I’ve often speculated why I am so drawn to anyone with an Irish accent, which has also lead me to question in turn why certain accents hold more appeal than others. Sadly, my beloved Brummy is not one held dear to many whilst there are not that many who dislike a good Welsh accent.
Why should an Irish accent hold more appeal than a Scouse one? Is it because of the particular emotions that the specific accent conveys? The Irish accent creates a sense of permanent jollity, the Welsh hopefulness, the Scottish irritation and the Scouse discontentment. To a listener, it would obviously be more pleasant to listen to an optimistic accent than an undesirable one.
This cannot purely be the reason though. It could be put down to the possible inherent musicality and tone of the native speaker, as it is often harmonious accents that are favoured above slightly more shrill ones.
Sadly, the reason I place the most significance behind though, is the intensely embedded stereotypes that we have of different accents. Naturally an accent that comes with the stereotype of a jolly, friendly person is going to be more favourable than a miserable, shrill one. These stereotypes are so deeply set that upon the first few words a person speaks, we judge them. We attempt to ascertain their wealth, their outlook and even their personality.
It is a shame that accents cannot be purely regional dialects that are pleasant to hear for a change, but have to carry both good and bad connotations.