The Myth of the ‘Trustworthy’ Scottish Accent?

Brits don’t want to listen to Scottish voices anymore? You don’t say

THERE was an article in the Spectator magazine this week, entitled “The myth of the ‘trustworthy’ Scottish accent”, complete with scare quotes. The article announced the death of another Scottish export industry, providing voice overs for advertisements broadcast throughout the UK.

An article ‘The Myth of the ‘Trustworthy’ Scottish Accent’ in The Spectator by Paul Burke (excerpt) claimed, “From the late 1990s onwards, you could hardly turn on the radio or television without hearing a Scottish voice telling you about mortgages, loans, terms and conditions. Soon the demand for Scottish voices moved beyond the financial sector: they began advertising everything from mobile phones to DFS sofas… Then came the independence referendum. For the first time, English advertisers, who’d always championed the use of Scottish voices in their commercials, heard a lot of Scottish people saying quite unkind things about England. Even though the nationalists lost the vote, they were the more voluble side, so the die was cast.”

Wee Ginger Dug responded,

“However what he really meant was that there was and is a widespread racist stereotype in England that Scots are tight-fisted and reluctant to part with cash. That stereotype can be used positively by an advertiser trying to flog a financial product”. There was another reason,though, “Scottish accents were favoured for adverts being broadcast in the rest of the UK had little to do with trustworthiness. It’s because in the intensely class sensitive society of England, Scottish accents are class neutral. When a Scottish person is speaking standard Scottish English, as opposed to Scots, English ears cannot tell if the speaker is working class or middle class”.


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