You might have noticed the abundance of articles recently, all stating that our gorgeous, eloquent, and delicate Aussie accent comes from our forefathers being up to their farkin’ eyeballs in grog, mate.
The articles come from an ABC Radio National interview with communications and public speaking lecturer from Victoria University, Dean Frenkel. The lecturer says he has studied the Aussie accent, and has found that an alcoholic slur introduced by early settlers was responsible for Aussies ‘sounding drunk’.
NOW, while this linguistic development plays heavily into the ‘Aussies love getting on the piss!!’ stereotype, there’s two major problems with Frenkel’s study. One, this is a legitimate, completely and totally unedited press photo of Dean Frenkel and how could you ever take anyone in a pinstriped fedora seriously:
And two; nothing that very important speech scientist Frenkel said is proven, or factual. ‘Australians all sound like drunks’ is kind of just his personal opinion.
The ABC published a response to Frenkel’s theory from UQ linguistics expert, Dr Rob Pensalfini, who described the study as a “cultural cringe”, and “absolute rubbish”.
The expert says that Aussie accents developed from a range of sources, but mainly had Cockney origins and influence from Irish-English.
Pensalfini said that theories like this are common, while the related evidence is always strangely and coincidentally not available.
“They say New Yorkers have nasal voices because they have to cut through the noise of the traffic. The original one for Australia was we speak in a slurred and closed-lip way to keep the flies out of their mouths.”
“They’re all completely baseless … I want to see the evidence, I want to see the instrumental valuations.”
Fair bloody dinkum, Pensalfini. Fair dinkum indeed.