Work on variation and change in New Zealand English has identi®ed a shift from older, more British-like norms to newer, more American-like ones in the last half century. The shift seems to aect lexical items, and phonological variables. This paper considers some general principles found, in the social sciences, to be associated with globalisation and considers what the theoretical and methodological implications are for the study of language variation if we talk about changes like those taking place in New Zealand English as being the eects of globalisation (or, more speci®cally, Americanisation). A study showing that New Zealanders have very dierent attitudes to variants that sociolinguists have lumped together in the past, suggests that globalisation with localisation is an important principle for variationists to take into account. It is suggested that variables hitherto analysed as being the consequence of globalisation might be better thought of as re¯ecting àbroadening of the vernacular base'.
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