Some thoughts on (sexy) accents

I’m a sucker for accents. I really am.

I didn’t realize how much I love accents until I landed myself in a college in rural Pennsylvania – a college full of predominantly white, middle-to-upper class students.

It’s difficult to explain why college was such a hard time for me, but I think part of it stems from the fact that I went to three different high schools on three different continents. Or that my parents have lived in Ghana on and off (mostly on) for the last ten years and my husband and my favorite hobby is traveling.

One of the (many) reasons I had such a hard time in college was because that college was one of the least international places I have ever lived. I was surrounded by swarms of people who looked just like me (white) but who I had virtually nothing in common with.

My husband was a breath of fresh air – something so comfortably different. I felt like I could finally be myself again. I clung to him as hard as I could and lucky for me, he clung right back.

Looking back, our relationship might not have been the healthiest relationship in the world, but then again, what college relationships are? We’ve managed to work past (most of) that and have grown a lot. Yay for us.

Moving on – accents.

Accents are sexy.

It’s funny, though, because when I’ve mentioned in passing that I am very, very attracted to accents, the typical response is:

“I know! British/French/Spanish accents are so yummie! I love [insert European actor].”

Which usually turns into a conversation about which actors with yummie accents we all want to date (because we’re women and apparently we’re all walking stereotypes).

This is where it gets kind of weird.

When someone inevitably asks what accent I’d want to date, I point out that I am (in fact) married to someone with a sexy accent.

Clue blank look. And then a slow, dawning realization. 

Yes.

My husband has an accent.

It’s a Japanese accent.

A lot of people discount Japanese accents because when someone was designing the ‘blueprint for what accents are considered sexy,’ Japanese (or Asian, Indian, African, etc) accents somehow didn’t make the list.

 

I think that’s a shame.

I find my husband’s accent sexy – but I know that I’m in the vast minority who do.

There isn’t really a point to this post, to be honest, except to point out the unconscious bias we all have about accents. I thought I was going to come up with some sort of brilliant epiphany while I was writing, but I didn’t. Sorry. Not sorry. Please put your own brilliant epiphany and/or thoughts in the comments section!

About Grace Buchele Mineta

I got into the writing business by accident. Now I live in the countryside near Tokyo with my husband, Ryosuke, where I draw comics, blog, and make videos about our daily life. Contact: Website | More Posts

38 Comments on Some thoughts on (sexy) accents

  1. My brilliant epiphany is: everyone is different! Everyone’s tastes and perceptions are different, and that’s what makes this world so amazing (and volatile). Differences make us awesome, but some people don’t understand that other people don’t see everything the same way as they do.

  2. Fake Linguist // 23 December, 2015 at 1:09 pm //

    Probably linguistic proximity gives rise to “accent sexiness”. Romance and Germanic languages are so close together – when Europeans speak English it sounds just wrong enough to be curious. I don’t know why you like Japanese accents – a language very distant from English. You’re unique.

  3. Yeah, I’m the walking stereotype, I love me a Spanish accent…but I also married my stereotype. My husband is Bolivian. Does this get me half points? We just love the accents of the one we love?

  4. Anonymous // 6 December, 2015 at 2:52 am //

    I’m a guy (I don’t know if that matters) but I find French, Spanish and Indian accents sexy

  5. I think Japanese accents are very ugly sounding, but I think the way that Japanese (along with many other non-native speakers of all nationalities) speak (word choice) is absolutely adorable.

  6. I wouldn’t say accents are sexy, so much as interesting. They make me want to talk with the person and find out more about them. Sexy… probably showing my age, the actor Ken Watanabe.
    I’d say my daughter’s college experience was completely different. She went to college in TX and met people from all over the US and the world.

  7. My boyfriend is Irish. I absolutely adore his accent.

    I’m from Philly. He adores my accent. I sometimes wonder how, especially since the Philly/Mid-Atlantic accent isn’t necessarily considered “sexy” or even pleasant. But I suppose that’s all in the ears of the beholder. :)

  8. I was born in Arizona and spent my teen/young adult years in Texas(until a few months ago) and never really thought I had any kind of accent other than a couple of word picked up from my mother’s side of the family who live in the deep south.
    I move to Florida with my fiancee and now I get all kinds of hell for it. Our roommate is a linguist so the two of them like to team up and inform me that my mouth words are funny/wrong.
    At the same time it works to my advantage since I work in retail and the town we live in is a huge place for tourists/vacations since. People just seem to gravitate more to those with some kind of noticeable accent.

  9. I think the thing for accents is mainly among English speakers. You don’t usually hear a German saying they love the Polish accent, a Chinese saying they love the Korean accent, or even a Northern Indian saying they love the Southern Indian accent.

