Speech expert: Australian accent influenced by drunken forefathers

Published: Oct. 28, 2015 at 10:49 AM

Ben Hooper

MELBOURNE, Oct. 28 (UPI) -- An Australian speech expert said the country's famous accent can be attributed in part to the drunkenness of the nation's early European settlers.

Dean Frenkel,  a lecturer in public speaking and communications at Victoria University in Melbourne, said the Australian accent was born of speech patterns from English, Irish and German settlers mixing with those of Aboriginal people, but there was another influence in the accent's development -- heavy drinking.

"The Australian alphabet cocktail was spiked by alcohol. Our forefathers regularly got drunk together and through their frequent interactions unknowingly added an alcoholic slur to our national speech patterns," Frenkel wrote in The Age. "For the past two centuries, from generation to generation, drunken Aussie-speak continues to be taught by sober parents to children."

"The average Australian speaks to just two thirds capacity -- with one third of our articulator muscles always sedentary as if lying on the couch; and that's just concerning articulation. Missing consonants can include missing 't's (Impordant), 'l's (Austraya) and 's's (yesh), while many of our vowels are lazily transformed into other vowels, especially 'a's to 'e's (stending) and 'i's (New South Wyles) and 'i's to 'oi's (noight)."

Frenkel called for rhetoric lessons to be included in the country's educational system.

"We must reclaim rhetoric as an important fixture of Australian culture, teach it to all students in our schools and raise our standards of communication," he wrote. "Australia, it is no longer acceptable to be smarter than we sound."

The origins of Australia's accent notwithstanding, it's proven popular internationally -- a survey of 11,000 people in 24 cities around the world earlier this year dubbed the Australian accent to be the fourth most attractive in the world, behind British, American and Irish.



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