American funny, Russian – unfriendly: how foreigners perceive English accents

According to a new study, many Americans are worried about how they sound when traveling abroad, writes Travel+Leasure. But they should not worry — most American accent is perceived as benevolent, in contrast to the Russian. Although, for example, in Italy the emphasis of the US population find funny.

Американский - смешной, русский - недружелюбный: как иностранцы воспринимают акценты английского

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The developers of the app for learning languages with Babbel Professor of language, linguistics and communications at the University of Manchester Alex Baratta conducted a study during which they asked the representatives of different countries about how they perceive those or other foreign accents.

About 7,500 people in the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland and Canada were interviewed about their opinions about foreigners speaking in their native language and their own concerns about a conversation in a foreign language.

The results showed that Americans are most concerned about how their accent is perceived abroad. 54% percent said they have concerns about their accent when speaking a foreign language, and 34% expressed a desire to get rid of their accent when speaking a foreign dialect.

Abroad, American accent, most likely, will be considered “friendly” (so said 34% of respondents who are not U.S. citizens), the “direct” (27%) and “assertive” (20%). Canadians are likely to find an American accent “Yes” (23% of canadian respondents), and the Italians — “funny” (25% of the Italian respondents).

French accent is evaluated as “sexiest” in the United States (40% of U.S. respondents), but Italian is the most “passionate” (40%). Americans also believe that a Caribbean accent is the most “friendly” (37%), and British accent find the most “sophisticated” (44%).

In General, the Spanish accent is considered the “friendly” (39% of all respondents), and German — the most “simple” and “assertive” (29% and 33%, respectively), as well as the most “professional” (26%). The French and the Italians can boast of the most stylish accents (30%). French accent is also perceived as the most “difficult”, “intriguing” and “sexual” (30%, 19% and 37%). And Swedish accent are considered the most “intelligent” and “trustworthy” (24% and 15%, respectively).

On the other hand, the American accent considered the most “uneducated” (16%), Russian — the most “unfriendly” (18%), and German and Russian — the most “sharp” (38%).

The study also showed that women (42%) and young respondents (47%) often worried about how they sound, compared to the total sample of people surveyed around the world (38%). The Americans and the British more than the others successfully overcome the anxiety about talking in a foreign language.

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