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The BBC Radio 4 series “Keywords for our time” examines key phrases currently in use in public debate and political culture. In a recent programme, Helen Lewis, deputy editor of the New Statesman, took a look at the… Read More
Depending on your interest in the British royal family, last autumn’s news of Prince Harry’s engagement to Meghan Markle may not have overly grabbed your attention. I wasn’t exactly seeking out in-depth analysis of their impending nuptials, but I couldn’t help getting drawn in by an article in the Guardian which claimed that Meghan had been won over by Harry’s British accent! Arwa Madawhi writes “I’m sure the whole Prince thing probably made Harry seem attractive, and maybe he has a nice personality, but I’m certain it was his accent which really sealed the deal for Markle.”
So, in honour of Valentine’s Day on February 14th, this week’s blog takes a look at which ones, among the sexiest accents, are most likely to secure you a date. The travel dating website MissTravel.com seeks to hook up adventurous travellers with likeminded companions and, in a survey conducted in March 2017, the site’s users declared the Israeli accent to be the most attractive to men, with the British accent winning out for women (no information is available as to whether Meghan Markle voted in the survey). The company’s CEO Brandon Wade explained that “As Americans we often associate British accents with intelligence and class, both desirable qualities for a mate.”
British-based American Rochelle Peachey has even set up a website (iloveyouraccent.com) for the mutual appreciation of British and American accents. When asked specifically what her compatriots found so appealing about British English she replied “It’s just a dream for them, they watch too much TV, they think we all walk around in the fog with capes on, and know the Queen.”
And this isn’t the first time British English has topped a poll of favourite accents. In 2015 TimeOut surveyed the world of dating with a series of questions about romantic preferences answered by over 11,000 respondents from cities all over the world. A total of 27% of respondents selected British English as the “world’s most dateable accent”, with American English in distant second place at 8%.
CNN travel were also interested in the relative attractiveness of different accents, and they have an ongoing Facebook poll if you fancy expressing your own opinion. At the time of writing Trinidadian is holding a clear lead over French, with Spanish, Italian and “British Oxford” (as they call it) closely grouped in 3rd, 4th and 5th spots.
Perhaps more entertainingly, CNN also conducted a more unscientific survey which they describe as “asking around the office”, to come up with a list of the “sexiest brogues”. Here Trinidadian is ranked a lowly 11th and is described as “an undulating, melodic gumbo of pan-African, French, Spanish, Creole and Hindi dialects that, when adapted for English, can be sex on a pogo stick.” The Queen’s English comes in at number 5 on this totally random list, but is honoured with the description of sounding like “a crisply ironed shirt playing a harp”. And here, finally, we have the cliché of Italian capturing the number one spot. “The Italian accent is a vowelgasm” according to the author, and is described as sounding like a “Ferrari saxophone”.
Happy Valentine’s Day, whatever your accent!
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