Neanderthals may have had New Zealand accents
24 Apr 2008
For the first time in 30,000 years, scientists have simulated Neanderthal voices - and it’s a similar sound to the New Zealand accent!
Anthropologists at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton used fossil evidence and a computer synthesizer to engineer the sound of a Neanderthal saying ''e.''
The reconstruction of vocal tracts showed that ancient humans lacked the "quantal vowel" sounds.
Similarly, New Zealanders are often accused of making all vowels sound the same.
The quantal vowel sounds underlie modern speech and provide cues to help speakers understand one another. For example, this quantal hallmark helps a listener to distinguish similar sounding worlds such as ‘beat’ from ‘bit’.
The New Zealand accent, described as a ‘colonial twang’, was formed somewhere between 1850 and 1880. The sound of the accent is slightly nasalised with flattened vowel sounds and vowel shifting.
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