[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 17 January, 2005, 11:33 GMT
Welsh proud of 'unpopular' accent
Could the sound coming out of your mouth hurt your career?
Welsh accents are among the least popular in the UK, according to a BBC poll.

Many who took part in the survey believed that having a Welsh accent could hinder a career.

But the online survey ahead of the BBC's Voices project found that people in Wales were proud of the way they spoke.

A total of 5,000 people across the UK were questioned on their attitudes to accents and dialects.

The survey was commissioned the BBC's Voices initiative, which will see 1,000 people interviewed and recorded.

Material gathered will help create an online interactive dialect map of the British Isles.

In Wales, 56% of respondents said they were proud of their accents, more than the figure for the UK as a whole.

Some 24% felt they never needed to change their accents no matter who they were talking to.


People in Wales chose Welshmen Richard Burton and Huw Edwards in their top three of celebrities with the most pleasant voices.

The rest of the UK voted for Sir Sean Connery, Terry Wogan, Hugh Grant and Moira Stuart.

However, people outside Wales preferred to hear an Australian or French person speaking English rather than a Welsh person.

Welsh accents are rated low on a list in terms of pleasantness and prestige, behind Northern Irish, Cornish, and Australian.

People from Swansea may be disturbed to find they are in the bottom 10 for accents in terms of helping a career - but Cardiff folk ranked only a few places higher.

Welsh people said they would pick a Welsh accent to listen to over every other except a "standard" English accent.

This Have Your Say is now closed. We asked for your comments and publish a balance view of your responses below:

Lilting, melodious, captivating are all phrases used to describe my accent, which has never failed to come through for me wherever I've been. I'm extremely proud of the way I speak and the the country from which my accent derives
Geraint Flowers, Neath South wales

I am VERY PROUD of my WELSH accent.
Denise Carroll, WALES

I grew up in north Wales, and was always told by my Welsh parents to try and sound more English than Welsh as people would think that you were unintelligent if you had a Welsh accent.
David Hughes, Charleston, USA

I was shocked that the Welsh accent is so unpopular. I am very proud to be Welsh and of my accent.
Hayle , Abergwynfi, Wales

I love the southern Welsh accent, I think it's one of the most delightful accents ever. I come from the east coast of Scotland and close to Dundee where our accent has to be one of the worst ever, Just hearing a fellow Dundonian abroad with "eh Ken" makes me cringe.
Kevin, Carnoustie, Scotland

I grew up in north Wales, and was always told by my Welsh parents to try and sound more English than Welsh as people would think that you were unintelligent if you had a Welsh accent. Needless to say I tried my best to sound Welsh despite that archaic attitude.
Dave Hughes, Charleston, USA

Grammatically correct English allows the diversity and , sometimes, the beauty of our regional Welsh accents to be enjoyed. Bad English however destroys any charm that any particular accent conveys. Generally though the pleasanter accents tend to be rural rather than those of the larger towns and peoples' perceptions of a person's character are influenced by the type and thickness of an accent. The solution would seem to be for Welsh people to just lighten the accent and speak English better than the English.
AJ Evans, Brecon, Wales

I have backpacked and travelled all over the world (apart from S. America), and without doubt the best thing that I take with me is my west Walian accent. It's always a conversation starter, and opens doors for friendships and kind assistance. It's clearly understood everywhere I've been to, apart from southern England amazingly! In fact, whether it is down to pronunciation of letters, but my Welsh accent was clearer to understand in parts of Europe than my friends' English ones.
David, Carmarthen, Wales

Grating!! I just can't listen to someone with a broad Welsh accent. It is so sing-songy. I would rather listen to a good broad Geordie any day!!
Jessica, oxford, uk

One of the things that made me choose to do my university degree in Wales was the amazing accent!
Leanne, Llantwit Fardre, South Wales

We need to change people's perception of our country not our accent
Rhodri, Brussels

The findings that a Welsh accent is unpopular is just more typical Cymrophobia on the part of the majority of English. I know of people working in London who have been told their "communication skills" (ie accent) let them down. For any other ethnic group, this sort of discrimation would not be tolerated. The Welsh should be proud of their accent but even better would be for us all to speak the Welsh language instead.
Tim, London, England

There is nothing intrinsically good or bad about any accent. If we like or dislike an accent depends on our view of the place we associate the accent with. If people react negatively towards the Welsh accent then that is because they have a negative view of Wales. This is the worrying lesson to be learnt here. We need to change people's perception of our country not our accent.
Rhodri, Brussels

I like the Welsh accent, the stronger the better. But on TV it does sound strange!

