EastEnders accents deemed ‘less intelligent and trustworthy’, new study finds
The THICK Queen! EastEnders accents deemed ‘less intelligent and trustworthy’, new study finds
- Research at the University of Essex has found working-class accents deemed less intelligent, friendly or trustworthy after playing music videos to 200 people
- Accents including Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Surrey, parts of London and Essex were played, all saying the same phrase
- Ethnic minorities were judged to be less intelligent than whites on the basis of accent
Essex and London accents tied to popular programs like EastEnders and TOWIE are often seen as less intelligent and less trustworthy, according to a new study.
Researchers at the University of Essex found that working-class accents are deemed less intelligent, friendly, or trustworthy by playing nearly 200 young people from the South East 10-second clips of others from the region .
Eastern accents found to be less intelligent and less reliable according to research
Accents including Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Surrey, parts of London and Essex were played, all saying the same phrase.
A clip featured Dr. Amanda Cole, a postdoctoral researcher in the university’s language and linguistics department.
Despite her credentials and being the person behind the whole project, most of those who listened to her felt that she was less intelligent than the other voices they heard.
Working-class accents were also rated less intelligent, friendly and trustworthy than middle-class people, and people from ethnic minorities were rated less intelligent than white people based on their accent, according to the ‘study.
Working-class accents were also rated less intelligent, friendly and trustworthy than middle-class people according to the University of Essex study.
East End and Essex accents are most often linked to shows such as EastEnders
“When we hear someone speak, we very quickly pass judgment on them and group them into categories,” Dr Cole told the BBC.
“There was this effect of self-prejudice, in which working class people judged other working class people to be less intelligent.
“The same self-biased effect was found for people from an ethnic minority background; they also judged other people from an ethnic minority as less intelligent than white speakers.
“The self-bias effect shows how pervasive and entrenched accent bias is.
Gemma Collins (pictured) best known for her work on TOWIE has an eastern accent
“We live in a vicious cycle in which the most privileged speak with the most esteemed accent – and therefore are deemed to be the most competent and intelligent, which helps them maintain their privilege.
“This way of thinking is so pervasive that it remains totally unchallenged.”
In 2019, the Essex accent was voted sexist in the UK, with Birmingham ranking at the bottom of the charts as the least sexy dialect of the British Isles.
A 2020 poll found that the taste for British dialects had shifted again, with the outgoing Yorkshire accent leading the way.
Despite his research, Dr Cole wants to make sure that the diversity of accents remains in the UK.
“We are all diverse and we need diversity in accents,” she said. “No one should feel like they have to give up their accent to get along better in life.”