08 February 2006

Hear Four Sets of Anglospheric Accents

The University of Otago has mounted online samples of male and female speakers of four sample accents of English: New Zealand female and male, Australian female and male, North American female and male, and English female and male.

Part of their experiment involved asking people from other nations to evaluate the personality traits of the speakers along several dimensions based solely on their accents. The results are often surprising.

UPDATE: It's interesting that, in virtually every country, the North American accents rank most highly in the categories of solidarity (especially the female) and often competence, but much lower in the categories of status and power. The North American accents are American, not Canadian, but very few of the evaluators are likely to have been able to tell the difference. If you want to sharpen your ear for American-Canadian differences, just listen to the Winter Olympics coverage on NBC. There seem to be several Canadian-American pairs of announcers.

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