  10. Rank me in with the minority because I love Asian accents. Then again, I am myself a TCK, and grew up in Korea so I am just a tad bit bias.

  11. Ah, I find my husband’s accent both adorable and sexy! I must be the minority, because most accents I am quite fond of.

  12. Gosh, I haven’t thought about accents in forever–being from the Midwest, I never knew I had an accent until I had roommates in Italy from all over the US (studying abroad years ago). Since I’m from a more urban part, it isn’t that distinct, but they would elaborate words on how Mid-westerners apparently speak. I learned a lot about how people hear things that semester. xD

    Funnily enough, yesterday I was daydreaming of an encounter with a British boy in Venice (same semester) and how we somehow got talking. Unfortunately, I got super nervous and overcrowded the conversation. I have flashbacks of this every once in a while filled with regret that I didn’t let him speak so I could have his accent in my memory…

    Personally, on accents, I certainly am attracted to them, but a lot of the time I’m focusing on the words so I can understand the person. Especially if the person is a non-native speaker, I don’t want to misinterpret them.

  13. Some people say I don’t have an accent, but of course I do (everyone does).
    It just isn’t one of the stereotypical accents most people have been conditioned to recognize. Mine is a combination of urban Dallas and Far South Texas (the places I grew up and still live in), with a smattering of European and Latin American languages sprinkled in (long story there).
    Not only do I have an accent; I’ve propagated it. My ESOL students tended to come out sounding somewhat like me. ;-p

  14. Of course Japanese accents are sexy! Why not?
    And bythe way, so are all the other kinds of accents.

  15. Living abroad and working with folks from around the world I’ve gotten used to “accents” and don’t really find them interesting anymore. Everyone has one, haha. The person is key. Also voice quality. A sexy voice sounds sexy in any accent!

  16. My favorite accents on the “sexy” scale are usually Korean and Japanese at the top, followed by British. When someone asks me why I love the Japanese language so much (cue long list of stereotypes of how Asian languages “sound”), I tell them the taste of the language in my mouth is better than what I’d expect the best wine to be. Weird, okay, I know, but I’ve given up other explanations and at least it’s concise. Accents are hot, but so are languages.

    I have the bizarre ability to mimic most accents. Unfortunately this is not a talent I can call on at will. (Oh man, how I wish it were.) I have to be around someone with a strong accent and I will begin to adapt my speech to fit theirs. This includes not only accent, but pauses in speech, grammar…. One of these days I’m going to do it around the wrong person and horribly offend them and I will never have meant to do so. Just like I can’t call on random accents at will, I usually can’t stop myself from altering my own speech to more closely fit the accent I’m conversing with either.

  17. I have a weird feeling about accents . . . I’d be lying if I said there weren’t some accents I find attractive, but when I get into those conversations about “sexy” accents I almost feel like we’re glorifying how someone says something at the expense of what they say. Does that make sense? Maybe my opinion is skewed because growing up I was always asked “where are you from?” and “Where’d you get that accent?!” even though I was born here in California and lived here my whole life. I’m not sure why everyone seemed to think I had an accent as a teenager, but it was always a weird conversation to have.

  18. Ryosuke’s accent is super cute!

    I love accents, especially Asian and African accents that, as you pointed out Grace, somehow never get considered. I have a Spanish accent and my best friend is from Nigeria and I just adore listening to her speak!

    As a Linguist, a very sad thing I’ve noticed in my field working with ESL students is that there is this mentality in America of needing to lose the accent. It comes with the whole linguistic assimilation process. I wish more people were accepting and mindful of non-tradtionally heard accents, as you are Grace!

  19. I like all accents because they witness the person is currently speaking a language that is not their first language and I appreciate the effort and the willpower they have to do so. Learning languages is not an easy thing.

  20. I’m a southern American girl with an English husband. When we visit the US, people SWARM to hear him talk. It’s pretty funny. My grandmother had dementia for years before she died. She slowly forgot who people in her close family were, but always remembered “That smooth-talkin’ feller who used to call the house.” ;)

    I think Japanese accents can be sexy, especially if the person speaks really good English. Total katakana-ized pronunciation is not sexy to me, but an accent like your husbands, or, say, Jun from Rachel and Jun, is quite lovely, I think.

  21. I also find accents sexy/ cute. but i’m not sure which.
    I like French people to speak French, lol.
    I like Ryosuke’s accent when he speaks English. and i like to hear him talk in a cute voice.

    People’s voices/ accents add a lot to their attractiveness, even if ‘attractiveness/ sexyness is in the eye of the beholder’, lol.

  22. Oftentimes the accent is in the ear of the listener. When I moved to Calif from the Midwestern USA people commented on my having an accent. I was shocked because I never thought of myself as having one. I gradually lost it over the next few years.

