Glasgow & West Scotland

Glasgow accent 'most attractive' to Japanese

Person wearing headset
Image caption The Glasgow accent was top for social attractiveness

Glaswegians have the most attractive accent for Japanese people learning to speak English, a study has concluded.

Northumbria University asked Japanese people to listen to the accents of six English speakers and rate them on a range of personality traits.

The Glasgow accent came out on top for social attractiveness.

The accents used were: Alabama and Ohio in America, the Glaswegian, Scottish standard English and heavily and moderately-accented Japanese English.

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.

Language 'awareness'

He 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 survey also looked at the extent to which the respondents perceived the speaker to be educated, honest or confident.

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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