Monday, August 21, 2006

Accents hold the comedy key

In a piece of research carried out by linguists at Aberdeen University and reported here in The Guardian, it's been discovered that a person's regional accent can have a major influence on how funny they are perceived to be.

Rather like Howard Giles' famous matched guise experiment into accents, this research measures how "warm" or "cold" the speakers are perceived to be. As The Guardian reports, "After asking 4,000 people to listen to the same joke in 11 different regional accents, researchers from the University of Aberdeen concluded that the Brummie accent, as typified by the likes of Frank Skinner, Jasper Carrott and Lenny Henry, is Britain's funniest, appealing to more than a fifth of those questioned".

Received Pronunciation (R.P.) comes out at the bottom, below accents from Manchester and Glasgow. So it's not just the way you tell 'em, it's the voice you tell 'em in.

Useful for:
ENA5 - Language Varieties

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