Do (North) Americans really like British accents?

Today’s comic from the Dilbert archive surprised me, do our friends across the pond really find the British accent sexy or feel that it infers intelligence?

I just don’t get it, why is this so (if it’s really true for the majority)?

It’s funny, I listen to a lot of PodCasts, and one of my favourites is the MacCast. Quite often Adam will play audio comments from listeners, and occasionally there’ll be a British one, it sounds totally weird. I’ve got so used to listening to North American accents in PodCasts and Audio Books, both from all over the USA and Canada that when a British (or even Australian or New Zealand) accent is thrown in it feels out of place, really jars. And what’s really strange is that when I hear a continental European or Asian accented English speaker, I don’t have the same reaction, it doesn’t jar at all. Why is that?

Another of my favourite PodCasts is Steve Lacey’s A Brit Abroad, again, it’s strange to hear a English accent in a PodCast, but this time you’re prepared, as the title suggest you’re going to get a British accent. I wonder, do American women swoon at his feet when ever he talks?

One day I might throw out a PodCast, if I ever get the time and something relevant to say (maybe I should have done so for this post, too late now), I wonder what people would think of my accent. I’m born and bread south coast of England, a real “suvana”, but I’ve spent the last eight years in Scotland. Although my accent is still very much English, I do catch myself saying the odd word that is typically Scottish (aye instead of yes, wee instead of small etc), and sometimes accent things with the harder vowels of the area I now live. I wonder how much my accent has really changed.

My friend that I play squash with every week will probably say that I still very much have a English accent, he often takes the piss when I call the score, putting on his best Cockney accent when repeating, trying to put me off my game. But I’m pretty sure I don’t have a Cockney accent, just a middle of the road south east England one.

It’s amazing how many distinctive accents there are in Britain, I wonder which would be most “sexy” to North Americans?

No comments.

  1. The accent thing is certainly true in my experience. My Indiana-born wife and I fell for each other through our independant blog writing (not that I can see what she saw in mine, but there you go). Her initial attraction was enhanced by some audio recordings I had for download – a comedy ‘experiment’ I paticipated in with a friend some years ago. The accent was a definite attraction, apparently, and many of those I came across in the states are at certainly intrigued by the accent.

    A clear, moderate, average English accent seems to be the most interesting to them. Some even struggle with that so I doubt a strong regional accent would be so appreciated, but again there is certainly fascination.

    Just don’t ask an American girl “can I come in your house?” in a strong East-end London accent ;)


  2. I had a boss who was originally from England. He admitted over a few beers complaining to his wife (also English) about how many women he’d have had if itwasn’t for her based on the accent alone! Her response – was along the lines of “I’d get twice the number of men.”

    So apparently it cuts both ways.

  3. Ha ha, thank you both for your comments.

    Neil, thanks for answering my question, nice to hear that your accent had a bit to play in your hooking up with your wife. But I do suspect that it was your sense of humour that grabbed her really, I really like the couple of podcasts I’ve heard of yours. My kind of humour.

    Jay, you bring up a good point, I was primarily thinking of men’s accents, but maybe British women’s accents are even more attractive to North American men than the other way round? Who knows, but the next time we’re over there I’m not about to challenge my wife to see if it works!