Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Accent-uate the positive.

I'm from East London, not only am I from East London, I SOUND like I'm from East London.

Don't get me wrong, I don't sound like Bianca from Eastenders and I won't sell you a pound of bananas for a pound but my East London accent is quite strong (unless I put my "telephone" voice on)

Does that AUTOMATICALLY make me a chav?

I don't think so, but in the eyes of people who judge, Yeah, sometimes it does.

There's a whole lot of judging going on out there in the big bad world and an accent is just another way for people to make a snap decision.

Think of a brummie accent? What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of it?

I asked people what came to mind when they thought of the Birmingham accent and most people said thick or a bit slow. they said they didn't like the accent and it probably would affect how they felt about a person if they had a brummie accent (I have some judgemental, shallow friends don't I)

How about the French accent? Mysterious and sexy are the words that were used to describe that one by my panel of judges.

I have in the past been turned down for jobs that I have been overqualified for because "I don't have the right public image" (Thank you Harrods, you scarred me for life) I wasn't walking around with a purse made from dead kittens or have bright pink hair, It was purely because of my accent.

Why should whatever I say be taken LESS seriously because the way that I say it?

I could be talking about the Large Hadron Collider and the safety of particle accelerators (What? I can still Google you know) and someone would still breeze past thinking "CHAV"

What do you think?

Am I right? Do people judge purely on hearing an accent?

Or have people judged YOU for your accent?

Let me know

Big Fashionista x x
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21 comments

  1. I agree that a lot of people judge you by your accent. I moved to barnsley about years ago and the accent here is quite strong. I dont really have an accent but when ever i met people they would say that i talked posh?
    My husband has a strong accent and all his friends said they would never put us together as a couple because i'm too posh ha. Well believe me im far from posh and once they got to know me they said they cant believe how different i am to what there first impressions were? IE im not stuck up ha xx

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  2. I grew up in Yorkshire and was teased relentlessly at school for being 'posh'. Then I headed off to the very middle class University of Nottingham and was teased relentlessly for being northern and having a comedy Yorkshire accent.

    Most traces of my Yorkshire accent have disappeared over the last (nearly) 6 years and I now have what can only be described as 'a university accent' - I was once described by my previous employer as 'the one who sounds like she had a pony growing up', and everyone presumes I'm from the home counties and went to independent school.

    It really is bizarre the conception people have of you because of the way you speak. I've never consciously altered my accent, but it's changed completely! (Though the Yorkshire accent comes back when I say bath, grass or rucksack!)

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  3. I'm from the Westcountry, and we all sound like farmers. As soon as I mention that I live here I automatically get 'so, you live on a farm?' xxx

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  4. I've moved about a bit. I started off with a West Midlands accent, lived near Wellingborough for a few years and lost that but was always told I spoke posh after that. Then I lived in Geneva for a year and went to the International School so I picked up a weird mid-Atlantic American twang. Moved back, lost that. I still don't think I have a Wellingborough accent, but I do hear myself put one on unintentionally at times. I have a horrible habit of picking up the accent of whoever I'm talking to, and I just hope they don't think I'm taking the piss!

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  5. Interesting comment Kat Fiction - research actually suggests that when somebody mimics an accent its because they are subconsciously trying to make the other person comfortable/bond with them. So actually it shows you are a nice person!
    Accents fascinate me - my Dad is nicknamed 'BBC Bob' because he sounds like an old BBC newsperson, whereas my Mum is very broad Suffolk. I'm a hybrid between the two!

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  6. I am from Windsor originally! I spent a lot of happy years working in W Midlands - my favourite windup would be to call my mother & say "Yow alright mam?" (in a Brummie accent) - "phone my back when you can speak properly" was the reply!

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  7. Oh people judge my accent ALL THE TIME. Apparently I sound posh and that is a huge no-no to some people.
    I originally had and Irish accent but attended English schools for much of my education. One school ironed my Irish accent out of me because it was and I quote 'distasteful in the extreme.'

