Use Your Sexy Voice. No, the Other One.

Can we talk about this??

Does anyone else have a thing for accents? (I have a visceral reaction to British accents, and it’s something I talk about OFTEN online. I just can’t help it, people).

I’m actually fascinated by the way people’s perceptions of a person are altered and/or influenced by the way that person speaks.

When I first started vlogging with the YA Rebels, several people told me they were surprised to hear I had an American accent instead of a British one (my mum is British, and apparently I *type* in a way that suggests a British accent? I don’t know.

ANYWAY. Do accents alter your opinions and/or attractions to people?

My favorite example: Vampire Bill Compton (True Blood) vs. Stephen Moyer, the actor who plays him.

I have NO attraction to Bill Compton (I’m an Eric Northman fan) but when I saw the interviews and heard him use his normal accent, my knees went a little weak. What is this, I thought. HOW can my opinion of someone be changed simply by the tone and cadence of their voice?

Am I alone? Am I crazy? (That second question is rhetorical, so please don’t feel the need to answer. Most of the internet knows I’m a *little* mad, but mad people are the most interesting, I’ve been told). Does anyone else have a visceral reaction to accents, positive or negative?

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36 thoughts on “Use Your Sexy Voice. No, the Other One.

  1. >_> <__>

    You are not alone.

    *HIDE*

    <_<

  2. You are completely not alone. SO NOT ALONE.

    But I’m an equal opportunity UK Accent fangirl. Mmmm… Irish… .

    • veschwab says:

      Mmmm, don’t even get me started on Scottish, either.

      And I totally agree with your remark on Twitter about how familiarity with an accent also alters our perceptions. I’m predisposed to enjoy the cadence of the British accent.

  3. I totally agree. I hate his accent in the show, but love his real one. The one on the show grates on my nerves… and creeps me out for some reason.

    • veschwab says:

      Agreed! I can’t stand Bill Compton’s accent, and hadn’t heard Stephen Moyer’s until one of these interviews and my jaw dropped. Such a different presence and vibe, all because of an accent.

  4. Kristin says:

    I only first saw a clip of True Blood yesterday for the first time. I wasn’t at all impressed. And I’m not attracted to the actor, either, buuuuuuuttt . . . om nom nom nom that accent is nice. *is COMPLETE accent girl* Oh, yummers. So, yes, an accent is, like, +15 points on the attractiveness scale.

    • veschwab says:

      Hahahahaha I actually resisted mentioning my points scale but YES. Many times I have remarked to friends how heavily weighted a good accent is πŸ™‚

      And re: the show. It took me 3-4 episodes to get into, but I definitely enjoy it. But I’ve NEVER enjoyed Bill Compton.

  5. Annika says:

    If you want to see him playing a vampire with his real accent, and have your mind blown by excellent vampire television at the same time, get your hands on Ultraviolet. (Obviously not the crap Milla Jovovich movie.)

  6. Laurie Lamb says:

    You are not alone. I love British accents. Unfortunately, my husband, Clive, lost his before he was ten. Sometimes he puts on an accent but he says he can’t talk like that for long. Why, oh, why not?!

    I also have a thing for British names. My sons are called Nigel and Giles.

  7. Kathleen says:

    I go weak in the knees for most UK accents. Welsh, in particular.

    For some reason, my voice sounds very different on the phone or on radio than it does in person. I have no clue why this would be, but I’ve had enough people comment on it that I assume it’s true.

    • veschwab says:

      My favorite of them is Scottish, but any UK accent merits some serious points πŸ™‚

      I think we all sound different over media and than live! One of the frustrations of technology, I suppose.

  8. Julia Karr says:

    Accents – oh yes – anything UK *swoons* – and there are a few others that make me weak in the knees, too. Also – some that totally turn me off (but I won’t mention those.)

    • veschwab says:

      Agreed. Most American accents actually do nothing for me, or turn me off. One of the many reasons I’m moving to the UK late this year/early next :p

    • This is so true. I won’t mention mine either, but there are accents that are instant turn offs. Whether that’s because of mean people I’ve known who had those accents, or because of something else, I can’t say. (Well, I CAN, but I most likely SHOULDN’T.) πŸ˜‰

  9. Elen says:

    Answer: Oh, yeah. Affirmative. But right now, I can’t stop thinking about the Margaret Thatcher comment. lol Fun post.

    • veschwab says:

      Glad you like! And really, what is it about these accents that makes them so swoony? I don’t know, but I like it.

  10. UK or Aussie – I’m hooked. I have the exact same reaction as you – unattractive becomes tantalizing when they speak with a yummy accent. weird, but true.

    My 14 yo daughter and I have talked about this and wondered what people with British (or other) accents think of American accents. What do they sound like to them?

    • veschwab says:

      Have you heard Simon Baker’s real accent? He’s on The Mentalist, and he’s one of the FEW I find terribly attractive with an American OR and Aussie accent, but oh my.

      Also, TOTALLY with you on how an otherwise unattractive person suddenly becomes appealing with an accent. Odd how much impact it has for some of us!

      I’ve heard that British guys like girls with American accents, but that might be 1. Love Actually, and 2. the fact it’s simply different from what they’re used to.

