Alcohol doesn’t just slur speech

Drinking alcohol can make it easier to guess a person’s background because it affects the brain’s ability to control speech and accent.

Adapting or changing the accent we grew up with takes considerable effort by the brain, both in terms of cognitive power and motor control.

But the more alcohol a person drinks, the more difficult it is for the brain to control way we pronounce words, say scientists.

 We slur our words, and it’s harder to maintain the motor coordination and control needed for effective fine motor execution needed for speech production,’ said Dr Amee Shah, director of Cleveland State University’s Research Laboratory in Speech Acoustics & Perception, in an interview with NBC News.Dr Shah went on to explain that the same change in speech can be observed in those that are very tired or ill.

When we are drunk or ill, all of our available brain power is devoted to simply managing the easiest tasks, she explained.

‘As an Indian speaker, I have managed to modify my Indian accent on my own, but when I’m tired, or my lips are freezing in the outside air in winter, I find it harder to pronounce the sound “v”, as in “Victor”, as the easiest thing for my muscles and thinking is to purse the lips and say “w”.’

This is a contrast that doesn’t exist in Indian English, she added.

In April, actress Reese Witherspoon was caught on camera after she was arrested for drunk driving.

Her Southern Louisiana accent was much stronger than most people were used to hearing and it could have been alcohol that was to blame.

Previous studies have shown that regional accents are deeply ingrained in us. One study found that even the cries of newborn babies showed the beginnings of an accent.

In 2009 researchers at the University of Wurzburg in Germany studied the patterns of baby cries in the first five days of life.

They found that the screams of a five-day-old French baby have a distinct Gallic twang, while German babies have a Teutonic quality to their yells.

Experts said the findings suggest that babies ‘eavesdrop’ on their parent’s conversations while still in the womb and pick up their accents.

– Daily Mail

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