Home / Funny / Viral / Isolated Scientists In Antarctica Is Starting To Develop Their Own Unique Accent


Antarctica is a place of beauty and dread. Being the only continent devoid of permanent human habitation, it is home to several dispersed research stations that resemble Star Wars bases rather than actual residences. The months that researchers and support personnel spend on the continent can be both difficult and unforgettable for them because they are separated from their loved ones and have limited means of communication. Undoubtedly, one becomes very close to one's coworkers. Enclosed in environments akin to a laboratory and cut off from the outside world, they can also make an intriguing research subject. This was advantageous for a group of Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich phonetics experts who studied the formation and evolution of accents.

They hypothesised—and provided evidence for it—that a group of solitary scientists had started to acquire a distinctively Antarctic accent. Before setting out on their expedition, the phonetics experts had a few of the people heading to Antarctica record their voices. After arriving at the British Antarctic Survey's Rothera Research Station on Adelaide Island, the study participants carried out their own scientific investigations. They had to put up with unending darkness and bitter cold for 26 weeks. They grew close to and at ease with their peers, who spoke English and were from a range of nations. They frequently used slang that was only understood by their peers, like "gonk," which means to sleep, or "dingle day," which describes a sunny, blue-sky day. 

Nevertheless, they would record themselves saying lists of vowel words on a weekly basis while they worked and played. Eventually, the Munich team received these recordings and used them to analyze the data. Professor Jonathan Harrington of Ludwig-Maximillians-University of Munich told the BBC, "We wanted to replicate, as closely as we could, what happened when the Mayflower went to North America and the people on board were isolated for a length of time." Since six months isn't very long, the changes we saw were minuscule. But we discovered that a few of the vowels had changed. The speakers based in Antarctica were largely oblivious to this accent drift, but the computers were able to identify it. Our pronunciation is affected by listening to others, which explains why over time, more significant changes may occur.

The pronunciation of some of the non-native English speakers changed. The study described how a German woman's English became more "native speaker" in accent when it was eventually published in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. This study provides a remarkable amount of insight into the dynamic realm of language, which is influenced by immigration and cultural changes. For instance, since the 1980s, scholars have observed the development of Multicultural London English, which emerged as a result of a notable influx of Jamaican immigrants to London and is evident in advances in popular culture like music. The organic nature of language is fascinating, and there are countless opportunities to study words, syntax, and interpersonal relationships everywhere from Antarctica to London. 

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