Accents which render speech unintelligible are a totally different matter from accents, from wherever, which give colour and freshness to speech. Clarity is or should be the important critirion. Prejudice still exists in some walks of life but this is much less than it was 50 years ago. I'm a Yorkshireman who has not lost his regional tones but my french speech is considered attractive - there is something to be said for colour.
John Brailsford, France

I am originally from Dinas Powys near Cardiff and now living in Houston Texas. And people love my welsh accent and I have never found my accent to stop me in my career if anything it has helped me.As for Swansea accent my wife is from Swansea so best say that i love it to keep the peace the sofa quite hard
Joseba Prendergast, Houston Texas

Luv my Welsh accent and people abroad luv it too but it does hinder a career in England especially in London area.
Frances, Swansea/London

Best accent in Great Britain. Much less irritating than most local accents throughout England and even the plum in the mouth of the royalty.
Michael Hughes, Stroudsburg, Pa, USA
Heavy accents such as with Huw Edwards should only be used for regional TV. Regional accents are most distracting and a sad indictment to modern broadcasting philosophy
Wyn Davies, Vermont

The soft lilt of the Northern Welsh accent is refreshing and a delight to listen to.
John Roberts, Capel, West Australia

Nationwide news should be spoken with received pronunciation. Heavy accents such as with Huw Edwards should only be used for regional TV. Regional accents are most distracting and a sad indictment to modern broadcasting philosophy.
Wyn Davies, Rutland, Vermont USA

Thirty years ago when I moved to London from Cardiff to attend university, one of my professors said he couldn;t understand a word I was saying due to my broad Welsh accent and that I had better modify it if I intended to stay in his tutorials (for the same reason, he apparently couldn't read my handwriting either). Most of the students in my college were from the home counties with rather posh accents and I developed a bit of an inferiority complex over my accent. Consequently I tried to speak in a more English way so that today most people think I come from the West Country. Nowadays I am proud to be Welsh and try to modify the Englishness in my accent! However it is easy to see how this original rather racist view at my university resulted in a lack of confidence in my accent which I now totally regret. I am very pleased to hear that the tide is beginning to turn and Welsh people now have more confidence and pride in their mother tongue.
Katherine Gethin, London

I do actually find the Welsh accent a bit dire. But my girlfriend (who is born and bred Welsh) completely hates it and has made herself talk with a different accent. She says the accent makes people sound stupid, which I am inclined to agree with.
Philip Norton, Aberystwyth

How can people not love a Welsh accent?
Nicky Churcher, Winchester

I like the majority of Welsh accents, but why whenever there is a person interviewed on television from Wales do they appear to be the one with the broadest Welsh accent. Where I live in Bridgend I believe we have a soft tone whereas Cardiff accents tend to be harsher.
Lindsay Thomas, Bridgend, Wales

I don't understand how people can say they do not like the Welsh accent. It is far nicer to listen to than any other (non-Celtic) accent.
Kevin, Manchester, England

Accents vary according to the region in the whole of the United Kingdom so it is wrong to lump all Welsh accents together. I believe Huw Edwards has a perfect accent. I agree that the French accent is lovely to listen but am amazed that anyone would choose Australian!
Vee Darlington, London, England

Being Norwegian myself, I have lived in Cardiff for over a year and I find the Welsh accent full of character. It's easy to recognize and quite amusing. I think the Welsh people should be proud of their accent, as it is a product of Welsh culture and history.
Trude Fossum, Cardiff, South Glamorgan

