Oui, Y’all: Why Accents Are So Attractive

By YourTango

Oui, Y’all: Why Accents Are So Attractive
The five sexiest accents that drive Americans wild...

As if dating shows couldn't get any worse, there was a new addition to the primetime lineup this summer called Dating in the Dark. Maybe you've heard about it. Three men and three women court each other in a pitch-black room to find out if love is, in fact, blind. While I'm not racing to the next casting call, I do think I've figured out what my secret weapon would be: an accent. Who, I wonder, has never melted like chocolate in a warm hand at the sound of an exotic voice? Give me a nice Scottish brogue and those lights would never have to come on.

There is something about the lilt and drawl, the strange clipped consonants and elongated vowels tumbling out of a man's mouth, that makes my heart pitter patter a little bit faster and my otherwise stringent standards slacken. I blame a tryst with a London waiter during a semester abroad solely on his devilishly alluring Aussie accent. Judging from the 3,138 members of the Facebook group "Accents are Sexy!" I’m not alone.

It's Subconscious, Not Scientific
Why is it that some accents attract us, while others grate like nails on a chalkboard? There must be some science to it—timbre and tone, resonance and fricatives, vowel shifts and dropped syllables. But truth be told, there’s not—at least there's no physiological reason why one accent is more pleasing to the human ear than another. Our inclinations toward certain accents, rather, are psychological and cultural says Susan Tamasi, a sociolinguist at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Psychology of Attraction

"It all has to do with aesthetics," says Tamasi. "There is nothing linguistically sound about saying one accent is more pleasing than another." A preference—or a response to an accent, like say, being turned on—arises from the positive or negative associations we have formed with a certain accent or dialect. (Accent refers to the way words are pronounced; dialect refers to speech patterns and constructions.)

Maybe you had a college professor from New England, and since then, a Yankee accent suggests a smoldering hot intelligence. Or you weren't a fan of George Bush and now you can't bear to listen to anyone with a Texas twang.

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