another two words which are often misused.

Our advice to staff is that "disinterested" means neutral or impartial. It is not the same as "uninterested" which means simply not caring one way or the other.

Digitise and digitalisation

"Digitise" and "digitisation" are Radio New Zealand's preferred terms, rather than "digitalisation" which may involve a medical examination.

Premier and premiere

"Premier" often gets pronounced the same as "premiere". Radio New Zealand policy is to say PREM-yuh [IPA: ˈpremɪə] for a leader, or a first event and leave premi-AIR [IPA: ˈpremiˌeə] for the opening night of a show.

Some random entries from the Radio New Zealand pronunciation and style guide

Derby and Derbyshire, in the UK, are pronounced DAH-bee and DAH-bish-uh [IPA: ˈdɑːbɪ & ˈdɑːbɪʃə]. The derby horse race in England and New Zealand is the DAH-bee [IPA: ˈdɑːbɪ]. The horse race in the US is the Kentucky DUR-bee [IPA: ˈdɜːbɪ].


Sound all syllables, ensuring the word ends with rate. [IPA: dɪˈtɪərɪəreɪt]


Deterrent is best pronounced dit-"errant" [IPA: dɪˈterənt], and not not di-TUR-ruhnt


We say RAG-wurt [IPA: ˈræɡwɜːt]


Note: IPA refers to the universal system of international phonetic symbols and provides a more exact notation of how we say things.


* Hewitt Humphrey is Radio New Zealand's Presentation Standards Manager. If there are any words you would like him to address in future please send your query to rnzwebsite@radionz.co.nz and put in the subject field: Attention, Hewitt Humphrey.