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U.S. adults like British accents, not NYC

ROCHESTER, N.Y., Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Half of U.S. adults say those with a British accent are sophisticated and half say those with Big Apple accents are rude, a survey indicates.

A Harris Poll of 2,331 U.S. adults conducted Dec. 6-13 by Harris Interactive indicates 49 percent attribute an air of sophistication to anyone sounding British and 51 percent say a New York accent implies the speaker is rude.

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Likewise, the survey found 49 percent of those polled say speakers with a Southern accent are nice, 40 percent say those with a Midwestern accent are nice, almost 20 percent say those with a British accent or New England accent are nice, but only 7 percent say speakers with a New York City accent are nice.

Although some deny speaking with a regional accent, survey respondents award accents from their own area more positive descriptions and fewer negative ones. For example, 59 percent of Southerners think people with Southern accents are nice and 45 percent say they are honest more than those from the West (42 percent and 28 percent), East (44 percent and 29 percent) and Midwest (45 percent and 31 percent).

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The pattern continues as Midwesterners see those with a Midwest accent as well-educated, intelligent, nice and honest more frequently than they do adults from the East, South or West.

Americans cheerleading for their own regional accents may impact job prospects. If four equally qualified applicants for a certain job were only differentiated by their regional accent, 39 percent say they job would get the job, versus 63 percent of Midwesterners.

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