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  8. I only get judged on my accent when I go back to my home town! I'm a born and bred Newcastle girl but, like quite a few people in the region, I don't have the accent. I went to a fairly posh school and just never picked it up. When I go back to Newcastle the locals never believe that I'm from the North and think I'm snooty and if I don't have an accent I'm not a Goerdie - it really annoys me!

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  9. I love english accents, no matter where in the UK they are from. I find it so much more sexy than American or australian.With English not being my first language, I always try to sound english when I speak because I dont want to be judged as a sterotype swedish girl with blond hair. (Especially since I am norwegian, but foreigners dont know the difference)

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  11. I agree with you...I do think a lot of people tend to judge on your accent.

    I was born and still live in Berkshire. Apparently a typical Berkshire person has a bit of a farmer accent which people will relate to as a bit dim etc. There's a saying of "Berkshire born, Berkshire bred, strong in the arm, thick in the 'ead".

    I don't think I have an obvious accent but I have been told I am quite well-spoken, which some people automatically relate me to being a snob/stuck up - I can assure you I am definitely not!

    Great post :) x

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  12. People definitely judge me by my accent. I've always had a polished way of speaking which made people assume that I was arrogant and distant - neither of which was true.

    Then, when I moved to England, I found my Trinidadian accent morphing into a British one, again rather polished. I've given this a lot of thought and I think it's happened because I subconsciously knew that changing the accent would mean removing a cultural barrier between others and me. My brother finds it funny that I'll speak to him like a Trini and then slip into a VERY English accent when on the phone with a client! Sadly, I know that it's easier for me to get ahead if people just assume I'm English at least at first...

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  13. I get judged with my accent all the time being an American living in the UK. Nothing too bad but most people try to figure out where I'm from I get Ireland, Australia, Canada, and lastly America so I assume my accent has become more transalantic.

    I love Yorkshire and Welsh accents and the Scots are pretty nice too!

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  14. Well, i have a northern irish accent which to me is one of the worst accents ever though quite a few people seem to love it for some strange reason..when me and hubby lived in Tunbridge Wells, for 3 years, we found we had to slow down our speech in order for people to understand us.. i love strong accents, no matter where from, and really hate people trying to disguise theirs..be yourself, i say...

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  15. Sheila (@flinny2001)23 February 2011 at 17:48

    Haha, judged for my accent eh? I'm Glasweigan people assume I'm violent and/or a drunk. I generally tone it down without realising depending on who I'm speaking too, after 12 years in hotels dealing with tourists and then 3 years now in call centres I probably use my 'phone voice' more than my real one, to be honest makes life easier if people can understand what I'm saying ;)

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  16. I went to what was considered to be a "rough" school, and got a lot of flack for having what they described as a "posh" accent, purely because I spoke properly, and wasn't fluent in chav!! As a result, everyone thought my family had a lot of money, and yep, I was branded a snob! The good thing about it, was that I could hide the fact that my family didn't have a lot of money, which when I was a kid, we found embarrassing (don't really know why looking back!!)

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  17. I have a Black Country accent (Lower Gornal near Dudley) people often mistake me for a Brummie - errr NO!!!!

    I am proud of my heritage and my accent, shouldn't we all be?

    I have my telephone voice, of course, but even then my accent is still there! Then when I get with my family that's it my full Black Country starts - even my hubby who comes from another part of the Black Country can't understand my Gornal twang!!!

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  18. Ha I loved this and all the comments - I am originally from Farnham in Surrey, but from the poorer end! I studied in Manchester and my mix of friends from all over the country laughed at how I used to say "Laaaaannnnnndon" for London. I have lived in West Midlands for 23yrs and my children have a Birmingham accent. It is a sorry time when people are judged on their accents. Thanks for this. Jan x

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  19. Try being Australian!!!! Everyone thinks I dance on tables with my top off and drink beer! Ick! I HATE beer!

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  20. If a bloke has an Irish or Geordie accent, he immediately becomes 10-15% more attractive to me.

    I'm from Cumbria so my accent is sort of watered down Geordie with a hint of Welshy Scouse, it's mixing with Manchester's accent now as that's where I live and the result sounds a bit Yorkshire!

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  21. Interesting post, I don't judge people by their accents - although I know my northern accent has been pointed out many times since I moved down south four years ago. x

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