A recent study by Sitel, which surveyed more than 2,000 people across the UK, found that the Geordie accent is not only the friendliest in the UK but also the most likely to put you in a good mood.
This comes as a bit of a surprise to me. Not because the Tyneside accent isn’t pleasant and friendly, it is, but rather because it’s sometimes difficult to understand. Cheryl Cole experienced this last year when American TV bosses raised concerns that US viewers would not be able to understand her on the stateside version of X Factor.
Our telephone answering service is based in Bristol. However, due to the cosmopolitan nature of the city, our call handling agents have a broad mix of accents, ages, sex and race. As mentioned in a previous blog, what is important to us is the ability to speak clearly, professionally and have a broad understanding of the English language.
The Times reported in January that Britain’s regional accents are not only surviving, but are tightening their grip. Geordie, Scouse, Mancunian and Brummie inflections are becoming more distinct and dominant because they are one of the few remaining badges of identity against the homogenising effects of modernity.
“People want to protect their identity,” said Dominic Watt, a lecturer in forensic speech science at York University. “You could be parachuted into pretty much any British city and the shops look the same, people dress the same and have similar pastimes and interests. What still makes these places separate and distinct is the dialect and accent.”
People with regional accents, like Cheryl Cole, are proud of their local ‘twangs’ and feel that its part of who they are.
So should we be encouraging accents in our regional neighbours to instil a sense of belonging or toning down our accents of origin so that everyone is fully understandable? As another famous Geordie on Big Brother often exclaims – “YOU DECIDE!”
by Steve West
Marketing & Business Development Manager