Britons say one would rather talk like the queen

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - If Britons could choose the way they spoke, most would prefer to sound like Queen Elizabeth with rocker Ozzy Osbourne’s Birmingham accent the most disliked, according to a survey on the wide variety of British accents.

Queen Elizabeth arrives for The Derby at the Epsom Downs race course June 7, 2008. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico

The online survey of 2,181 adults found that 73 percent of people in Britain don’t like the sound of their own voices and would prefer to have the rounded vowels and precise speech of the queen.

The second most popular accent was Irish followed by Scottish.

The poll, conducted by voice-to-content company SpinVox, found the most disliked accent was from Birmingham, with so-called “Brum” made famous internationally by rocker turned reality TV star Ozzy Osbourne.

Only 1 percent of Britons would choose to speak with a Birmingham accent -- and 78 percent of people from Birmingham did not like their own accent.

Tony Robinson, SpinVox’s linguistic expert, said it seemed that the decades where dialect diversity was celebrated were now over.

“It seems Britain is being gripped by an epidemic of accent envy and accent self loathing,” he said in a statement.

When it came to asking who actually did like the sound of their own voice, the Scots, Geordies from Newcastle and the Tyneside region, and Welsh came out tops.

Only 14 percent of Londoners and 18 percent of Scots did not like their own accent.

Robinson said it was interesting that those with distinct cultural or class identities were more satisfied with the way they spoke and others also wanted those accents.

Writing by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Paul Casciato