Personally, I have a weakness for the French accent. There’s something about it that really gets me – whether the Frenchman is speaking in his native tongue or in English.

The Japanese, however, prefer the Glaswegian accent, according to new research. A survey by Northumbria University revealed that Japanese people learning English rate the accent tops in terms of social attractiveness.

Participants listened to six different accents and then rated them on a range of personality traits. The accents were from Alabama and Ohio (American), Glaswegian, Scottish standard English, moderately-accented Japanese English and heavily-accented Japanese English. Robert McKenzie, senior lecturer in sociolinguistics at Northumbria said:

“It seems to be that globalisation, and especially the resultant worldwide spread of English-language media, are influencing non-native perceptions of the qualities associated with various forms of spoken English.

“Of course, the findings do not mean that speakers of the Glasgow or Alabama vernaculars are necessarily any more socially attractive or less fluent than speakers of other English varieties.

“It is interesting, however, that English learners from a country as different as Japan should demonstrate such high levels of awareness of variations within the English language.” (Source: Press Association)

I’ve often found that people outside of the UK are unaware of the wide range of dialects we host, so this is heartening research. What’s your favourite accent?