Thursday, 20 November 2014

Don't Encourage Americans to try a British Accent

I read with great interest about a study of accents today. Apparently children on both sides of the Pond pay more attention to British accents.

The article says - "It can be a struggle to get children to listen to instructions with so many distractions around, but speaking with a British accent might help."

The study was done on both British and American children, and both sets paid more attention when addressed by someone speaking in a British accent, preferably with a northern lilt. Yes, apparently someone with clear pronunciation and a non-regional accent commands less attention than us northerners. I have to think however, that part of the "commanding attention" might be amazement at hearing the accent in the first place. Like the posh kids in the Catherine Tate sketch when faced with a Geordie babysitter for the day.

If it's anything like my experiences in the USA (with both adults and children) people hearing my not-quite-like-the-Queen accent spend more time trying to guess where I'm from (Ireland? Australia?) than actually listening or following my directions.

Given that the Daily Mail web site is now available in the USA, I'm assuming that a few Americans actually read it. That fills me with dread. It's bad enough when they try to imitate me - sounding more like someone from Navi Mumbai than Newcastle - but listening to them pulling a fake Mary Poppins in an attempt to get their kids under control might just be the undoing of me. It was bad enough when Dick Van Dyke did it.

Yes, a lot of them actually sound just like this -

Heaven help us!


  1. Love Catherine Tate!
    Glad you're not so like the Queen!
    Accidents are sometimes hard to understand though!
    Maggie x

  2. Have to tell how much i love The DailyMail, every morning it's a must read the DailyMail. love reading on what happpening in England.

  3. I do think I agree with you about English accents heard by foreigners - if they don't hear something akin to the Queen then they are at a complete loss to understand it and apparent interest is indeed mistaken for what is actually an attempt to understand what is being said!

  4. My scouse seems to be an endless source of amusement and confusion on my visits, conversely I understand Americans....go figure as they say!


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