Aussie accent goes on record

Most people, even Australians, think it's pretty darn confounding, but maaaaaaaaate, it's one of kind.

From the clipped imitations of upper-class English to the broad ocker drawl of the outback north, the Australian accent is recognised the world over.

Famous for its stretched vowels and rising inflection, the Australian accent will be preserved for posterity as part of a national initiative to be launched today.

A joint university study will collect the accents of 1000 adults from all states and territories to showcase the diversity of intonations across the country.

Project co-ordinator Dr Dominique Estival, of the University of Western Sydney, said the audio-visual database called AusTalk would be an enduring digital repository of contemporary speech.

"There has not been a collection of Australian English voices of this magnitude for 50 years and there has never before been a large-scale collection of audio and visual speech data in Australia," Dr Estival said.

The project will include such styles as Prime Minister Julia Gillard's broad drawl, the rounded vowels of Governor-General Quentin Bryce and actor Hugh Jackman's mix of the super refined and yobbo twang.

Macquarie University's Dr Felicity Cox said while the accent had proved resilient to the American cultural onslaught, it had diversified because of the multicultural nature of the nation's youth, who were usually the change agents of accents.

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