  11. krista says:

    British and Austrailian accents totally do it for me. I mean, the guy could not be that attractive, but if he starts talking, I might go, “Oh, hello!”

    And like I said on Twitter, I HATE the way Stephen does his Southern accent…he says “Sookeh”, and it’s like nails on a chalkboard. I get very irrate over bad Southern accents.

    Cool post!!! πŸ™‚

    • veschwab says:

      British, Scottish, Irish, Australian, all = YES. And I love that you have almost the EXACT same answer as Kiki above. Collective conscious, I tell you!!

      And man I hate his Southern accent.

  12. Kait Nolan says:

    No no, you are NOT crazy! Accents are sexy! My husband does a perfect Scot :swoon: I am also fond of Latin accents, Irish, English…um…most anything but American, actually.

    • veschwab says:

      Accents are a fraction (I won’t admit to the exact percentage) of the reason I’m planning to move to the UK.

      And fwiw, the American accent is the only one that does NOTHING for me.

  13. SM Schmidt says:

    Between the dulcet nature of a British accent and amusing expressions like chuffed, why didn’t the British Empire take over the entire world again? I’d just wish there could be more British actors using their natural accents on tv rather than pulling from their charm and having them do American ones.

    • veschwab says:

      Seriously. And articulation is so sexy.

      I too wish that British/Aussie actors would hold on to their natural voices! We don’t need them to be American to relate (or at least WE don’t).

  14. Jim Hutchins says:

    I wanted to cheer you on, Victoria, if you decide to do your thesis on this. It might be interesting, depending on what sort of spin you want to put on it.

    When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail; when you are a neuroscientist, everything looks like a neurological problem:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_accent_syndrome

    I have been told by Australian women that my American accent is “sexy”. I find that hard to believe. My speaking voice is pretty much flat Midwestern, but with a little bit of vowel softening from my early days as a West Texan.

    I don’t mind saying which accents bug me. Certain Georgia and Carolina accents are like nails on a chalkboard to me. For example, Holly Hunter or Emily Procter — like them both as actresses, can’t stand to hear them speak. You’re in Nashvegas, so you’ll understand that certain backwoods Tennessee accents are pretty hard to take as well. I’m not real fond of Longuyland or Boston accents, either.

    One perplexing thing about the accent Stephen Moyer is trying to affect is that a true New Orleans accent sounds a lot like a Brooklyn accent. I saw this on a linguistic map and didn’t believe it until we moved to Mississippi and spent a lot of time with native New Orleanians.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yat_dialect

    • veschwab says:

      Haha, I don’t actually think I can do a thesis on this, since I’m not in school at present, but I do find it fascinating. And then someone else brought up the issue of familiarity (my mum’s British, so I have a natural affection for the cadence) and how that impacts…

  15. Helen says:

    Stephen Moyer’s actual accent is amazing. I have the same reaction to Hugh Laurie–even though I know he’s British, I’m always shocked when he actually speaks with it. πŸ˜€

    (Randomly, how I hear my accent is completely different to how it sounds. I’m always flummoxed by how I sound whenever I hear my voice mail as I have an Irish accent, just not the one I think I do. Also, apparently it’s very region-neutral, too, until I talk to my family on the phone and the Cork tint comes right back. πŸ™‚

    • veschwab says:

      Isn’t it fabulous?? His, and Hugh Laurie’s, and Simon Baker’s all astonish me. It’s like this wonderful treat every time they revert to their normal accents.

      I’m also fascinated by accents within countries. I have a harder time picking apart regions in Ireland and Scotland (I can do England fairly well) yet I can diagnose nearly EVERY American accent (and boy are there a ton of them). And I’m the same, I wonder if everyone is, when it comes to the tone of their own voice and its inability to be reproduced the way we hear it in our head.

  16. Generally speaking, I would agree with you — British accents and Australian accents are more attractive. But to use a counter-example, I watched Hugh Laurie act with his natural British accent for years and never found him attractive at all — until he started playing Dr. House with that low, gravelly American accent and then BOY HOWDY. Mind you, I think the five o’clock shadow (which I am also normally meh on) also does wonders for Hugh Laurie’s jawline and cheekbones, so it could be the combination of the two…

    • veschwab says:

      Oh, oh, GOOD counter-example. I think it’s a big-picture thing, the accent doesn’t operate outside the character. I find Simon Baker’s character perfect even without his Aussie accent. But I adore the CHARACTER, the whole persona. With Stephen Moyer, I DON’T like his character at all, so the shift in accent makes a great deal of difference.

  17. Alexa says:

    I completely agree about Hugh Laurie being sexy when American. Although he has aged really well. He was nowhere near that good looking in Blackadder!

    I also love David Tennant’s accent when he plays Dr Who, although his real voice is nice too.

    As a Brit in the US I personally swoon whenever I hear a certain Southern accent. Although it is the only accent I can really pick out in America, everyone else just sounds American to me πŸ™‚

  18. Jessica Byam says:

    I wholeheartedly agree. I met a guy once who I was not initially attracted to, but then he started talking in his native Scottish brogue and I was in love by the end of the night.

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