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Scientists have discovered a new 'Antarctica' accent

Ben Thompson

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Scientists have discovered a new 'Antarctica' accent

Featured Image Credit: JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP via Getty Images/Mario Tama/Getty Images

No matter where you come from in the world, chances are you have an accent.

Virtually every continent on the face of the planet is made up of countries all with unique ways of speaking.

That is, except for Antarctica.

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Well, up until now, it seems.

Antarctica has its own accent, scientists have discovered. Credit: Pixabay
Antarctica has its own accent, scientists have discovered. Credit: Pixabay

The icy continent has no native inhabitants but plays host to researchers from around the world.

According to the British Antarctic Survey, as many as 10,000 researchers and staff are stationed on the continent during the summer months.

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However, only 1,000 end up staying put during the gruelling winter months.

And thanks to those scientists huddled up in the isolated region, a common accent has begun to emerge.

In 2019, experts at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich published a study which observed the change in accents of 11 people recruited from the British Antarctic Survey.

Eight of the people in the survey came from England, one from the US, one from Germany and one from Iceland.

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Each participant had their voice recorded every six weeks, making additional recordings at around six-week intervals, and the team found that their voices had changed during this time.

They'd developed longer vowel sounds and there was even a physical change as they began pronouncing the 'ou' sound at the front of their mouth, rather than at the back.

The study shows that frequent contact and isolating surroundings had caused the accent to develop - without the participants even realising.

However, like with any developing accent, only time will tell.

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Scientists isolated in Antarctica for months were starting to develop a new accent. Credit: Pixabay
Scientists isolated in Antarctica for months were starting to develop a new accent. Credit: Pixabay

Speaking about the study to IFL Science, Jonathan Harrington, professor of Phonetics and Speech Processing at the Ludwig-Maximilians University said: "The Antarctic accent is not really perceptible as such – it would take much longer for it to become so – but it is acoustically measurable.

"It's mostly an amalgamation of some aspects of the spoken accents of the winters before they went to Antarctica, together with an innovation.

"It's far more embryonic [than conventional English accents] given that it had only a short time to develop and also, of course, because it's only distributed across a small group of speakers."

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The new development of a new accent isn't the only mysterious thing about our southernmost continent.

Rumours began circulating recently that a pyramid had been unearthed beneath the ice.

Those penguins are getting more and more intelligent, I'm telling you...

Many theories have abounded about the origin of the mysterious landmark, with some speculating it was built at a time before Antarctica became the frozen desolate land it's known as today.

On the other hand, it could just be a pointy mountain.

Who's to say?

Topics: News, World News, Science

Ben Thompson
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