Throughout our history, the Australian accent has taken a battering. Winston Churchill called it “the most brutal maltreatment ever inflicted upon the mother tongue of the great English speaking nations.”
Now, a communications expert from Victoria University claims that drunkenness is the reason behind our unique enunciation.
The theory goes that when the first British arrivals landed in Australia, they were such big drinkers that their slurred speech distorted their accents, and that verbal hangover remains today.
“For the past two centuries, from generation to generation, drunken Aussie-speak continues to be taught by sober parents to their children,” writes Victoria University lecturer Dean Frenkel.
“The average Australian speaks to just two thirds capacity – with one third of our articulator muscles always sedentary as if lying on the couch.”
According to Frankel, our bad communication has been costing Australia billions, holding back the growth of emotional intelligence and contributing to mental health issues and domestic violence.
The theory has a lot of detractors. Linguist Aidan Wilson told The Huffington Post, “There is no evidence that alcohol consumption has any long-term effect on one's own language, let alone transgenerational language transmission.”
Most other experts believe the Aussie accent was developed from the mix of dialects present in early settlement, which included settlers from across the United Kingdom. By the 1820s, a foundational dialect had developed.