Welsh people are known to 'sing' when we talk and it is beautiful to hear, but I will agree that it is the 'slang' expressions that bring the side down. I HATE to hear " I do do it like this" It's the words, not the accent, that get the Welsh into trouble. However, after twenty years away I still have my Welsh accent and I'm frequently told to slow down when talking to friends! Oh, and I love the word 'Twp', it says it all.... I use it to describe Bush.
Jan Cordani, Maryland USA

There is an enormous difference between a Huw Edwards/Anthony Hopkins accent and a raw Port Talbot/Neath/Swansea accent - when I first left West Glamorgan (for University in England) I had to dramatically soften my accent simply so people could understand me - no matter where they were from. Now many years later I too have a lot of trouble understanding my native accent. This isn't localised to Wales however, many Scots, Newcastle, Liverpool and Birmingham accents are impossible to decipher if you aren't familiar with them.
Paul, UK

My personal opinion is that the Welsh accent is absolutely atrocious.
Mandy Thomas, Pontypool, Wales

I love the Welsh accent, not only is it soothing but it's got more character than any other British accent
Samantha, London

I think that the accent in the Gwendraeth Valley is awesome! (But i am a little bit biased!) it's more subtle and less harsh than somewhere like Swansea. the north Welsh accent really irritates me, though!
Rosie, Carmarthen, Wales
Like most English accents, the Welsh one is about as interesting as the people that speak it
Dave, Glasgow

Having spent two years of my life in Britain - mostly in South Wales - I have come to love Welsh accents. I think the Welsh have a very melodic way of speaking, and the more west or north you go, the more melodic it becomes. I think it sounds charming, and cannot understand those Welsh who seem to be ashamed of their accent. I hope they read this, and reconsider their attitude...
Coenraad Heijdemann, Wamel, the Netherlands

If I could choose an accent it would be the one I've got. True, there are some awful Welsh accents, just as there awful accents anywhere, but on balance, a reasonably educated person with a South Wales accent must rank as amongst the most pleasant accents of the UK. There's nothing wrong with the accents of any other part of Wales but I'm a Glamogan man so more used to the south. Cymru am byth!
Mike Gee, Rhoose, Wales

Some Welsh accents are lyrical and wonderful to listen to. Then there are the 'street' style accents of cities like Swansea and Cardiff which can really grate. I suppose they are a blend of wenglish and americana / rap influences which can on the one hand be entertaining, on the other irritating and annoying. It's all part of the rich tapestry of Wales.
Phil, Carmarthenshire

I have never found that my Welsh accent is a hindrance. In fact I have received compliments on it all over the world
Steve, USA

I say Jonathan Pryce has the most lovely voice of all our actors, Welsh is he not?
Amy, Dundee Scotland

Some Welsh accents, eg Carmarthenshire, Cardiganshire are a pleasure to listen to. Others not so good eg Kinnock, and some north Wales accents.
Lloyd, Newport

I cannot see how a Welsh accent can be labelled as one for the whole of wales. The south, north and west Wales accents are as different as Newcastle, Cornwall and Birmingham. Too many people confuse the Welsh as all having a accent which is the same.
Justin O'Connor, Cardigan

The Welsh accent varies, the north is different from the south, Cardiff different from the Valleys. But the overall winner of best Welsh accent has to be the Aberdare accent- so fluid yet direct. Yes, as you can tell that's where i'm from, I am.
Jon, Cardiff

I moved to Peterborough with work over 20 years ago, and I am pleased to say I still have my valleys accent. It has never hindered my promotion prospects, and is a lot easier to understand than some of the English accents I have worked with over the past years!
Alan, Peterborough

Diversity in accents is good, imagine a country all sounding like Hugh Grant. Horrific!
Stuart, Newport

The Welsh accent and language is a part of Wales' heritage that they should be proud of. The accent in Aberystwyth is particulalrly sexy!
Wirral, UK

As well as a multitude of regional dialects in spoken Welsh, there is a distinctive north/south divide when Welsh people speak English, too. Most non-Welsh people seem to think of "the Welsh accent" as the south Wales accent. This accent seems to be more prevalent in the media and it is the one most imitated when sending up the Welsh. And we don't say "boyo" up north, either!
Gwen, north Wales

