Americans try to woo women with Liam Neeson accent
A leading American voice coach has told how some of his single male clients have tried to master the Ballymena accent - to improve their chances of scoring.
The Irish brogue is frequently voted the sexiest in the world in polls, in part due to Hollywood stars like action hero Liam Neeson and Fifty Shades Of Grey hunk Jamie Dornan.
Now single men in the US are increasingly trying to adopt a convincing Irish lilt - both north and south - in a bid to woo the opposite sex. The bad news is that Ulster accents are harder to master.
Jim Johnson, associate professor of voice and dialects at the University of Houston, runs an online service to help people master over 40 different accents, including four regional Irish brogues.
Although Johnson's clients at AccentHelp are primarily US actors, he said a number of customers who have attempted to get their tongues round an Irish accent have been singletons and American tourists.
Johnson (49), himself a trained actor, explained: "Most of my clients are actors who are looking to perfect an accent for a part.
"But the materials on Irish accents have also been used by men who want to increase their chances with the girls and also by tourists who are about to take a vacation in Ireland and want to be able to understand the locals."
Johnson travelled to Ireland six years ago, where he gathered first-hand recordings of everyday conversations of speakers in cities including Dublin, Derry, Cork and Galway. He said materials for his Dublin accent training are most in-demand, followed by Northern Irish, western Irish and southern Irish.
Of those, he said his clients find the Dublin and Northern Irish accents most difficult to master, but have relative ease in getting their tongues round the more lilting southern brogues common in Cork and Kerry.
In an Asda poll of over 2,000 people earlier this year, 17% said the Northern Irish accent was the UK's sexiest, with the Scottish accent coming a close second at 15%.
The dulcet tones of Neeson, Dornan, Christine Bleakley and Rory McIlroy helped ensure the accent came top of the popularity charts when it comes to "sweet talk".