A recent survey which asked people to listen to over one hundred different accents reading from the same script has found that Essex and London accents are deemed less intelligent.
The study surveyed attitudes among young adults aged 18 to 32 towards accents across the south east of England where about 200 listeners from a variety of backgrounds were played 10-second clips of speakers reading the same script from across the region, including Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Surrey, various parts of London and, of course, Essex.
People from Essex and London were judged to be less intelligent than people from other areas together with people who are working class from across all of south east England, who were judged to be less intelligent, friendly and trustworthy than middle class people, while people from an ethnic minority were judged less intelligent than white people based only on their accent.
I have to wonder how the participants could tell the difference between a working class and a middle class accent when they were not familiar with the sound of that Counties accent, is it just a case of dropping H’s etc, can you just tell from just listening?
This seems a very strange survey to me and I’m wondering what constituted an Essex accent or a London accent, for whilst there is a clearly defined Essex Cockney style accent, it is completely different from an Essex rural accent and there is no such thing as a London accent as London is so multicultural and the traditional London accent of the real Cockney’s has all but disappeared.
It seems to me that the most prevalent accent in London now is what is called the Multicultural London accent, where the voice is projected from the front of the mouth and emphasises any word ending in “ility” and is a dreadful sound.
I used to have a wonderful public school accent which I toned down when I moved to Essex and everyone said, “you ain’t harf posh,” leaving me now with a strange middle class accent with an Essex twang, if only I hadn’t been swayed by peer pressure.
Assuming the London accent they are referring to is the London Multicultural accent which has become quite prevalent on television for voice overs and advertisements perhaps we will be hearing less of this accent in the future if the advertisers think it sounds less intelligent and I for one will be delighted about that.