When choosing a partner, accent is often an important factor. Possessing an attractive accent can be as important as boasting a charming smile or a great figure. A sexy lilt can make us weak at the knees, while overly strong or downright unintelligible ones can send us running for the hills. In a recent survey by OnePoll.com, which questioned 5,000 women worldwide, 60% of participants said that they could be seduced by a man’s style of expression. In addition, 40% admitted that they would rather sleep with someone with an appealing accent than someone with a harsh one.
So why are accents such deal breakers? Our mode of speech is personal to each of us. Every accent is unique – each one is made up of many different elements, including tone, inflection, tempo and vocabulary. They can be remarkably precise, varying not just between countries but between regions or even villages. An accent forms part of our identity, and connects us to where we were raised. We can't help but be intrigued by those with exotic or distinctive diction. They make us think of far-off places and exciting cultures, and remind travellers of their past adventures.
There are over 200 countries in the world, and an estimated 6,500 languages in use today. That’s a whole lot of different accents and dialects – and some are infinitely more desirable than others. The following is a list of the top ten most seductive accents in the world, as chosen by the users of OnePoll.com.
When it comes to accents, “American” is an extremely broad term. Though the North American accent is often admired for its clarity and neutrality, modes of speech vary hugely across the fifty states. In a survey conducted by dating website Cupid.com, the gentle twang of the South was found to be the favourite of both men and women. The New York accent came in second place, while the Mid-Atlantic states were voted the least attractive.
For a country with a population of a mere 3 million, Wales has done well to make it onto this list. Influenced by the cadences of the lyrical Welsh language, the native accent is wonderfully musical and notoriously difficult to imitate. Though Welsh-born celebrities Catherine Zeta-Jones and Anthony Hopkins have only mild versions of the distinctive accent, actor Rhys Ifans and opera singer Charlotte Church exhibit the lilt in all its glory.
Hola, amigos! The Spanish accent, when murmured by a sultry brown-eyed beauty as opposed to being bellowed by a group of hyperactive students on holidays, is exquisitely spicy and seductive. It conjures up images of flamenco dancing, indulgent siestas and evening sunshine. Popularised by the likes of Penelope Cruz, it’s no wonder the Spanish accent is beloved by so many. Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, in several countries across the world, but in this poll it's the original European Spanish accent that came out on top.
It’s no shock that the Swedish accent, stereotypically associated with buxom blonde barmaids, is a turn-on for men, but it’s also a major favourite amongst women. Actor Stellan Skarsgård (best known for his appearances in Pirates of the Caribbean and Thor) and his strikingly handsome sons are perhaps responsible for this.
A massive array of accents fall under the category of “English”, each of them distinctive. Though the Yorkshire accent is almost incomprehensible and Cockney rhyming slang seems to make no sense at all to those outside the loop, they are all endearing in their own way. When it comes to sexiness, however, regional accents take a back seat in favour of the posher standard pronunciation associated with the Royal Family and fine English specimens like Colin Firth, Jude Law and Keira Knightley.
G’day mate! The lyrical Australian accent cannot fail to remind listeners of shrimp on the barbie, white beaches and kangaroos hopping across the horizon. Combine that with the Aussies’ bronzed skin and sunny disposition, and you’re on to a winner. Boasting many famous speakers, including Hugh Jackman, Chris Hemsworth, and Nicole Kidman, few can resist the language of the land Down Under.
Ooh la la! Smooth and sensual, it’s not surprising that the French accent is consistently voted one of the sexiest in the world. The Gauls are renowned for their skills in the bedroom, and their language has come to be synonymous with seduction. In recent years, however, the popularity of the accent has decreased. According to OnePoll.com, this is all down to the widespread dislike of Nicolas Sarkozy, former President of the country, who has single-handedly altered the way the world views the French.
The Scottish dialect is beautifully melodic and ornamented. It is full of colourful slang, which can be confusing for non-natives, but alludes to a rich cultural heritage. The Scots are famed for being a warm, fun-loving nation, which only adds to the appeal. With speakers like James McAvoy and Ewan McGregor, it’s not hard to see why the accent is the best-loved in Britain.
Blending the energy of Spanish with the sensuality of French, the Italian accent is undeniably attractive. The sound of those romantic tones sends hearts racing and minds conjuring up fantasies of life in stylish Rome, idyllic Venice or picturesque Florence. Bombshells like Sophia Loren and Monica Bellucci have helped to create an aura of mystery around the nationality, and no-one can resist an enigma.
The Irish aren't usually big contenders when it comes to worldwide competitions, but they win this one hands down. From the soft lilt of the North to the cheeky tones of Dublin, there’s something special about the Irish. There’s no denying that they have a way with words and are masters of storytelling – they’ll have you so bamboozled that you’ll walk away not quite sure whether you've been praised or insulted. It’s likely that the new-found popularity of the brogue amongst women is thanks to such heart-breakers as Colin Farrell, Liam Neeson and Michael Fassbender.