Americans say Boston has the strongest accent in the country . . . and among the most attractive

In a survey of 1,216 American adults interviewed, 23 percent said Boston has the strongest accent.
John Tlumacki/Globe Staff/File 2008
In a survey of 1,216 American adults interviewed, 23 percent said Boston has the strongest accent.

You’ll want to pahk your cah neah Hahvard Yahd for this story.

According to a poll conducted by YouGov, Americans believe Boston is the one place in the United States with the strongest regional accent, with the Southern Coast trailing behind in second place.

In the survey of 1,216 American adults interviewed, 23 percent said Boston has the strongest accent. The Southern Coast received 16 percent of the vote, and New York and Texas each got 13 percent.


Fourteen percent of people said they weren’t sure.

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In the category of most attractive accent, Boston and New York tied for third place, with 7 percent each. The Southern Coast won for most attractive accent, receiving 18 percent of the vote, and Texas won second place with 12 percent of the vote.

The survey was facilitated online to participants all over the country, according to Jennifer Abreu, a spokeswoman for YouGov. Participants answered the survey questions on July 12 and 13, and all participants were over age 18.

Janelle Winston, the founder of SpeechCoach Company that provides communication skills training services in Newton, said the nasality of a Boston accent likely made it most identifiable for people across the country.

Bostonians, most notably, omit r’s in words (think of the word “park” sounding like “pahk”) and add r’s in words that end with a’s (think of the word “idea” sounding like “ide-er”).


But it’s the nasality, Winston said, that distinguishes Boston from some states in the South, like Alabama and Georgia, that also omit their r’s.

“Even though leaving out the r is very distinct, it’s the nasality, plus the omission of r, is what makes people really go, ‘That’s a Bostonian accent,’ ” she said.

Among respondents who said Boston is the strongest accent, the smallest portion were actually from the Northeast — 18 percent. Thirty percent were from the West, 25 percent were from the Midwest, and 21 percent were from the South.

Winston said the reason for that is that nasality is not exclusive to Boston, so some respondents from other cities in the Northeast may not have recognized a Boston accent as being so different from their own.

“You’ll find nasality in New York, so all along the East Coast,” Winston said. “But it’s definitely a distinctive feature, whereas you’re not going to find nasality on the West Coast.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Boston’s ranking for accent attractiveness. It tied for third. Felicia Gans can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @FeliciaGans.