New Zealand - the sexiest accent in the world.

Because I write our blogs and because I'm a Kiwi, modesty has prevented me from posting this item earlier. Here's why. BigSeven Travel recently commissioned a survey to identify the "sexiest accent in the world". While surveys of this type shouldn't be taken too seriously, much to the surprise of BigSeven Travel (and probably more of a surprise to New Zealanders), the winner was - New Zealand.

Here's what Cass Anderson, a writer for New York based BroBible made of this story.

"It never ceases to amaze me that we can speak the same English language here in Florida as someone in rural Louisiana, the Australian Outback, or Northern England and there’s a solid chance that none of us could understand each other despite speaking the exact same words.

It’s not exactly clear how we come to love certain accents but it’s definitely established that some are better than others. You won’t really find anyone on this planet that will tell you a Minnesota accent is better/sexier than an Irish, Italian, Dutch, or French accent.

It takes a lot of traveling and meeting people across the world before you realize that there are accents you truly love. For instance, I could legitimately listen to people from The Netherlands or Chile read the phonebook. And I much prefer the Brazilian dialects of Portuguese to people in Portugal actually speaking their eponymous language.

But all of this is anecdotal and I’m just listing my personal preferences. The website BigSevenTravel ran a global survey to determine what the sexiest accents in the world are and what they found is pretty intriguing. The highest-ranked American accent on the list is ‘South USA’ coming in at #9, sandwiched between Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese (I’m not alone!). The ‘NYC’ accent also cracked the top 50 and was ranked as the 44th sexiest accent in the world.

Here’s what the top 25 looks like:

25. Vietnamese
24. Mexican
23. Turkish
22. Arabic
21. Filipino
20. Zimbabwean
19. Argentine
18. Mancunian (Manchester, U.K.)
17. Jamaican
16. Danish
15. Ukrainian
14. Hungarian
13. Canadian
12. Queen’s English
11. Czech
10. Brazilian Portuguese
9. South—USA
8. Spanish
7. French
6. Scottish
5. Australian
4. Italian
3. Irish
2. South African
1. New Zealand (Kiwi)

Here’s the reason that New Zealand/Kiwi landed the #1 spot as the sexiest accent in the world: “To a novice ear, the New Zealand accent might sound just like the Australian accent, but Big 7 Travel readers disagree. The ‘Newzild’ dialect is outrageously charming. The sexiest accent in the world? It’s official.”

You can click here to check out the full top 50 list over on BigSevenTravel along with explanations of each accent and why they were determined to be ‘sexy’ in the survey."

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New Zealand singer Lorde 

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New Zealand rugby sports legend Dan Carter

However, this story doesn't end here, because as Quora correspondent Amanda Nally points out, New Zealand itself has more than one accent - Amanda lives at the most southern part of New Zealand, in a region with the rather drab name of Southland and home to some of the nicest people in the country.

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"New Zealanders speak very quickly writes Amanda, at an average of 180 words per minute. Americans are between 110 and 150 words per minute. Southland is the only part of New Zealand with a regional accent, the rolling of rs within a word … if you want to hear the accent at its best ask a Southlander to say the phrase: “Dirty Purple Work Shirt” .

It’s also quite contagious.

I was amused by the Southland accent when I moved here in the late 1980s, until at a dinner a couple of years later a guest from Wellington commented on my charming Southland accent. Who me?"

Fellow Southlander Lydia Jackson adds her own thoughts -

"I was born and raised in Southland and I would have to say the accent is definitely stronger in the rural areas than in the provincial capital of Invercargill. 

As others have mentioned it is presumed to have developed from the Scottish settlers accents. We do roll our R’s but not in all words, with an R more pronounced when followed by a vowel or at the end a word. For example, in ‘work’ a Southlander would say woRk whereas most Kiwi’s say woik and don’t pronounce the R at all. 

When I first moved to Wellington the locals would often ask me if I was American (my accent was very strong) but as time went on my accent softened. But it’s more likely to be a fellow Southlander hearing the sound of home than a local that would comment now (it’s only taken 15 years). 

When I return to Invercargill to visit family I get teased for my North Island accent (some words I slip between the two different accents depending on how they are being used in a sentence) but by the time I head back to the North Island, my Southland accent will be as thick as ever. In high school, we watched a documentary about the New Zealand accent for history and I have managed to find a link to it for anyone interested. https://www.nzonscreen.com/title... Personally, I find the whole thing fascinating and look forward to hearing how our accent might change over time, especially as the Māori language and New Zealand English overlap more and more".

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardhern

Finally, to hear the New Zealand accent in full flow, you can listen to this charming BBC interview of our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as she talks about politics and the birth of her newborn daughter. We're much prouder of that than any award!

Lindsay Barron

Lindsay Barron • May 21, 2019