Published: 8th August 2023, last updated: 1st November 2023
Australian accents are the most attractive, while New York accents are the least.
Boston has the most annoying accent.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is the actor with the hardest accent to understand.
Howdy! Bonjour! G’day, mate!
If you read those greetings in their respective accents, you’re ready for today’s topic of conversation: sexy accents. It’s no secret that some accents are more attractive than others — but which accent is the sexiest? We surveyed 1,000 Americans about their perceptions of different national and foreign accents to find out. For fun, we also used AI to reimagine what popular TV and film characters would sound like with different accents.
If an accent has ever made you blush, we don’t blame you! Let’s take a look at the most attractive accents — and the ones that might not get you a date.
If you’re single, you might want to try dating outside of your hometown because 71% of survey participants said they’re interested in dating someone with an accent. Over three-quarters (76%) of people attracted to women wanted to date someone with an accent, while 67% of those attracted to men did. But if you have any of the least attractive accents, you’ll probably want to keep your dating app distance set to local.
Science shows that attractiveness is linked to our voice, which might not be good news for New Yorkers, as their accent ranked as the least attractive. Americans also deemed the following as the least attractive female accents:
And the least attractive male accents were:
However, Aussies should be celebrating because Americans consider their accent the most attractive. The preference for the outback makes sense, as the famous Aussie actors Chris Hemsworth and Hugh Jackman have both been named Sexiest Man Alive by People Magazine. Margot Robbie is another popular Aussie who has stolen hearts on the big screen — even while doing another accent!
Beyond making someone sexier, accents can impact how we view someone’s personality. To determine stereotypes Americans hold about different accents, we gave participants accent samples from different regions of the U.S. and from around the world. We then asked them to choose which characteristics and descriptors best fit the accent.
Perceptions of accents must also be regional because some accents we studied shared competing characteristics. For example, Americans considered the Canadian accent the most calming, boring, and funny. Additionally, survey respondents said the Boston accent was the most annoying, but they also found it the most assertive and confident. However, participants overwhelmingly agreed that British accents sound the most sophisticated and intelligent.
While accent biases might be subjective, they have real impacts. These stereotypes can affect your career by impacting hiring decisions, especially when it comes to the accents others interpret as intelligent. But, as regional accents change over time, these perceptions might shift. In some cases, the specific regional accents might disappear completely. So if you’re stuck with a less-than-flattering accent, there’s a chance in a few generations you’ll fuggedaboudit!
Accents on Screen
One of the best ways to learn different accents is to mimic your favorite TV or movie characters. Let’s find out which actors participants love listening to and which they have a hard time deciphering without captions.
We asked our survey participants how often they have trouble understanding what movie stars are saying. Note that these actors’ accents in media may or may not coincide with their natural speaking voices.
According to Americans, Austrian-born Arnold Schwarzenegger has the hardest accent to understand, followed by Colombian actress Sofia Vergara. Sylvester Stallone, whose signature speech resulted from nerve damage caused by forceps when he was born, was the next hardest to understand. However, Stallone’s voice has helped him land roles as one of Hollywood’s leading tough guys. Actors with the most enjoyable voices included Sean Connery, Liam Neeson, and Matthew McConaughey — alright, alright, alright!
It’s part of the job for actors to take on the voices of their characters, but sometimes it’s difficult to nail an unfamiliar accent before the camera starts rolling. Unfortunately for actors struggling to adopt a new speech pattern, audiences notice bad fake accents even if they don’t have them. This is why many actors work with dialect coaches to bring their roles to life and get their accents as natural as possible.
Now we know the perceptions about accents and the actors that take them on, let’s imagine what our favorite film and TV characters would sound like with different accents.
What would Forrest Gump sound like without his Southern drawl? What about if Vito Corleone were the godfather of New Zealand? With the help of AI voice technology, we reimagined popular characters’ iconic accents. To add to the effect, we asked AI to generate images of what these characters might look like if they came from another region.
Sometimes, even the voices of the most recognizable actors go undetected, especially if they’re doing voice acting for animation. Listen through the audio to see if you can recognize these characters’ voices or if their new accents make them unfamiliar.
Scottish Tom Wambsgans, Succession
British Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto, The Bear
Irish Tanya McQuoid-Hunt, The White Lotus
American Geralt of Rivia, The Witcher
Australian Laenor Velaryon, House of the Dragon
American Hermione Granger, Harry Potter
British Forrest Gump, Forrest Gump
American James Bond, James Bond
New Zealand Vito Corleone, The Godfather
Our survey uncovered some amusing and intriguing findings in the battle of global accents. Australians have an edge in the attractiveness department, while New York accents might not win any popularity contests. We also learned more about how certain accents influence Americans’ perceptions. So, while we continue to enjoy the delightful accents of our favorite actors on screen, let’s embrace the uniqueness of each accent we hear in real life and overcome the stereotypes we might have toward them.
We surveyed 1,000 Americans about their perceptions of different accents and their usage of subtitles. Among our respondents, 52% were men, and 48% were women. Additionally, 47% were attracted to men, and 62% were attracted to women. For generational breakdowns, 15% were baby boomers, 25% were Gen X, 50% were millennials, and 10% were Gen Z.
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