American Accents Are Perceived to Be The Most 'Uneducated' Abroad, New Study Finds

Eric Todisco

Could your accent be holding you back when you travel internationally?

According to Travel and Leisure, a new study by language-learning app Babbel, along with Dr. Alex Baratta, a lecture in language, linguistics and communications at the University of Manchester, asked participants about their perceptions of others based on accents.

7,500 people in the U.S, U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland, and Canada were all interviewed about foreign speakers in their county, as well as their own fears when speaking in a foreign language.

Americans ranked as the most worried about how their accent is perceived. 54 percent of them said they feel anxious about the accent in a foreign country, while 34 percent said they wish to get rid of their accent when communicating in a different language.

American accents were considered to be “friendly” by 34 percent of non-U.S. participants, “straightforward” by 27 percent, and “assertive” by 20 percent. Canadians were the majority of those that found American accents to be “assertive,” while Italians were the majority to find the accent “funny.”

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However, American accents were also found to be the most “uneducated” by 16 percent of overall participants. Russian accents were regarded as the most “unfriendly” (18 percent), and German and Russian accents tied for most “harsh” (38 percent).

On the flip side, American voters rated French accents as the “sexiest” (40 percent), Italian as the most “passionate” (40 percent), Caribbean accents as the most “friendly” (37 percent) and British accents as the most “sophisticated” (44 percent.)

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Results from the study also showed that female respondents (42 percent) and younger respondents (47 percent) believe they have more anxiety than the global average (38 percent).

But luckily for American and British citizens, they were found to be most likely to overcome the anxiety they have when speaking in a foreign language.