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Last Updated: Monday, 17 January, 2005, 14:27 GMT
Connery's accent is UK favourite
Sir Sean Connery
Sean Connery's accent was a favourite with those surveyed
Sean Connery's Scottish lilt is the nation's favourite accent, a survey of people for a BBC project suggests.

Sir Sean and the broadcasters Sir Trevor McDonald and Terry Wogan have the most pleasant voices, according to 5,000 people questioned.

It is part of a project to create an online "accent map" of the UK.

The least popular accents were those from Birmingham, Liverpool and Glasgow and the most unpopular voice was that of DUP leader Ian Paisley.

The Queen and Scottish comedian Billy Connolly appeared in both the 10 most and 10 least pleasant lists.

MOST POPULAR
Sean Connery
Trevor McDonald
Terry Wogan
Hugh Grant
Moira Stuart

The survey also found 59% of people wished they could change their accent - mostly to "standard English", although people from Northern Ireland and Scotland were most proud of their accents.

Clive Upton, a linguistics expert from Leeds University, who will analyse the information, said: "The so-called 'Celtic fringe' accents are very often favoured as long as they are not very strong."

But he said it was important for a lot of people to have a range of accents for different circumstances.

LEAST POPULAR
Ian Paisley
Billy Connolly
Cilla Black
Paul O'Grady/Lily Savage
Jasper Carrott

Dr Upton said he hoped the project would show the variety of words and accents used across the UK - not just the traditional regional dialects.

The BBC Voices project is recording interviews with 1,000 people from around the UK and is inviting others to participate through its website.

The project's director Mick Ord said there had not been a "mapping" project for at least 30 years, so information about regional accents and dialects was out of date.

"The poll...shows people are still quite willing to judge people on their accents, even though they are less inclined to judge them on looks than they used to be," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Dermot Murnaghan will talk live to different speech communities in Word 4 Word, on BBC Radio 4, from 0900 to 0945 GMT on Wednesday 19 January.




SEE ALSO:
Scots stand proud in accents poll
17 Jan 05 |  Scotland
Website aims to preserve accents
13 Feb 04 |  Cornwall


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