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Regional accents are disappearing: which do you want to save?

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David Cornish
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Within the next 50 years, regional accents that currently give a vocal identity to the likes of Liverpool, Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham could all fade into obscurity.

Research carried out by sociolinguistics expert Dr Dominic Watt for HSBC claims that "talking to machines and listening to Americans" will erode many of the twangs familiar to regional accents as we adjust our pronunciations to ensure computers recognise our requests.

"In the future, our voices will become ever more crucial and we’ll use them to interact with the majority of machines and devices in our daily lives," said Dr Watt. "Keyboards will have become obsolete and we will become completely comfortable speaking to our cars, washing machines, fridges, taxi apps and online banking services." Elsewhere, the 'th' sound will pass away in favour of less harsh multicultural tones, "think" becoming "fink" and "this" becoming "dis". 

Anyone who's attempted to interact with a voice recognition service like Apple's Siri or Amazon's Alexa will be familiar with the process of going full condescending Brit, slowing down speech and over enunciating each word in order to ensure your request is understood. Language recognition tech has taken huge leaps forward in recent years, with Google recently announcing its latest advance in machine learning have made its computer system almost as capable as translating languages as humans. 

If regional tones are at risk of disappearing by 2066, we felt it right to call upon you, our readers, to determine which accents deserve to be saved. Think of this as the launch of a WWA - like WWF, but the World Wide Fund for Accents, with the silhouette of an Essex lad replacing the panda. Take our poll below and let us know which regional accent should be saved from the computer uprising. 

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David Cornish

Shortlist.com’s esteemed Tech Editor. David has a keen interest in video games, Star Wars and stuff that runs on batteries.

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