Brummies get no respect at all…

A study into people’s perceptions of English dialect speakers has shown that some dialects seem to make the speaker sound more intelligent than others. (Now everybody in the Southern US or in Germany’s Saxony go tell me about it.)

But you know things are really bad for you if your accent can’t even outdo silence on the intelligence scale. Especially if you call Birmingham your home you get the short end of the stick…

Silence could well be golden for ambitious Brummies, after research found people with the distinctive nasal Birmingham accent were seen as stupid while those with a Yorkshire twang were considered clever.

The study into dialect and perceived intelligence found that people who said nothing at all were regarded as more intelligent than those with a Brummie accent.

This is despite a general trend in which regional dialects have become more respectable. The Yorkshire accent is rated as the most intelligent-sounding, beating received pronunciation, the accent of royalty and public school alumni, for the first time.

The biggest surprise the study has produced is that RP (received pronunciation, or The Queen’s English) rates even slightly lower than the Yorkshire accent.

The average intelligence ratings given by the study participants, out of 10, were: Yorkshire: 6.71; RP: 6.67; silence: 5.99; and Birmingham: 5.6.

Read the full article in the Guardian.

And now a few examples, taken from IDEA, the University of Kansas International Dialects of English Archive.

White female, born 1912, raised Greetland, West Yorkshire. Details.

White male, twenties, born Grimsby, raised Darlington. Details.

And now for a Brummy speaker:

White female, domestic worker, born 1947, lifelong resident of Gaydon, Warwickshire, a few miles from Birmingham. Details.

But let’s just make one thing clear:

Birmingham’s not shit.



Filed under utterings, [andbehold]

3 responses to “Brummies get no respect at all…

  1. whoa… somebody’s putting in some work on the layout etc… not too terrible, actually…

  2. eardrummer

    i dig the new theme, too.

    honestly, listening to those sound files, i find the birmingham woman’s accent doesn’t make her sound stupid at all. she is just stupid; can’t even read the word “administered.” if somebody with the same accent were actually able to read, i’d probably consider the accent a better one than the other two.

    actually, the most intelligent ones were the copyright announcers at the very beginning. that was RP, wasn’t it?

  3. andbehold

    the announcers were very RP, I’d say. and non-fluent reading is probably another factor in the perception of somebody’s intelligence. which is why newsanchors have teleprompters and get to rehearse their bits beforehand…

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