Press Release: Ee Bah Gum! They're Clever Clogs In Yorkshire
Having a Yorkshire accent can make you sound more intelligent than a Brummie - or even someone who talks posh.
That's the conclusion of a study by Dr Lance Workman, a psychologist from Bath Spa University. He found that a Yorkshire accent can have a positive effect on how clever you appear to other people - whereas speaking with a Birmingham accent can have a negative effect.
Dr Workman is presenting his findings to the British Psychological Society's Annual Conference in Dublin.
The UK has a wonderful variety of regional accents, but the Queen's English has traditionally been seen as the best and most desirable, especially if you want to be respected. To test this view, Dr Workman arranged for 48 people to take part in the Bath Spa study. They were asked to look at photos of female models while listening to a recording of women with different accents.
They were played examples of women speaking the Queen's English, in a Yorkshire accent and in a Birmingham accent. Participants were also shown the same pictures in silence, with no voice to accompany them. They were then asked which of the models they found the most intelligent.
The women associated with a Yorkshire accent were rated highest for intelligence. Unfortunately, the women with a Brummie accent were seen as less intelligent than any of the others, even those paired with silence.
Dr Workman said: "It appears that having some regional accents doesn't quite have the stigma that it had in the past. Certain regional accents are now perceived to have wisdom.
"Perhaps this is an effect of the fact that mainstream television and radio is no longer mainly populated with those speaking the Queen's English, and this has made regional accents more acceptable. Unfortunately, though, the Birmingham accent was received so negatively that our participants preferred the models who did not speak at all!"
Issued 04 April 2008.