Brian Edwards Media

Hurrah for Harold Harris! A Guide to Speaking Sainsbury.

Once upon a time aspiring radio and TV stars were sent off for voice coaching before they were allowed to pollute our airways. At the very least they had to have pleasant voices and excellent diction.

No longer. Our TV screens are now populated in prime time by young women whose voices could etch glass at 40 paces and men who happily mangle the language to the point of incomprehensibility.

My current personal favourite is the new dialect of Sainsbury, to be heard on Close Up most evenings at 7pm. I’ve heard the odd Sainsburyism from news reporters on both One and Three and once, to my astonishment, from Mike McRoberts.  It’s clearly the coming fashion and we should all adopt it as soon as possible.

Visitors filling in time between World Cup matches may require help with translation before they can fully appreciate Close Up. They may be so impressed with what they hear that they want to start speaking Sainsbury themselves.  Here’s a little pronunciation guide for the uninitiated and the eager:

Harold – as in ‘Harold is that dodgy Toyota you’re selling?’

Harris – as in ‘Harris it that you can’t kick the damn ball between the posts?’

Hurrah – as in ‘Hurrah you, now that you’ve had liposuction?’

Harrever – as in ‘Harrever will you get that money out of the country, Mr Hotchins?’

Harroffen – as in ‘Harroffen will Hone hongi Willie before the election?’

Harrintristing – as in ‘Harrintristing! And where did you dispose of the body?’

Feel free to expand this guide – your contributions of any new Sainsburyisms are welcomed.

Next week: How to copy Key – an exercise in syllable reduction.

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  1. Look,Like,I mean…rillyntristing!

  2. Hilarious! Clearly spearheading the way for muffled NZ English all around, enunciation thrown right down the rabbit hole. I always think of Sainsburism as speaking as if you had a wet towel in your mouth. Takes skill, no?

  3. and that’s closed shop tanight

  4. “Now…” and sometimes “Nowr…” if it is followed by a vowel.

  5. Very funny. Thank you, ma’am. Although I’m not sure that I really want to return to the old NZBC days. A little bit of character is fun.

  6. Takes me back to that wonderful ‘New Zild’ dictionary.
    For syllable reduction try ‘air gun’ for ‘How are you going’

  7. “Par cut”; “becoming clardy after noon”; “the Westpac rescue halicopter was despatched to the Southern Elps” etc etc…worst offender? Murray Deaker.

    I once spent a few foolish minutes looking up Halitranz in the phone book before I twigged, so I’m pleased to note that their radio ads now refer to “HELEtranz – with an ‘E'”.

  8. Love the ‘etch glass at 40 paces’. Perfect description of some female voices that are insufferable to listen to.

  9. I never watch Sainsbury (Bellowing walrus style) and occasionally watch Campbell (Faux sincerity style) I find both grating generally.

  10. I could live with everything else, but the way the wrong pronunciation of “women” is slowly taking over the airwaves really brings out my inner curmudgeon.

  11. Cant stand the hesitations between syllables.
    The pronunciations are bad enough but when they’re stretched out it makes it unbearable listening

  12. Haeremai – as in Haeremai hanging onto this job?

  13. @ Wyndham


  14. …and another thing: I’m ALWAYS irritated by the news presenters who insist on pronouncing the word “a” “ay”, as opposed to the correct “uh”. Worse, they use “ay” when reading their script, but “uh” when responding to a secondary question from the studio anchor.

  15. I’ve long held that the Maori language should be compulsory …. and soon, since I fear our entitlement to use English may be withdrawn by Betty Windsor at any time, given the damage done daily to it in these isles. Te reo will be the only option remaining.

  16. Sorry if it’s slightly off message, but can someone tell Sainsbury that he has a lapel microphone and we can well and truly hear what he says – why does he need to shout…?

  17. I read the heading first time round as “A Guide to Spanking Sainsbury”. Whoops.

    Go the Walrus! Sainsbury ftw!

  18. “Next week: How to copy Key – an exercise in syllable reduction. ”

    I tried grinning for long periods like Key does… god it hurt! He must have a bionic jaw or something?!

  19. Sintristing piece – Paul Little’s comment above sums it up.
    TV reporting credibility is slipping fast – young reporters tell us that the “Bombs are raining down” – when they are shells – not bombs – and I think, how can I believe the rest of what you’re telling us… or is that just picky, because it doesnt really matter? Pffft.
    Alistair Wilkinson the newsreading puppet is my favorite, since I heard him use a new word – “Eppy-Tome”. Epitome was it Alistair? How much are they paying you? or is that just being picky – and it doesn’t really matter… Gizajob – oicoulddoodat