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Aussies' distinctive Strine down to drunk forefathers

The Wonderful Well Gone and Slightly Wasted Wizards of Oz

Australians' distinctive accent – known affectionately as "Strine" – was formed in the country's early history by drunken settlers' "alcoholic slur".

This shock claim, we hasten to add, comes from Down Under publication The Age, which explains:

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.

For the past two centuries, from generation to generation, drunken Aussie-speak continues to be taught by sober parents to their children.

The paper reckons that not only do Aussies speak at "just two thirds capacity – with one third of our articulator muscles always sedentary as if lying on the couch", but they also ditch entire letters and play slow and loose with vowels.

It elaborates:

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).

The upshot of this total disregard for clear English is that our Antipodean cousins are poor communicators and lack rhetorical skills, something which could cost the Australian economy "billions of dollars", as The Age audaciously quantifies it.

The solution is, the paper concludes, the obligatory teaching of rhetoric in schools because "it is no longer acceptable to be smarter than we sound".

It's not all bad news for Strine speakers, however. A few years back, their accent was voted the world's fifth sexiest, ahead of English. The top four spots went to Irish, Italian, Scottish and French. American finished 10th, behind even Welsh. ®

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