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Revealed: the UK city with the least respected accent

A new survey has ranked British voices according to how prestigious people find them

Ella Doyle
Written by
Ella Doyle

We’re lovers of all accents here at Time Out. But sometimes, you just can’t argue with the data – and some new research has revealed that one accent is actually the ‘least respected’ in the whole of the UK. Ouch. 

The research was published by education charity The Sutton Trust, and has found that ‘pervasive accent bias’ is alive and well in the UK, which is apparently a big barrier for social mobility. And the least respected? The Birmingham accent. 

The study surveyed a bunch of sixth-formers, university students and professionals for a report named ‘Speaking Up: Accents and Social Mobility’. It produced a ranking of different accents in order of how prestigious they were perceived.

Accents from England’s industrial cities like Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham ranked lowest, along with minority ethnic accents. On the flip side, French-accented English, Scottish, American and Southern Irish accents were considered prestigious, and ranked highly. 

The report concluded: ‘At all life stages, respondents from lower social grades report significantly more mocking or singling out of accent in workplace and social settings.’ It also found that attitudes towards certain accents (and associated stereotypes) have remained ‘largely unchanged’ over time. So, it looks like the UK has work to do. Fight those stereotypes, people. 

ICYMI: an effigy of Liz Truss (complete with lettuce) will go up in flames this Bonfire Night.

Plus: this small UK city has been named one of the world’s top travel destinations.

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