The Sexiest Accent in the World?

Everyone has their own preference when it comes to their favorite accents, but it’s widely recognized that they can be a serious aphrodisiac when it comes to love. While there is much disagreement about what makes an accent attractive, a recent survey by the language learning app Babbel (www.babbel.com) has found that there is one accent that is considered seriously sexy worldwide: the French accent.

Babbel surveyed over 15,000 people and found that the French accent is the most attractive accent according to users all over the world. In fact, the only people who disagreed were Spanish users and the French themselves, who confessed to finding the Italian accent most appealing.

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The top 10 ranking is as follows:

The World’s* Sexiest Accents

1. French

2. Italian

3. Spanish

4. English

5. German

6. Portuguese

7. Swedish

8. Russian

9. Dutch (tied)

10. Turkish (tied)

*It should be noted that this survey was comprised of users from Brazil, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Australia.

Given that attractiveness of an accent is considered to be a personal preference, why is it that the French accent is seen so unanimously as ‘sexy’? Katja Wilde, Head of Didactics at Babbel, explores some of the reasons why this accent might be so popular when it comes to attraction.*It should be noted that this survey was comprised of users from Brazil, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Australia.

Viewed as ‘the language of love’

With a rich history of romantic literature and a reputation for beautiful poetry and art, the French language has long been synonymous with love. A survey by Google Translate even found that French was the most popular language used to translate romantic expressions, with ‘je t’aime’ (‘I love you’) and ‘mon amour’ (‘my love’), among the most requested translations in French.

It’s the French people, not the accent

Some argue that while we think it is the accent we are attracted to, it is actually the speaker, or at least the idea of the speaker, that makes the accent more attractive. France has long been associated with glamour, with Paris not only recognized as the ‘City of Love’, but also one of the fashion capitals of the world. The French are typically seen as stylish and glamorous, and as a result it’s not hard to see why we find them so sexy.

Familiarity of the accent

Some believe that the attractiveness of the French language to English speakers stems from the familiarity of the accent. Linguist, Dr Patti Adnank, at University College London (UCL), believes that English speakers are drawn to the melody of the French language because they recognize the tones and sounds as similar to their own native tongue. In comparison, Adnank argues, ‘languages such as Thai or Mandarin can sound harsh because they are using tonal distinctions’.

Home to the ‘City of Love’

Paris, the capital of France is widely considered to be the most romantic city in the world. The iconic Eiffel Tower, is the site of many marriage proposals and with sweeping views of the city in the day and sparkling lights in the evening, it is not surprising why so many couples choose this exact spot. Alongside incredible galleries and historic sites, vintage boutiques and old-world bistros are scattered around the city, making it easy to see how France’s capital gained its long stead reputation as the ‘City of Love’.

The accent indicates our desired body type

Research by the University of London (UCL), found that the factors that determine an attractive accent are closely connected with perceived body size. The most attractive voice for a woman was found to have a high-pitched, breathy quality, closely associated with the woman having a small body, making her attractive but not threatening. In contrast, male voices were found to be most attractive when deep and husky, indicating that the speaker was large but not aggressive. Interestingly, the French accent mimics many of these qualities, with many of the consonants, when pronounced correctly, sounding husky and breathy, which, if believed, consequently attracts us to the accent and speaker.

The Babbel app for web, iOS and Android makes it easy to learn 14 different languages from 7 display languages. Bite-sized lessons fit into everyday life and are split into useful real-world topics, from introducing oneself, to ordering food and making travel arrangements. The app’s effective game mechanics ensure that learners stay motivated to achieve their goals, with the average user continuing to learn with Babbel for more than 12 months. Uniquely, every course is created specifically for each language pair by a team of education experts, linguists and language teachers.

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