Poll: Which English accent is the most difficult to understand?

Which English accent is the most difficult to understand?

New Zealand

Statistics Poll Stats

This Poll:

  • Votes: 18,636
  • Comments: 130
  • Added: March 2007



it was quite funny


Which British accent? There are many, very distinct, British accents.


It's true that Indian accent is the most difficult one in the world to understand.


In my humble opiniom, I finf the indian accent harder to understand than the others, especially when many of them speak fast, but I must be honest that it's very interesting. Of course, India has many dialects, so it's very hard to say that, and I don't like to stereotype anyone or anything.


I'm American, and American English is my native language. I think the Indian English accent is hardest to understand. When talking to people with very thick Indian accents sound, I often have to keep having them repeat what they said, and often I still can't understand what they said.


I think british accent is more difficult to hear. I love the accent though.


I find, the British accent is the most difficult to understand. Mainly those who are from other places in England apart from London, difficult to understand while speaking.


it's true, im an indian and i can't understnd the indians here in the uk, tbh i cant usderstnd anything tht anyone says here anyways lol, but indains seem to put on a fake *oh im british* accent, and its true. :/

faouzi lazari

Actually,British English has lots of accents,thus to me the most complicated english accent ever is Irish one


I think Indians also have a lot of accents and some are way better than others.
Also, we do not come across many accents that are way more difficult to understand. Effecively, we are comparing only British, American, Canadian and Indian accents here.
I have been throughout the world and African, Middle-Eastt and South East Asian (Korea, Japan, China) accents are the most difficult to understand. Further, Australian and New Zealand accents are difficult as well.


I am a native of India. For me American accent is the most difficult to follow. They speak very fast and words are difficult to pick. Indian accent is very slow,unattractive but easily understandable.



Chuck Newman

how about Bostonian ?


I think that New Zealand accents are the hardest. But I feel like the most difficult accents are generally due to how much slang is used. Certain parts of the United States would definitely be difficult to some people. But New Zealand accents are very strong.


I am from Nepal. I understand pretty much all accents but find some british people who pronounce less word in some cases. I also find some aussie speaking. Eg "good day mate" is pronounced as " goodai mite". Some might find Indian accent hard to understand because most of they use "nd" at the end of some words say for example "and" is pronounced as "anddu". American they say "blood" as "blad" , "economics " as "econahmics" . Chinese for "think" they say "sink". English is all about stress of sound. Western people say "danyabad" for "dhanyabaadh" because they don't speak from epiglotis very often. By the way the word "dhanyabaadh" is a word from Khas language which is marketed as Nepali which means "thank you"


To be honest its Australian that's hard.The poll is biased


indian is the hardest accent to understand.

american guy

english is my second language and i mastered it completely almost forgetting the language i learned when i was a child. i find british english so hard to understand because some words are not announced with all the bells and whistles the words are suppose to have making it very difficult to decipher. i can't believe indian is the highest i i can understand them perfectly. listen to depak chopra his indian first i thought it was a british accent that i understood then i found out he was indian. maybe he is an indian with an understandable english accent from Britain i don't really know but i understand indian accents just fine. i say after british people it might be american accents i live in california and if i go some places in the USA i would have a difficult time understanding most people. thats how the USA i love it.


Hmm, last time I checked the good people of Ireland spoke English, and were probably speaking English before the colonies were established - to be omitted when India is included...that's just insulting (no offence to my Indian friends) Me thinks that someone needy checky geography. Saying the Irish are the same as the British is, well, as insulting to an Irishman and it would be to an Englishman I'd imagine Is the desginer of this poll aware of just how MANY regional dialects exist alone within the U.K alone, nevermind Ireland.


Sorry *typo* above should read "as insulting to a Britishman" Apologies to Welsh, Scots and Northern Irish folk


Indian accent is really really hard for me to follow.


