There’s no word yet on whether Alaskan Bush People will return for a 12th season later this year, but as fans wait for news about the reality show, they've been binge-watching episodes from the Discovery Channel series’ early years.
When the Brown family first popped up on our television screens in 2014, one of the biggest mysteries surrounding the adventurous clan was the origin of their hard-to-place accent. Six years later, their unique style of speaking still leads to a lot of unanswered questions.
What is the 'Alaskan Bush People' accent?
When viewers began commenting on the Browns’ peculiar pronunciation of certain words, the family expressed genuine surprise over audiences’ claims that they spoke with an obscure dialect.
"We never realized that anybody in the family had an accent. We didn’t realize it at all," patriarch Billy Brown admitted in an interview with Discovery. "I don’t guess we heard it. Then all of a sudden everybody’s talking about, you know, 'their accents.'"
Son Bear agreed with his dad, stating, "I don’t hear anyone in my family to have an accent," while sister Rainy asked, "What is the accent even? I’m like looking in the mirror talking to myself… I just don’t get the accent." Eldest daughter Birdy added that whatever it is, "I hope it’s cool."
Several fans have offered up possible explanations over the years for the Browns’ unusual speech habits, all of which are strictly speculative. One viewer, who alleges to have studied linguistics, noted that the children sometimes sound as though they are speaking with a British English dialect, which isn’t actually the case.
"Like most younger people in the western U.S. they show a tendency to pronounce alike the vowels in the words 'cot' and 'caught,' 'sod' and 'sawed,' 'Don' and 'dawn,'" the commenter wrote on the series’ official Facebook page in 2016.
"Among most younger people in the West, the second vowel in each pair moves further to the front and the lips are unrounded," the viewer continued. "But among the younger Browns, the first vowel in each of these pairs moves further to the back of the mouth and tends to be made with the lips rounded."
Though one critic likened the accent to "an imitation of Sean Connery," the commenter explained, "It is simply the normal merger of a vowel further to the front of the mouth ('o' in 'cot,' etc.) with a vowel further to the back of the mouth ('au' as in 'caught,' 'daughter,' etc.), but it is made in a different way than most younger people in the western U.S. make the merger."
Some fans argue that the accent stems from the Browns' isolated childhood.
In a reddit thread created three years ago, a few users reasoned that the sons and daughters' confusing dialect can be traced back to the way they were raised. "They don't enunciate properly due to, as others have said, a combination of dental problems and a lack of social interaction," one redditor claimed.
"This is often seen with 'travelers' (gypsy) kids back in the U.K. and Ireland," the individual added, also pointing out that son Gabe might suffer from additional learning difficulties.
Despite the confusion surrounding their accent, there’s at least one thing we know for sure about the Browns: they thrive off of being different.