Few things in life are more recognizable than the Australian accent, but according to one researcher, the origins of this unique drawl are not the result of two cultures influencing one another as previously believed. Rather, the drawl is the byproduct of early settlers’ frequent “drunken slur,” says Dean Frenkel, a public speaking and communication lecturer at Melbourne’s Victoria University. Although unproven at the moment, there are some similarities between drunken speech and Aussie accents, suggesting the theory may be true.

Throughout the world the Australian accent is commonly cited as one of the attractive accents. Despite its widespread popularity, however, Frenkel says the accent is the result of “drunk Aussie speak” of intoxicated settlers and that it’s time for Australian school to teach more correct verbal expression and delivery, The Telegraph reported.

“Our forefathers regularly got drunk together and through their frequent interactions unknowingly added an alcoholic slur to our national speech patterns,” said Frenkel, in an article he wrote for The Age. According to Frenkel, the average Australian speaks with a third of his vocal muscles “always sedentary as if lying on the couch,” and the poor communication skills of Australians may have cost the country billions of dollars.

This theory goes against common belief that the unique Australian accent arose as a mixture of the many accents of European settlers who colonized the continent in the 1800s. Children of these European immigrants would have created a new dialect from the speech of their parents in an effort to express a solidarity among other young Australians. But is there some truth between Frenkel’s comparison of the Australian accent and drunk speech?

Surprisingly, scientists still aren’t completely sure how alcohol affects our speech. They know it affects the cerebellum, an area of our brain credited with controlling muscle movement, balance, and posture. It also slows down our motor control by restricting blood to the muscles. Experts believe that this combination is what makes it more difficult to form our words correctly. In addition, intoxication makes us lose our inhibitions, which means we are less concerned with speaking correctly. As a result, we may begin to slur our words, and our consonants and vowels will blend together. The Telegraph reported that the Australian accent is characterized by a similar blending of consonants and vowels, but whether the two are the same is still very much up for debate.

Regardless of its origins, it will likely take more than simple communication classes to reshape the accent of an entire continent. According to Smithsonian magazine, our accents are engraved into our brains from as early as 6 months of age. As we grow and learn how to speak our native language(s), at some point, we lose the ability to make certain sounds that are not part of our vernacular. Eventually, we even lose the ability to hear them. This may be why some individuals continue to speak with their native accent despite living away from their home city for many decades.