Yes, I am, but the are only so many options available in the software and we cannot add hundreds of choices. No one's saying that Irish English is the same as British English, but we have a limited list. India's a big place with many speakers. You'd probably have a better case arguing against the inclusion of New Zealand, which has a population closer to Ireland's.


I am an Indian, so of course, I don't have difficulty understanding Indian accent. I don't know about other non-native English speakers, but I find all British accents very hard to understand. Also Chinese; I just can't say if they're trying to speak english or chinese.

Bhuvan pulami

India is our neighbour so in my feeling i could not find it would be so.

bhuvan pulami

This is my guess.

Subhankar Zac

I m from India, n I spoke in an Indian accent for many years, But Now i m Learning to talk in irish accent.
Doesnt mean that I m 'putting on a fake accent', It just means that Indian accent is the worst of all english!


Interesting Bravo!


Hmmm .. from the choices above I would say Indian english accent or Hindu English is so hard to understand comprehensively in Speech and somewhat the way they compose their correspondence thru email. Say like instead of using engage they alter it with "Intimate". Also, the frequent usage of "the same" and "revert". Indians on this thread will normally answer that they do understand Hindu-English, guys are you with us? Not on the list I would say, Chinese is kinda hard to reciprocate. Anyway that's my two cents. By the way, I'm Filipino .. ;o)

Amir Baseri

I find AmE accent a little bit to noisy if you believe! Well , it's full of r-r-r-r..! I am myself a Persian , learning BrE for 5 years and I just love the accent and also , I understand it much better.


Love the annoying AmE accent :)


This poll is idiotic, how can you put an Indian person speaking English in the poll. If that's part of the criteria then you have to put in Japanese people speaking English, Italian people speaking English, French, French Canadian. These are eccents fron other countries.


This kind of poll will be very subjective. I am indonesian. we understand better english which is more roundly pronounced. Russian is the easiest to understand to us, beside Indonesian English of course. Russian is very good at saying R sound. they can vibrate their tounge somehow perfectly like we Indonesian do. Oriental English like chinese and korean is the hardest to understand because they use no R. AARRR will be sounded AALLL by korean and chinese..


Good God!
Indian accent? Hard? Really? :/
Indian Accent is very easily understood rather. A very good example is 'Dr. Rajesh Koothrapalli' from the show 'The Big Bang Theory'
It's only his accent which is way too clear and might I say cuter than others'. Almost every Indian has that type of accent and I think it isn't hard to decipher it, not even in the slightest.
On the contrary, British accent is way too fast and unclear, consequently it's hard to pick up the words sometimes. The accent isn't difficult but understanding it, by others, obviously, is difficult. I am quite au fait with American accent now but still facing little difficulties to decipher all the intricacies of it, it's slangs, for instance. But its just because I am not a native American.


You kidding me? India has got a billion indian accent varying from north to south to east.north indian accent is the coolest n easy to understand n South Indian is the worst.i think American is the coolest accent n British n australian is the worst of all.


I guess it is because of their rate of speech and tone.. I am a call center agent and I get a lot of Indian callers.. The challenge for me is when I my caller tends to speak so fast and they're still using their native tone.. If they could just enunciate and speak clearly.. :) And also, i guess the reason why Indian English is difficult to understand is because their secondary language influence is British english which we also know is a bit challenging especially when it comes to their pumping "t" and rolling "r"s.. :)


I am from the Northern most state outside of Alaska. The natives called it "land of sky blue water".
Iowa is the supposed place of a universally understood by any English speaker.I speak a hybrid of Iowa and Minnesota. I have never had difficulty being understood with people with other English accents.


I think highly educated people from cities like Delhi and Mumbai have accent near to standard British accent. For Indians, I think it's hard to understand when a south Indian speaks English.

fred masafwa

.... My point of vew....
Hello, my name's Fred form DR Congo.
Sorry for those who voted for Indian English 'cause i got opportunity to work together with'em even if i'm an African but i was able to understand'em clearly. But both British and American it was a liltle bit difficult for me 'cause they are so fast and they always used breack words... that's why it makes their accent difficult to understand.


