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7 February 2011
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Accent-uate the positive
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Foreign Language Syndrome occurs when people with brain injuries lose the ability to talk in their native accent. After a stroke, George Reynolds developed an Italian accent.
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Celebrity voices
What do you think of your voice?
Attitudes towards accents
Languages other than English
Poll methodology

Attitudes towards accents

Three quarters of people in the UK think they hear a lot more accents in everyday life and on BBC TV and radio than they used to, and 78% enjoy hearing a variety of accents.

In general there was a close link between pleasantness and prestige: an Edinburgh accent was valued highly on both counts, while Asian, Liverpool and Birmingham accents were all deemed both unpleasant to listen to and lacking in social status.

There were two major exceptions to the pattern. Whilst a London accent was thought to be very helpful career-wise, people did not find it nice to listen to. Conversely, respondents liked the sound of Newcastle accents but did not think they were very prestigious or useful when job-hunting.

It was thought that a Standard English accent would be more beneficial when applying for jobs

Although the Queen's English beat other accents hands down in the prestige stakes, it was thought that a Standard English accent would be more beneficial when applying for jobs. The majority of those questioned liked the Queen's voice, but preferred Southern Irish, Scottish and New Zealand accents.

Scottish and Northern Irish respondents liked Scottish accents best of all, but English and Welsh voters put the Standard English accent out on top.

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