Why Americans fall head-over-heels for foreign accents

Hundreds of ethnicities prowl our halls. Although many natives of Utah claim a lack of culture, it is unquestionable that our campus is a sea of diversities. Along with the spectrum of different backgrounds and languages come hundreds of different accents. Though most foreign students are unaware of the ‘sexy factor’ of their accents, they can be sure, whether they are a young Russian female or a strapping lad from Belgium, that once they open their mouths, heads will turn.

Now, it is ridiculous to believe that the way you pronounce the word “tomato” can turn someone on. Yet, according to acclaimed writer Kathryn Williams, that’s exactly right. In her excerpt, “Oui, Y’all: Why Accents Are So Attractive,” she clearly outlines why humans (specifically Americans) view accents as such a ‘turn-on.’

“A lot of it,” Williams writes, “has to do with exoticism. We’re intrigued by that which is different from ourselves, charmed by the unfamiliar.”

Although this seemingly knowledgeable writer provides a good answer, this fails to answer why we find some accents attractive and others irritating. She replies to this by stating the following:

“The media, in all its forms, plays a large role in creating these accent associations. … South Africans, you can thank Leonardo DiCaprio for Blood Diamond. Spaniards, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz will gladly accept your gratitude for making Spain even sexier. Germans, you can thank Heidi Klum’s stunning face and figure for putting Germany on the map for something other than luxury cars. Bostonians, Matt Damon is accepting thank you notes for Will Hunting. Matthew McConaughey… well, he didn’t even have to talk to give Southern men a good name.”

There you have it ladies and gents: accents are primarily sexy when linked to an attractive person. Your subconscious links the brunette Spanish girl in your biology class to Penelope Cruz, and by the time your palms are sweating… Well, it’s just too late.

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