World’s Sexiest Accent

Budget Travel Online has released the results of its online poll about the sexiest accent and the winner is: British. Why do I suspect massive voter fraud by people named Nigel?

The poll clearly meant the sexiest accent in English. I would like to think that the sexiest accent overall is when Americans speak bad Spanish, although my own anecdotal observation suggests that the effect is more humorous than alluring.

But if we’re talking accents in English, what’s a real British accent? The British themselves can detect such subtle variations in their broad swath of speech patterns that they can nail down someone’s hometown, social class and educational level just from hearing him order fish and chips. Pah.

No, I have to go with Jamaican, which got only 2.1 percent of the vote in the poll. Oh, mon. Not fair. I just adore the soft, lilting sound of Jamaican English with that slight British edge. And it’s not just the accent; there’s an easy-going charm that often goes with it.

(A close second: the Nigerian accent adopted by the actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje  when he played Mr. Eko on the TV show Lost.  I discovered to my consternation that the actor was born in Britain and in real life has a very British accent. Pah again.)

But all this reminds me of a story – and what doesn’t?

I was walking between small villages in Costa Rica when I was greeted by a group of young girls who recognized me as a gringa and asked me to translate a phrase they had heard in English. What does it mean, they asked, when someone says "A Mahn."

Amen? I asked.

No, "”Ey Mon."

‘Ey Mon? …. Then I remembered that the Atlantic coast of Costa Rica has a large population of English-speaking people of Jamaican origin: "Hey, man."


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