Australian Accent Derives From the Slurring of a Drunk Settler, One Historian Says

A new theory from an Australian languages expert claims that the country’s accent developed over years of heavy drinking
Staff Writer


They’re drunker down under, history books say.

English is the third most-spoken language in the world, but did you ever wonder where the hundreds of unique accents and dialects come from? One Australian scholar has a theory about his own country’s way of speaking.

According to Dean Frenkel, a professor at Victoria University, the modern Australian accent was developed over years of settlers’ heavy drinking habits. That’s right: The lilted, “g’day’s” and “heaps” were derived from years of slurred alcoholism.

“Our forefathers regularly got drunk together and through their frequent interactions unknowingly added an alcoholic slur to our national speech patterns,” Frenkel writes in an article for Australian newspaper, The Age. “For the past two centuries, from generation to generation, drunken Aussie-speak continues to be taught by sober parents to their children.”

He estimates that the average Australian speaks to about two-thirds capacity, "with one-third of our articulator muscles always sedentary as if lying on the couch." Since the publication of his theory, Frenkel has admitted that his hypothesis is not based on linguistic proof but rather observational parallels. Many socio-linguists have disagreed with Frenkel, including one anonymous linguistics professor who told a local news station, “There are different theories about how it developed. The most likely cause is accents coming from all over the UK and Ireland and converging into a kind of mixed form and that taking on its own character over time in Australia.”

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