Actually I voted for British because there wasn't any option for all the British accents... there are a lot of different British accents and I had a hard time understanding a few ! But I find South Indian English accents really difficult... I am an Indian and I speak American accent and so its the easiest for me.

But I must admit that I love to listen to the British accent.. its really sweet.


Ritesh, learn proper English first then comment. You found South Indian English is worst? funny! Australian English is toughest among all. I don't know why Indian English got these many votes! Indian English largely depends on mother tongue of speaker. But most of the educated people speaks neutral English.


You can't talk about a country's accent as accents change a lot within one country. I normally find American accent quite easy to understand until you hear Southern accent or Ebonics. The same thing with British accent, there's a huge difference between RP and Yorkshire or Newcastle accent. In any case, I think Newfoundland accent has got to be the hardest...


indian english very difficult to understand becuse i have learn english then i have learn indian accent english , like what i suvering from my boss


I am an indian however I agree with the poll that indian accent is hardest of all, to me reason is Rate Of Speech. E.g. Rolling "r" is not a big issue as Americans understand are used to it because of there close relations to maxio. I love southern US accent. New Jersey has the best accent and when girls especially blacks get loud who wanna hear them.lol


I am Indian and now go to American Accent training. I find that there are 4 or 5 things that ALL of us consistently do differently than Americans, Sounding the letter R, Intonation, flap "T" to name a few....Phonics is taught differently to my kids in the USA than we learnt growing up ...


The poll is really not correct. Indians finds Accent of English speaking difficult and vice versa. The reason is here in India we have taught that different accent. I personally like American accent because I love Hollywood movies. But watch Hollywood movies with subs. I think herevthey must follow at least UK accent if not American.


I became surprised to see the poll result. Indian English accent is not tough to be. But British accent is really tough to understand. Because I think British peoples don't follow their own rule of pronunciation.
At the same time they don't make their accent easier or standard when they talk to foreigners. They think that, foreigners will understand their accent. !!!!!


why is indian accent competing against native accents?, anyways I can understand many non-native accents but indian accent is just too damn hard


I'm a kiwi and I don't think our accent is hard to understand we have a range of slang words but the accent you really need to understand is the Rural Maori. Like if you watch Jono and Ben on Graham Norton they're not that hard to understand. What I think is difficult is the intimation, WE! And I repeat, WE DO NOT sound like AUSTRALIAN'S, there is a distinct difference where they say Gidday we say Sup.


it's too difficult to understand what an Indian speaks English


Indian accent sounds clear and simple.


Quit hissing Indian accent. Our accent is simple and clear compared to others.The poll is biased .


How's it biased- people can choose any answer.


I get asked to speak in English when I talk to Americans on the phone :| grrrrrrrrrrrr!


I am a Medical Transcriptionist from India and I hear all kinds of English from doctors around the world and of them all I find Chinese English indiscernible, it's difficult to figure if they are speaking Chinese or English, and then South Indian English they pronounce 'M' as 'YAM' that's most annoying and also some doctors annoy us intentionally i think, they would speak in such a way that you would think they are either very drunk or very drowsy or speaking with a mouth full of spit or phlegm or whatever.


I am Polish hence unbiased. Indian English is very easy for me to understand because they pronounce all the sounds clearly. I can't understand villagers and the riff-raff from Ireland and UK, they skip nearly all consonants and only use vowels. Also, they like inventing words or use some slang expressions which cannot be found in even the best dictionaries. Americans are easy to understand except for rednex hillbillies who don't open their mouths when speaking and all sounds go through their noses. This is very irritating and exhausting to listen to them.


i am an Indian, according to me we speak the language of different culture and different places, A single person in india speakmore thanj three language,and we speakenglish in very appropriate manner.

