Friday 30 September 2016

Yesh, Aussie accent is fault of early settlers' 'drunken slur'

Jonathan Pearlman

Published 29/10/2015 | 02:30

Famous Australian Paul Hogan
Famous Australian Paul Hogan

The distinctive Australian accent is the result of a "drunken slur" caused by the heavy drinking of the early settlers, according to a communication expert from the country.

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"It's not just about pronunciation; vocal quality or timbre matters, as does intonation - the way the pitch of the voice rises and falls."

In an impassioned call for Australian schools to teach verbal expression and delivery, Dean Frenkel, a public speaking and communication lecturer at Melbourne's Victoria University, said "drunken Aussie-speak" was formed generations ago but has continued to be passed on to children by sober parents.

"The Australian alphabet cocktail was spiked by alcohol," he wrote in 'The Age'.

"Our forefathers regularly got drunk together and through their frequent interactions unknowingly added an alcoholic slur to our national speech patterns… Aussie-speak developed in the early days of colonial settlement from a cocktail of English, Irish, Aboriginal and German - before another mystery influence was slipped into the mix."

Mr Frenkel said poor communication was "not related to class" but was evident among all sectors of Australian society.

"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," he wrote.

Irish Independent

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