It can also protect you from misinterpreting a common greeting as an opening salvo in your next great love affair.
“Again, do your research to understand different gestures in different cultures,” Kalinski says.
According to Morris, the couple’s eventual split, “definitely had to do with cultural reasons.” It can be tough to bridge a significant cultural divide within a romantic relationship.
“As an anthropologist I know very well that culture makes a huge difference,” she tells .
All the way back to the 1960s, linguists have used something known as the “matched-guise technique” to test listeners’ attitudes toward a given language, dialect, or accent by blindly rating them based on a certain set of criteria.
For instance, because of the United States’ early history as a part of colonial Great Britain, many Americans still tend to associate British accents with prestige, or high social status.
Meanwhile, matchmaker and relationship coach Isabel James, who splits her international lifestyle between Mexico, France, and New York City, says you should take your research to the road.
“There is no better way to experience different romantic customs than to go on a date with a local,” she says.
Point being, it seems that both for American women and foreign men, attractiveness often has more to do with perceptions and preconceived notions than it does with objective reality.
Put another way: Beauty is in the eye—or the ear, as the case may be—of the beholder.
Maybe that helps to explain why the British accent was recently named the “sexiest” in the world, at least when men use it.
As Emily Ngyuen, a Ph D candidate in linguistics at New York University told , “There’s a perception that British English is smarter and maybe that has to do with our idea of British people being smarter regardless of language.” In the same way, Nguyen says, Americans’ ideas of France and Italy as being places of culture, passion, and romance can cause American women to perceive men with those accents as being more cultured, passionate, and romantic.
While living abroad, she developed a unique perspective on the subject of foreign guys and American women.