Friday, April 04, 2008

A brum deal

Speaking in a Birmingham accent gives a worse impression than saying nothing at all.

So say researchers at Bath Spa University who have been investigating stereotypes associated with accents. The BBC news website reveals more here.

The Daily Telegraph has a longer feature on the same story, adding that "People associate the Birmingham accent with criminal activity and that criminal activity is associated in people's mind with low intellect". But the accent that comes out on top is that of Yorkshire whose speakers are perceived to be wise and intelligent.

The Telegraph also has a feature here where you can contribute your views about accents and read what others have said.

Useful for:
ENA5 - Language Varieties
ENA6 - Language Debates


Dessy said...

i don't think there is a link between accent and intelligence. it's like one dude on telegraph website said, one study of 48 people listening to three accents cannot tell us about attitudes to the birmingham accent. it's just like some people have suggested that cockney is normally the language associated with unintelligence, which is associated with criminal activity, (perhps bcos of shows like the apprentice where Sir Alan Sugar seems to be the most intelligent this may now have changed). how do we know whether if the participants had listened to the cockney or scouse accent they wouldn't have rated those the lowest?

Dan said...

True, but it does give a snapshot of how easily some people jump to conclusions about others' accents and personalities/capabilities. I can't hear a west country accent without thinking of farmers with bits of straw in their mouths and shotguns aimed at tourists.