Aara Moon

Hey guys. I am half Persian and half American. My mom is from Iran and my dad is from Los angeles. I live in New York city and I have an awesome American accent. Even my mom has an American accent. My dad's mom however is half indian and she has a thick indian accent spoken in Kerala and honestly it is really hard to understand. I mean it is unique but really hard to understand. By the way, my mom named me. That is why I have a Persian name.


I am an Indian I don't know about other accents but I don't have any difficulty in understanding Indian accent. Here we have more than 850 languages spoken and everyone's english is influenced by their native language. So if someone is talking about Indian accent its one out of 850 Indian english accents.


Oh well thanks everybody for given Indian accent the tag of hardest accent to understand however the ground reality is India has largest voice support system of all the major tech & telephone companies across the world. The people with hardest accent are solving the queries of well spoken people over the phone...though...Good luck with your voting..one more thing we Indian have the most neutral accent.


I find this poll absolutely humbug for two following reasons:

1. Most of the countries are those that have English as native language, but since English isn't the native language of India, the idea of including India is starkly absurd. Had this list consisted countries as well where English isn't the native language such as China, Korea, Russia, Brazil anf so forth, this list would then have seemed reasonable.

2. India is a nation where more than 200 languages and dialects are spoken by more than 100 different ethnic group people, so how can there be a single accent? Majority of Indians living in aboard are South Indians whose accent is literally hard to grasp but it doesn't mean all Indians have that accent.

Sudanese Aceent

The Sudanese accent is the best and I'm from Western Sudan i like the American accent it's sweet specially the one that black people use it


Hello people! I'm indian, so I obviously don't have any difficulty in understanding the Indian accent. It's the American one that gets me everytime. Please, no offence meant but Americans speak way too fast and merge some of the words like"gonna, wanna"....with their recurring rr, it's very difficult to decipher them.
However, that's just my opinion. I wholly agree that some indian accents are incomprehensible to foreigners. This is a poll that'll have the most subjective answers, so there's no right or wrong. It's just everybody's two cents, including mine (though they seem to be a lot more, given the length of my comment ;-). Thank god for the comment section. See ya!


I see here many people commenting negatively about Indian English. Instead Indians should be admired because even though their mother tongue is completely different, yet they put extreme efforts to learn English for educational purposes and better knowledge.


Hello , I speak three languages and English is one of them . To most of you English is the main language so you don't have to think before speaking while we have to think and translate our words to English before we speak .
So pretty much hard work that we are doing .
For me Australian accent is hard to understand . They don't speak clearly , same with Newzealand guys . Cheers !


Seriously, people from india thinking the voting stats are biased because *they* understand the dialects *they* hear every day, all week long.

That's like a chinese person saying chinese english accent is the easiest, because that's what *they* hear most of all.

I speak 4 languages and English isn't my native one. However I've worked in international institutions my entire career, with people and team members from various countries including India. After 20 years of listening to and discussing with people from India I *still* find it incredibly difficult to understand those English dialects overall.

Case in point: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxvQ

Do you understand what's being said? Do you get a headache after 5 minutes of straining to decipher what's being said? That most people seem to connect with Indian workers over the phone doesn't help either. The dialects are hard as is, and compounding the challenge by sticking cheap *ss phone lines between the callers and the indian call centers doesn't help one iota.

I agree however that Chinese English is harder, but china wasn't up on the board, so of the languages listed, I had to cast my vote on Indian English, which for me is without doubt more trying than any of the other candidates.

What makes indian english hard for me is that proper enunciation isn't used. It sounds very much like flat "bola bola bola bola" which makes parsing of phrases, sentances, meaning and information conveyed very trying.

Prefer to communicate with Indians via text, since well educated people from India tend to have magnitudes better grasp of the written form, reducing the risk of misunderstanding and eliminating the "parsing" burden from communication.


#im American and I find indian english simplest of all...All word clear ....but newzealand and aussie english kinda hard....
Indian are absolutely good at that....


