Cunning Linguists and Mother Tongues: Hot Accented English
By Alexa Day
More than money, more than power, more than almost anything else a man has – an accent has the power to draw women like a magnet. The only thing hotter than the sound of accented English might be the magic of foreign language itself. But why does it work so well? I’ve got a couple of theories.
It forces you to focus on his mouth. Tight Teutonic sibilance, the languid flow of French, lush, lip-curling Jamaican ease, they each make a man’s mouth work a little differently. More proof that diversity is sexy, right?
It takes a smart man to speak your language. If he doesn’t share your mother tongue, he had to have learned it somewhere. If he hasn’t conquered it yet, he’s bringing it to heel. Maybe he fought the crazy ins and outs of the English language (especially American English, which is not terribly logical). In any case, it takes a smart cookie to who know your language well enough to be understood, even with his accent.
It’s a doorway to another world. The man with an accent has something to teach us – if we stick with him, we might get a language lesson or two. Sure, if we apply ourselves, we can learn the traditional way, with instructors and memorization and all that, but my guess is that our multilingual man can teach us the words that don’t show up on the exam.
The power of the accent might be why Sleepy Hollow is working while Dracula circles the drain. I know I’m not the only one tuning in just to hear Tom Mison’s Ichabod Crane say “leftenant.” Poor Ichabod is a classic fish out of water, 250 years away from everything he knows, but that smooth, British sound makes him even more vulnerable because it makes home seem even farther away. Dracula lost me as soon as he started speaking. He might have had all the power of the undead on his side, along with the long, ruthless history of an ancient warrior prince. He moved like the legendary lover and predator he was supposed to be. But Jonathan Rhys Myers sounded like he played beach volleyball for a living. Beach volleyball doesn’t scare me. Much.
Am I just a sucker for that exotic sound? (I will admit that I’ve set the voice on my GPS so that it sounds like an Australian man.) And does my American accent set foreign hearts aflutter? Would it help if I said I was from the South? Share your thoughts on international intrigue in the comments.
And follow Lady Smut. We deal with a couple of international languages here.