Friday, October 10, 2008

Survey on Accents!

As a speech therapist, and the owner of Accent Master, watching the VP debates last week I kept thinking where did the g in Palin’s –ing go? Palin dropped everyone of those garsh – darn g’s. I knew I was on to something when Tina Fey drew attention to it in her recent SNL spoof of Palin.

To find out if this was something others had noticed, I surveyed 3,145 people to find out just that. What did they think of Palin’s accent? And not to pick on Sara Palin alone, what did they think of all of the candidates accents, and while I am at it, what do they think of accents overall?

Of the 62% that feel that Governor Palin has an accent the comments include that she “sounds uneducated” and “she sounds harsh”. Barak Obama comes in second with 34% reporting hearing an accent. Comments on Obama’s speech include “east coast educated” “adopted Chicago accent” and “inner city Chicago”. McCain comes in third with 19% of the voters  reporting that he sounds “southern” and that his accent is “more distracting”

According to this survey over 80% feel that accents definitely affect image. The comments imply that this can be good or bad for one’s image. If you have an accent that is in vogue at the time, then you may benefit. Certain regional accent such as a Bronx accents was deemed as “low class” while the southerners could be classified with such diverse comments as “friendly”,” open”, “slow” and “lazy”.

Foreign accents forced you according to the comments, to carry the entire image of your country with you, or at least the listener’s best guess as to which country you are from.
Some felt that foreign accents were interesting and gave them clout for being better traveled. Some respondents felt that if you were clear and could communicate well a slight accent made no difference. One commenter felt that “uniformity in presentation will cross hurdles of being pre-judged.”

In the end we are constantly making judgments about others, though it now is considered in poor taste to pre-judge someone on their appearance or speech, the truth is judging people by outward signs has historically been a way to keep ourselves safe. Obviously you want to keep an open mind, but instinctively we judge.

Lynn founder of Accent Master

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