How do the Brits rate the many different accents in the British Isles and are they a reflection of the British property market?
There is a sort of ‘pecking order’ to the accents found in the British Isles. But here’s the question: is this pecking order a reflection of the performance of the property market in the different cities in the UK?
There is a common fallacy that surrounds the British accent, the misconception being that there’s only one. Well, there isn’t.
If you were to do a quick analysis of English dialects, you will find that there are roughly as many accents in the British Isles as there are in the whole of North America – including Canada, Bermuda and Native American dialects. Drill deeper and you will find that there is one dialect per every 1.3 million people in the British Isles (vs. a rather unimpressive one in 10m people in North America)!
This is a fact known to few, with many not even realising the huge variety in British accents, let alone the hilariously painful hierarchy associated with it.
Thanks to YouGov, an international Internet-based market research and data analytics firm headquartered in the UK, the mystery to this social pecking order has been has unravelled.
YouGov conducted a research based on the public’s ratings of the attractiveness of the 12 main British accents in the UK and found that the public has deemed the Birmingham ‘Brummie’ accent the most unattractive. A study by psychologists from Bath Spa University expressed the reason behind this prejudice: apparently, people with Brummie accents sound like crooks, and are viewed as less intelligent and less imaginative. Of course, these stereotypes are not rooted in science, and should not be treated as a true measure of intelligence.
Interestingly, the Liverpool ‘Scouse’ and Manchester ‘Mancunian’ accents were the second and third worst, respectively. A good thing, then, that accents are neutralised in song, for Liverpool-born Paul McCartney and John Lennon of The Beatles, along with Mancunian Liam Gallagher of English rock band Oasis, might have had a harder time topping the charts!
So, Which British Accent Won the Linguistic Battle of Appeal?
Taking the top spot in YouGov’s research is the Southern Irish accent. Those keeping up with news on entertainment may have come across the likes of Saoirse Ronan and Cillian Murphy, whose speeches and interviews alone may well prove the report true.
Quite surprisingly, though, Received Pronunciation (RP), the very accent of the Qqueen herself, came in second place with a considerable 11-point difference from the first spot. RP has quite the prestigious reputation with only 2% of the British population speaking it, all of whom are of high social standing.
Waltzing into third place is the Welsh accent. A separate study by The Language Gallery revealed that people who speak with the Welsh twang were perceived as sounding happier than those with other English accents. Robert Downey Jr. has taken up the challenge of learning this jolly accent for his upcoming film, and Welsh fans are ecstatic about it.
All British Accents Retain Their Glory Outside the UK
In the end, regardless of what the Brits themselves think, it appears that the rest of the world continues to marvel at the sophistication of all British accents.
Lyndsey Reid, a Brummie-speaking writer at Business Insider in the US recounts that there really isn’t a “bad” British accent in America given the numerous compliments she has received since landing in New York.
Her accent, she says, is a novelty that sets her apart in a positive way. Since her move to America, she has been asked to do presentations at events and provide an insight into the British English language. And, it is her voice that has been used in voice-overs for internal corporate videos.
“You guys think I sound like Emma Watson,” says the wordsmith, “and even though that couldn’t be further from the truth, I’ll take it.”
British Accents Are Not A Reflection of the Housing Market
While their accents don’t quite meet the mark (at least among the Brits), Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester have something else going on for them — their property market.
Those keeping up with the news must be aware of the regional city rise, whereby house prices in cities outside London are experiencing greater growth than in the capital. Shrewd investors would know that these three cities, while home to the UK’s bottom three accents, are actually subject to have some of the best house price growth rates in the UK.
And, as such, we conclude that the scales have tipped in favor of the flourishing cities of Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester.
At CSI Prop, while we cannot offer lessons on the British accent, we can help you invest in some of the best properties the UK has to offer! Contact us at +603 2162 2260 to invest in properties Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester.
By Nimue Wafiya