Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Kryptonite accents

As a default mode, I generally speak the slush-mouthed Estuary variety of English. I didn't think it had got too bad, until one of my AS students from Manchester pointed out that I say eshchury without the faintest hint of a /t/, I only ever walk down shtreets (that's with a glottal stop...), and get frushchrated when things don't go my way. Naturally, it thus came as a shock to have a new American acquaintance I had met at a party declare that I sounded "just like Lady Di". This was before the people's princess died, I hasten to add. At this point I collapsed on the floor hyperventilating at the hilarious incongruity of the comparison and almost choked to my own death trying to explain why it was funny. The acquaintance was deeply offended...

So I thoroughly enjoyed today's piece in the Guardian about the perception of (straight) American women that men with British accents are cute/hot/adorable. It doesn't matter which accent - "they all sound freaking adorable". So there you have it. It's not in any way a scientific piece, and I'm sure the "studies" referred to are entirely made up, but as an anecdotal piece about perceptions of accents this still gives us food for thought, especially as it gives a different perspective to the UK-centric perceptions more frequently mentioned in text books. It might also be an interesting starting point for an investigation into the perceived sex appeal of different some of the accents of World English.

Check it out. Which accent does it for you?

America asks: cute, or British?

The speech accent archive


At 7:24 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Brit (with a Northernish accent) living in the US, I can happily confirm that American women think that men with British accents are cute/hot/adorable.


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