Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Glasgow accent is tops for Japanese

Glaswegians have the most attractive accent for Japanese speakers of English, a new study has revealed

Glaswegians have the most attractive accent for Japanese speakers of English, a new study has revealed.

The Glasgow accent came out on top for social attractiveness to Japanese people learning to speak English, a survey by Northumbria University found.

Those questioned listened to speakers of six varieties of English and rated them on a range of personality traits.

Robert McKenzie, senior lecturer in sociolinguistics at the university, questioned more than 500 people to study how worldwide perceptions of the English language are changing.

The six accents used were from Alabama and Ohio in America, the Glasgow dialect, Scottish standard English, moderately-accented Japanese English and heavily-accented Japanese English.

Dr McKenzie said: "It seems to be that globalisation, and especially the resultant worldwide spread of English-language media, are influencing non-native perceptions of the qualities associated with various forms of spoken English.

"Of course, the findings do not mean that speakers of the Glasgow or Alabama vernaculars are necessarily any more socially attractive or less fluent than speakers of other English varieties.

"It is interesting, however, that English learners from a country as different as Japan should demonstrate such high levels of awareness of variations within the English language."

The four native varieties of English were rated as most prestigious under the social status category.

The findings of the survey have been published in full in the book The Social Psychology Of English As Global Language.

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