Our accent has been the brunt of many jokes and jibes over the years and I personally am fed up with it. I have lived in London for over 14 years and when I go home to Swansea, they say I sound like a "Londoner" which I find amusing. I holiday in Anglesey and North Wales most years and have alway found the accent warm and friendly, just like the people.
Geoff Barber, Harlow Essex

I was born and brought up in London with my London father and Welsh mother. Prehaps for that reason, I have never found the Welsh accent unpleasant. I did notice however that our Welsh relatives had a stronger accent than my mother. I agree with the Welsh people in your survey in that the Welsh people and people from other parts of the country should be proud of the way they speak. For the listener, it is good to be able to tell where someone comes from without having to ask. This must be something fairly unique to the UK. I do however think that the way we speak could damage cereer prospects, In my own case, if I am honest, my accent was cockney and I made a conscious effort in my teenage years to "neutralize" it. I don't find the cockney way of speaking very nice.
Teresa Francou, Grenoble France

It really depends where in Wales the accent comes from. West Wales has the nicest whereas south Wales accents can be grating.
Barry, Cardiff

The Welsh accent is awful, beaten only by the Black Country accent. Remember the old joke - How can you tell when an aeroplane has arrived from Cardiff? The whining continues even after the engines have been switched off!!
Ricardo, London

They say we have bad accents and yet you have the cockney accent and the accent of people from liverpool, they are the absolute worst
James Phillips, Cardiff, Wales

Like most English accents, the Welsh one is about as interesting as the people that speak it.
Dave , Glasgow Scotland

We all know the Welsh accent is the best in the world. Living across the border for the past 22 years, my accent is as strong now as the day I left and it hasn't hindered me in any way, in fact it's done me proud
Steve Evans, WALES

I doubt that many English people can tell the difference between a Swansea accent and a Cardiff accent even though they are not similar at all. Welsh accents are great, ranging from a mid Wales valley farmer's soft lilt to the smile-inducing cadence of a Canton outburst.
Mary-Jane Taylor, London

Everybody who meets me in the US loves my accents. The ladies especially like it.
Garry Thomas, south wales 38 years. Now USA

I recall working next to a lady (and) even when she was telling off late payers it still sounded like a gently bubbling stream
Ian, England

As an Englishman I find most Welsh accents have a happy lilting, almost singing tone, to them and the Welsh are a decent bunch of people. Don't put their accent down.
John, Oxford

Well, I'vve got family in Wales and go to uni in Swansea. I like most Welsh accents, particularly those of the far north west, around Llanberis etc
Lee Hughes, Kendal, Cumbria, England

I think Welsh accents are absolutely lovely - very friendly and so underrated!
Leah Ward, Yorkshire

I am English and I find a soft spoken S. Welsh accent beautiful. I recall working next to a lady with such an accent who was a credit controller. Even when she was telling off late payers it still sounded like a gently bubbling stream.
Ian, England

Our accent is only one component of a poetic and artistic nation blessed by song.

David Stokes, Newport, Wales

I LOVE the Welsh accent!! I find it beautiful to listen to and very sexy when spoken softly! I wish I knew more Welsh people so I could listen to them talking...
Sarah, Cambridge, UK

Speaking face to face you don't notice anything but to listen to someone speaking on the tele it sounds awful.
Ray Picton, Neath, Wales

Since moving here in 2000, from Barry, I've been asked if I'm Scots, Irish, Aussie, German and even Russian, but each time I've been told that I have a cool accent or that they love my accent. Personally, whilst I do find that the accent in some areas of Wales can be a little grating, I am very proud of the Welsh accent.
Mark D., Dayton, OH, USA

I think the Welsh accent is lovely!! It's a "sing-song accent. The worst in my book is a Cockney accent, very difficult to understand.
Ann, Runcorn, Cheshire

Hunt on for 'voice of Wales'
11 Nov 04 |  Wales
Website aims to preserve accents
13 Feb 04 |  Cornwall



News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific