It’s ok to admit it- we have all been there before. Regardless of the location or situation, you are introduced to someone foreign, and for some inexplicable reason, you are drawn to them. Try as you might to bend the laws of logic to explain why you are attracted to them, it’s hopeless and you should just confess: you are attracted to their accent. Originally, the word accent comes to us from Latin via French: accentus, meaning “tone or song of speech,” became the French acent, which arrived in the English language in the 14th century.
While the word “accent” can seem rather pedestrian, it may hold a high value for Brits travelling overseas. After conducting a poll of 11,000 people in 24 cities globally, The Time Out Global Dating Survey has found that, by a significant margin, the British accent is the world’s most attractive. Not only did more than 1 in 4 people prefer the British accent, but the oft-considered swoon-worthy language of love, French, was only capable of 5th place. Occupying places 2-4 were American, Irish, and Australian accents- apparently there’s also something to be said about all native English speakers.
The first documented use of the word accent comes from the 1596 play “The Raigne of Edward III,” where a character speaks “With epithets and accents of the Scot.” Though additionally mentioned by Shakespeare in As You Like It, perhaps the best explanatory usage comes from Joseph Addison’s The Spectator in 1711, where he writes, “The Tone, or (as the French call it) the Accent of every Nation in their ordinary Speech, is altogether different from that of every other People… By the Tone or Accent, I do not mean the Pronunciation of each particular Word, but the Sound of the whole Sentence.” Considering the accent study mentioned above, perhaps the most appropriate usage comes from Anna Masterton Buchan, who wrote under the name “O. Douglas,” in her 1917 novel, The Setons, writing that, “Mr. Christie called you a ‘gentlemanly fellow’, and Mrs. Christie said, speaking for herself, she had no objection to the Cockney accent, she rather liked it!” Obviously accent matters, but it will only take us so far: though the British accent is king, London- the indisputable capital of the English language- ranks 6th in the “best dating scene” category- 5 places behind Paris.