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Southern Drawl Ranked Most Attractive Accent

Cowboy
Cowboy holding gloves leaning on wooden fence | Image by Steve Smith/Getty Images

Americans are most attracted to the quintessential Southern drawl, while the distinct Texas twang placed fourth overall, according to a new study conducted by PennStakes, a sports betting platform.

The study was conducted using online social media research, combining instances of comments about a particular accent with a variety of search terms, including “sexy” and “attractive,” along with “naughty,” “sensual,” and “suggestive.”

Arguably, the South is a big place with many regional dialects, but classic movies like Gone with the Wind have helped create a certain mystique that people likely find comforting.

PennStakes’ top five most attractive accents were the Southern accent, the New York accent, the California accent, the Texas twang, and the Boston accent.

The study by PennStakes is backed up by a previous study conducted in 2018 by Babble that found the Deep South accent to be the most attractive to Europeans. TODAY reported that the study asked hostel staffers which accents they found most attractive. In both studies, the Southern and New York accents came in as the top two.

Babble reported that the Boston accent slightly edged out the California accent, which was ranked at No.3 by PennStakes, who placed the Boston accent below the Texas drawl. Both studies found these accents to be the top five regional accents in the nation.

ESL, a group that facilitates foreign studies for American students, writes that our beliefs about people from various locals inform our opinion of their accents.

“The stereotypes of the passionate Latin lover, the rational Germanic professor and the British charmer/supervillain are commonplace in Western culture, probably informing our own, internal prototypes,” ESL wrote. “So we find certain accents more attractive because of what we associate with the culture behind that particular accent.”

ESL adds that accents that differ from those an individual encounters frequently tend to be alluring because of an evolutionary component based on diversity.

“Anyone who has traveled will know that simply being foreign makes you an object of interest in many places,” ESL wrote. “If you are heard speaking with a different accent in a social setting, it is not unusual for someone to introduce themselves and ask where you are from.”

According to research conducted by Brigham Young University, Accent Prestige theory posits that people draw inferences about a person’s characteristics based on his accent.

The research by BYU had limitations as the sample size was small, and the purpose was to gauge the intelligence, attractiveness, and trustworthiness of people with standard American, British, Middle Eastern, and Latin American accents. The findings drew interesting conclusions about Americans’ views of foreigners. Results were more positive for foreign speakers than the researchers had predicted.

Many researchers are examining whether regional accents in the U.S. are fading into a general American accent typified by news anchors and actors. A University of Texas at Austin study found that in 1980, 80% of students at the school had a distinct Texas twang, using words like “y’all” and pronouncing “pen” and “pin” as “pin.” By 2013, the number of students speaking with a distinct Texas accent had sharply declined to about 33%.

The study identifies pop culture and an influx of new residents from other parts of the country as the reasons for the shift. As previously reported by The Dallas Express, Californians have been moving to Texas in droves, likely diluting the traditional regional accent further.

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