The sexiest European accent, in my honest and well-honed opinion, is British, followed by Irish, followed by French, followed by Spanish, followed by Danish, followed by Greek, followed by Italian, followed by German, followed by some indeterminate accents my ignorant ears can't place yet. American twang just can't compare to the lilting music from across the pond, but Europeans have their own preferences, and they've picked a favorite regional accent here — apparently, Europeans find Southern accents to be the sexiest.
Indeed, language-learning app Babbel partnered with European hostel-booking site Generator Hostels to see which American dialects most appealed to them. Linguistics asked European hostel workers from 43 countries to poll the following accents: Bostonian, Deep South, Midwestern, Minnesotan, New Yorker, Southern Californian and Texan. Here's how they ranked:
- Deep South (20 percent)
- New Yorker (18 percent)
- Bostonian (17 percent)
- Southern Californian (16 percent)
- Texan (14 percent)
- Midwestern (10 percent)
- Minnesotan (5 percent)
As a native New Yawker, I'm impressed my home dialect ranked so high on the list, though I don't actually have much accent (my sister, on the other hand, says "Yeeeeah" and "cawfee" like a character on The Nanny). In fact, according to Babbel, the French and Italians find New York accents the most attractive, with 57 percent of French hostel workers polled ranking New York first. Tragically, Swedes ranked New York accents last, so I suppose I will not end up married in Stockholm.
Meanwhile, Babbel says Swedes prefer the Southern Californian accent by 50 percent, as do my beloved Brits (30 percent), which means I'm going to have to start punctuating all my sentences with the word "like," and frequently refer to "catching some sick waves" (I assume that is something Californians do). The Bostonian accent, on the other hand, got high marks from the Germans (30 percent), Spaniards (27 percent) and the Dutch (26 percent). Germans found Midwestern accents the least sexy.
Aside from the Swedes and Germans, most of the polled Europeans found the Minnesotan accent the least sexy, which is interesting, since Minnesotans sound a bit Scandinavian to my obviously untrained ears. Perhaps we dislike what we're closest to? On the other hand, only the Irish ranked the Deep South accent number one (30 percent), though apparently it culled enough mention from the other nationalities that it made it all the way to the top altogether.
Of course, while it might seem like Alabamans have the best chance of hooking up with a hot European on a backpacking adventure, accents are a fairly small slice of overall attraction, and as Babbel points out, you're more likely to snag a vacation hottie by, say, speaking your host country's language, or inviting a hostel crush out for a romantique wine dinner and plate of escargot.
As for the accents American women prefer, it turns out I'm not alone in swooning over a good Londoner — last spring, a survey from dating site Miss Travel revealed the majority of my fellow countrywomen go wild for British accents, while American men preferred Israeli accents (not European, but still). Meanwhile, a Plenty of Fish study found American women were into men who spoke German as a second language, while American men liked women who spoke Dutch as a second language; and a British Airways study found Brits actually preferred New York accents (SUCCESS!!).
And it turns out it's not just Europeans who find Southern accents to be sexy. A dating website called Cupid recently surveyed 2000 Americans to find 45 percent of men and 28 percent of women liked Southern accents best, so it turns out we all have something in common, no matter what continent we hail from.