Cornish is voted the least attractive accent – and received pronunciation is judged the most appealing
- Around 1,000 eharmony UK users listened to sentence with 20 distinct accents
- Participants scored each accent by associated character traits they perceived
- Those polled most associated RP with nine out of ten positive character traits
- But Cornish voted least attractive, although it did indicate good sense of humour
From its gorgeous sandy beaches to Poldark’s toned torso, it’s a county that has given us plenty to swoon over.
There’s one thing about Cornwall, however, that seems to be a bit of a turn-off… the accent.
The Cornish burr – as used by Demelza Poldark in the BBC series – has been voted the least attractive, although it did indicate a good sense of humour.
But if one is well versed in the Queen’s English, the poll results may be awfully pleasing – with received pronunciation judged the most attractive accent.
The Cornish burr has been voted the least attractive accent, although it did indicate a good sense of humour (file photo of Perranporth beach in Cornwall)
Around 1,000 UK users of dating site eharmony were played a sentence read by speakers with 20 distinct accents. Far from being a cue for romance, French inflections came 19th.
Received pronunciation (RP) is spoken by just two per cent of the population and perceived as posh due to the distinctive sound of the Queen and old BBC newsreels.
Those polled most associated RP with nine out of ten positive character traits, including intelligence, sophistication, honesty, reliability and charm.
RP even emerged as the real language of love – way ahead of accents traditionally thought to be romantic like French, Spanish and Italian, which trailed in 19th, 18th and 15th for overall attractiveness.
Humour is the only area where RP apparently falls short, coming only eleventh on the list of accents.
The study’s participants were asked to score each accent by associated character traits they perceived.
Researchers identified an ‘Ant and Dec’ factor with almost a quarter – 22 per cent – of listeners saying the entertaining TV duo have made the Geordie accent more appealing to them.
Similarly, a ‘Bond Effect’ saw the Edinburgh timbre, widely associated with actor Sean Connery, get a 26 per cent boost to come third overall.
While Ant and Dec helped the Geordie accent finish ninth, other celebrities had a negative impact on impressions.
Oasis’ Liam Gallagher reduced the popularity of the Mancunian accent – 14th on the list – by 23 per cent.
Queen’s English, New Zealand, Edinburgh and Australian were voted the top tongues while Cornish, French, Spanish and Birmingham were placed at the bottom
And TOWIE star Joey Essex damaged perceptions of his namesake accent among 27 per cent of those polled.
Antipodean accents fared very well with Kiwi coming second and Australian fourth.
Perhaps surprisingly, German, traditionally considered a harsh sounding language, finished fifth.
While deemed fun, Scouse came only 12th overall while Welsh was 16th and Brummie 17th.
One in five Brits – 20 per cent – say the sound of a voice is so important that they could not date someone if they disliked their accent.
And one in eight – 13 per cent – admit the allure of some accents is so strong that they have actually gone on a date because of it.
Demelza in the BBC series Poldark, who uses the Cornish burr. Around 1,000 UK users of eharmony were played a sentence read by speakers with 20 distinct accents (file photo)
Relationship expert at eharmony, Rachael Lloyd, said: ‘Accents play a part in our perception of others and sometimes we can’t help but be drawn in by a particularly pleasing burr.
‘But, it’s important to remember that while we might find someone more appealing due to the way they speak, we need to evaluate their core values and personality traits to work out if they are a suitable match.
‘Celebrities clearly have an impact on the way we perceive accents with Sean Connery still doing wonders for the Edinburgh accent whilst the Geordie accent remains popular due to Ant and Dec.
‘Unfortunately, some celebrity associations have a negative impact on how accents are perceived with Joey Essex and Liam Gallagher perhaps rather unfairly in the dock.
‘Nevertheless, the most important ingredient for a happy relationship is shared compatibility, and issues such as where people are from and how they speak are only superficial markers to be viewed with an open mind.’