I learned English as a second language for a long time, and i lived in NZ AUS and Uk for ard 1 year each. Seriously if ur honest to yourself UK must be the most difficult because they are so diverse and original in their own ways. Its not only about the sound. Whoever says Indian is more difficult is either from UK or just plain hypocritical. Impossible.


First of all this list has very few countries to vote for.Second thing is that more than half of the voters were those people who couldn't understand the English of the few Indians they talked to.These people are so wrong.they think all the English speakers in India are hard to understand.I am proud to be an Indian and obviously I can understand 😊 any Indian speaking in English.How? Except south Indians all of us try to speak english the way it is written.south Indians speak every language in a tone and flow that sounds like their native language.This is the reason why so many are crying 😢 on indian accent.This should not be considered as a racist remark but I find it hard to understand black Americans.They kick all the words so many times with their lips that by the time it comes out I call it rap song.I can understand only Obama. For the rest I need subtitles.Americans(I am talking about the dark one only) are funny.If sense of humour had a unit of measurement,let's say V,then even if two American comedians scored 100V of fun and one of them is black.He is the winner.Now let me make fun of all the accent I have heard in Hollywood.
Jackie Chan was more comprehensible than Chris tucker in Rush hour series. Does that mean Chinese accent is better? In Wolverine 2013 Japanese girls spoke much more clear English than Hugh Jackman.Does that mean Japanese accent is better than Australian? Irfan Khan spoke clearly in my ears( Amazing Spiderman) my eyes were focused on screen.Spiderman was comprehensible only without mask.With mask my eyes were focused on subtitles.But slowly I am learning American accent from movies so that I spend more time watching than reading.FOR ALL THOSE WHO HAVE PROBLEMS WITH ANY ACCENT JUST TRY TO PAY MORE ATTENTION AND BE PATIENT. The more you hear the more you can understand

Tom Patrick

I am native of Madurai.As far as i am concerned, U.K accent is really harder to understand, Because they speak too fast with their own accent, I keep on trying to understand it. I have no way to get rid of this.


Well it doesn't make much sense including India since there are practically no native speakers of English there. (Less than <0.1%)


All the english are easy to understand. Indian as well. I can understand it very well. But i just can't stand my self holding my laugh when i listen. The most difficult english accent for me and i believe for others as well. Is when an asian started to speak english specially chinese, korean and japanese. Who agree with me?


Indians usually speak English as a second language. Australians on the other hand , I feel speak a form of English that is the least understandable from the majority English speaking countries. Perhaps something to do with its penal colony origins.


I chose Indian English, it there wasn't a choice for Scottish English. I have been to the UK several times, and many other countries that hold both native English speakers and those who speak it as a second language or speak just a little. And bar none, I can always understand someone as long as it does not hold a Scottish accent. I do have a hard time with the deep southern American Black accent, and some of the Caucasian accents from the hills of Kentucky, W. Virginia. Irish accents are lovely to my ears. When Germans try to speak English it is almost painful... :-)


I don't know about English, but for the languages like hindi, urdu, malayalam, tamil, tulu, pharsi, kannada, telugu, odiya, marathi, punjabi, assamese, manipuri, konkani, mythili, sanskrit, gujarati, sindhi, bodo, dogri, beary bashe, kashmiri, badava, kodava, kurumba, kumarbhagpaharia, sauria paharia, kurukh, naiki, ollari, duruwa, kolami, manda, bengali, nagarchel, konda, chechu, pardhan, koya, pengo, kuvi, maria, kui, muria, gondi, allar, toda, kota, irula, kodaga, kanikkaran, kurumba, badaga, bhojpuri, rajasthani....(phew...there are more but anyways)...indian accent is definitely the best :D


Well, I'm an Indian.
We all have different perspectives and thus individual decisions wouldn't solve the issue.
I have a good English accent (I'm saying because I get it a lot) and it's very often compared to being Australian, to be more specific by my teachers. I did not get a chance to be the MC at my school's annual function because of my Australian accent (as it's called) as it would have been hard for average Indian people to understand what I'm speaking. So i believe that being able to understand an accent simply depends on the ability and capability of the person.


