- Overall, American accents are the most annoying with men being turned off after 1 minute and 26 seconds on average and 1min and 17 secs for women
- Kiwi accent in women is top 3 the most annoying, whilst Welsh is the third most annoying accents in men
- The Australian accent is fourth most annoying in women and one of the least annoying accents in men
- Irish accent in women (4min 32 secs) and Scottish accent in men (4min 35 secs) are the least annoying English accents
When it comes to online dating in lockdown, the only interaction we have with our match is limited to phone and video calls, making their voice one of the main criteria for attraction. But when it comes to accents, which are the most annoying ones to listen to?
To explore, experts at TheKnowledgeAcademy.com asked 250 singletons to listen to 5 minutes of the same narrative recorded by distinct English-speaking natives. Based on the average duration volunteers listened for before switching off, they can reveal the English accents that people find the most annoying.
WHICH ARE THE MOST ANNOYING ENGLISH ACCENTS IN WOMEN?
The United States tops the list as the country with the most annoying English accent in women. American ladies’ tongue was the one that volunteers listened to for the shortest time: an average of 1 minute and 26 seconds out of 5 minutes.
South African ranks second. From the 5 minutes volunteers were asked to listen to, they only made it to an average of 1 minute and 44 seconds. Following in third is New Zealand, with women’s kiwi accent being listened to for an average of 3 minutes and 12 seconds.
The two least annoying English accents in women are from Northern Ireland (4 minutes 2 seconds) and Ireland (4 minutes and 32 seconds). According to language specialist Yelena McCafferty, “Northern Ireland and Ireland are both musical nations so perhaps it’s the musicality of their intonations that is so endearing to others”.
WHICH ARE THE MOST ANNOYING ENGLISH ACCENTS IN MEN?
It seems that it’s not only the American accent in women that is annoying but men too: The United States also claims first place as the most annoying male English accent with an average listening time of 1 minute and 17 seconds out of 5 minutes (9 seconds less than American women).
Often compared to American, Canadian accents in men were found to be the second most annoying to volunteers, as they could listen to it for only an average of 1 minute and 42 seconds. Welsh men’s accent makes the top 3, with an average of 2 minutes and 11 seconds.
The least annoying accent is Scottish, with volunteers listening to the craggy, yet heart-warming tongue from the Highlands for an average of 4 minutes and 35 seconds.
WHY DO SOME ACCENTS SOUND ANNOYING TO SOME PEOPLE AND ATTRACTIVE TO OTHERS?
Language specialist Yelena McCafferty explains:
“Our reaction to accents says more about us than about the accents themselves. People are attracted to accents which sound familiar and it’s only natural that we tend to trust somebody who speaks like us. It makes us think that the person is from our own community, which is important for us on the subconscious level.
When we hear someone for the first time, we make assumptions because it’s our survival instinct: we need to see who is our friend and who is our foe based on comparisons to ourselves or someone we know. When Meghan Markle married Prince Harry, some speech experts said she started sounding more British, but once the Duchess of Sussex moved back to the US, we could certainly hear her low-pitched Californian accent again.”