    When my wife and I were traveling in New Zealand, local people would ask me where I was from. I realized after a few days that it was ME who had the accent! Ie, THAT was why they’d ask me where I was from……

  23. I’m italian and I know that lot of people hates italian -english accent, but I’d like to let them know that it depends on the area (from north to south the difference is huge). However..I had a beautiful love story with a japanese boy (in Tokyo) and I thought that his english japanese accent was great but when he tried to speak italian his accent was sooo difficult to hear (cos it was absolutely no sexy at all).
    So.. I think that accents are sexy in general.. But at the end it depends on which kind of languages you are trying to speak..it’s a so complicated post Grace! Ahhaha

  24. I’m french (yay for french accent!) So can’t really judge accent when people talk english, because even if I hear the differences I’m not fluent.
    But I can talk about accent when foreigner speak french. I find the brittish accent super cute and sexy. I love hear my japanese teacher speak french because it’s a hard langage for a japanese and I like to hear all her efforts to speak and pronunce some words (like the words with r and l in it): and she speaks really well!
    In fact, I think I find cute all the accents because people bring with them the richness of their own langage and their culture. It’s always kinda sexy for me.

    And what about the accents in your own country? You’re from texas, how do you find accent from the north or east or west?

  25. Bren Shuler // 29 November, 2015 at 5:12 pm //

    Having grown up in Maine, having studied German, and having lived 20+ years in Japan I have to pick just one that is the sexiest?! I’ve played soccer with, known, or worked with people from France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Egypt, Sudan, Tunisia, Algeria, Brazil (now there’s a great accent!), Peru, Chile, Mexico, Japan, Korea, and the Philippines to name just a handful. My favorite though has to be a Canadian accent with a tinge of French-Canadian patois.

  26. That’s a good point though. Most people do find European accents sexy but Asian accents funny or unattractive. I personally think (East) Asian accents are cute :) But I kind of come under the stereotypical American group who don’t really like South Asian accents. lol funny because I live with my Pakistani husband in Pakistan and everyone here has a thick accent when they speak English! My husband though has a perfect American accent that he learned in school here, even though no one else has a good American accent. That and he lived in the UK for 10 years and still has a perfect American accent! Bizarre, but fortunate for me I guess lol

  27. I don’t ever really consider ‘sexy’ when I hear an accent. I’ve heard several kinds. I had a coworker from Ukraine, and another from Kenya. Both women. I just thought the Kenyan girl was adorable! I loved hearing her speak because she had a very happy voice. And the Ukrainian girl always sounded interested and engaged when she spoke with you.
    Accents interest me. To hear it and know that someone has learned a second language to come and work in your country, it’s impressive! And often adorable, too!

  28. When it comes to women, I find Australian accents VERY sexy!

    Then of course, women from Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas and the like, have very sexy accents, too!

  29. While I do find almost all accents attractive, a woman who has a sophisticated manner of expression is sexiest of all!

  30. I see what you mean. And while I am probably the foulest shade of biased, I do also think (my) Ryosuke has a sexy accent for how Well he speaks English. Though few and far between, he has mastered a really good pronounciation of the English language and when he does speak it I find it utterly appealing.

    Not a fan of ALL accents–a fair most, but really really particularly, my man’s accent. ;D

  31. You’re not alone. I find Asian accents to be sexy too. Especially Japanese and Korean. Some Chinese and Filipino accents as well. ^^

  32. I’m biased too, in that I find Asian accents sexy. Specifically, Japanese and Korean. More importantly though…I just love hearing those languages more than hearing them speak in English. I wish my boyfriend would just tell me a story in Japanese about anything like how his day was or something, but he doesn’t talk much. Instead, he says he likes hearing me talk more. Its hard when both of us aren’t big talkers and we just want to hear the other person’s voice. Anyway…sorry for the little tangent. (ALSO, SO happy I got to meet you guys today. To my surprise, I was a little star-struck when it came my turn to go up to the table. I wanted to say so much more, but my body is weird.)

  33. You are not alone. I find Asian accents very attractive. I honestly have no idea WHY, but I do haha.

  34. I do enjoy listening to Japanese women talking, especially when they are in ‘super cute’ mode.

  35. Yes!

  36. Very lovely, thank you very much for sharing your story Grace.

  37. Missy Pratt // 29 November, 2015 at 10:43 am //

    After living in TX for 20some years, I’ve gotten a fairly strong accent, although I don’t think about it most of the time. My last job entailed me talking to people all over the US and at military bases around the world, and I’d get told “You have such a pretty accent”, while I’m thinking the same thing about them.

  38. I will just have you know that I am also a part of the minority that thinks Japanese (and some other non-European accents) is sexy. I actually think it is sexier than some European accents to be quite honest. *High-five*

Comments are closed.

error: Content belongs to Texan in Tokyo