Sunday, December 16, 2007

Local Accents

More than half of British parents discourage their children from speaking with their local accent for fear of harming their life chances, according to a survey.

The research showed 51% actively discouraged their youngsters from using an accent while 33% encouraged them to speak "the Queen's English".

The firm Combined Insurance asked a sample of more than 2,300 parents about the importance of keeping local accents and how this impacts on the community.

The respondents were asked whether they would encourage their children to speak with their region's local accent and what impact they thought this would have on their child's future.

They also indicated which accent they would most like their child to speak with.

One in five (20%) parents were worried their children might find it harder to get a well-paid job if they spoke in their local accent and more than one in six (17%) thought their child would be perceived to have a lower level of intelligence.

Almost one in 10 (8%) feared local accents would mean they would not be taken seriously in life.

Among the regional findings of the survey were that 27% of parents living in the West Country were worried their child might be teased and bullied in their future job for having a local accent and 26% thought their child might be considered to be not very bright.

And 14% of parents living in the Midlands believe their child might not be taken seriously in life because of their accent.

Across the UK, the Birmingham accent was the one parents would least like their child to use. In Birmingham, only 8% of parents said they would encourage their children to use the local accent.

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