Check this out .
Rest of the countries have English as their mother tongues well in India almost nobody has English as their mother tongue. Considering this we Indians have most clear accent. But I still dont get why cant you people understand Indian English accent?! I'm Indian never been out of country or ever had friends from other nationality but still I'm able to understand almost every other English accent out there.(with few exceptions offcourse, Like when Ricky Ponting given a speech after a match those were little difficult to understand but other than that I was always good).


This is crazy! A North Indian here says South Indian accent is worse. He is a typical north Indian who doesn't have any idea of South.

It is the ignorance Northeners usually have. South Indians do not have much of a nasal twang. Most North Indians say "double" as "dabal" and Magic as "Majjick" and Music as "Mujick or "Meejick".

Most voice based processes are based in Bangalore southwards, in Chennai and Hyderabad. North Indians are terrible at accents and are hardly neutral which is why voice based processes do not go there much.

Some would say North Indian accent is best because they either don't know or are just biased. The fact is, South India has about 75-90% of voice process businesses of India.

Indian accent was influenced by the British and the twang is a British one. However, recently, American movies and business with Americans has caught on like wildfire and transitioned us to a more American styled language. With the current trends, the youngsters are growing an American twang and those who are 45+ follow a British accent with an Indian twang.


Indian English accent is the most difficult to understand and I know that because recently I started to work with India people in dubai and I keep telling them sorry can you repeat that !! I couldn't understand you !! Then I still don't understand what he wanted to say , then they get angry at me for not getting it ,LooooL

Lim Thean Leong

British English because itself is a native language


What the heck are you talking about? It's such an unclear poll. There are several regional accents within U.K.,U.S.A.,India and Australia,which are even difficult to understand for 2 individuals of same nation living in 2 different regions,and then,when you look from that point of view you'll find Scottish and South Indian accent most difficult to understand. I guess most people will agree with it.


It's a starting point for a discussion, nothing more.


I understand from most people Indian accent is the most difficult to understand but even in India we have numerous english accents and not one, native english speakers will be surprised to know this but we can determine the linguistic group of an Indian just by his english accent!! I guess same goes for Brits as well. Having stayed there if 2 Geordies or Scottish went talking among them I couldn't understand a word. Nice survey by the way

A. Perry

One of my friend's friend got fired because he could not understand his Indian boss. He said the India English totally messed up the intonation and usually in a speed of light uttering. Well, good for him, now he is working for a Russian boss and he still has trouble understanding his boss. I hope he won't get fired the second time because of his boss poor English accent. God bless him!


inspite of being an Indian, I can totally understand how hard south Indian accent can be to grasp. being a north Indian, I myself find south Indian accent hard.

Ali Sherjee

Woooah! i am amazed at that poll.. how come Indian accent is voted as most difficult to understand accent? and i was searching Glaswegian(scottish) accent from the list :D


It would be easier to understand the Indian accent if they didn't just keep saying "Doka Doka Doka ?, Doka Doka Doka ?" And Americans should utilize their nose for breathing instead of stuffing it full of cotton wool and snot.


What are you talking about, Penguin?


Funnily enough, being British myself I did in fact chose the British accent as most idfficult to understand (but only like certain accents like the Geordie). I personally think a lot of it simply depends on how much exposure one has had to the respective accent, in which case my answer is completely biased i guess. I think i need to speak to more fellow Geordies.


There is not as Such Indian Accent. India is so diverse with over 8000 dialects so the accent is more like.
From British Indian - British Born India-Brit Accent
From Punjab - Punjabi English
From South India - South Indian English
Bihar - Bihari English
UP (Again many accent.)
Fake Accent - When they try so in British, Aussie and American English.
Actually every second indian you meet will have different accent. It is either Native Sound+English and Also Native Sound+English+Brit/American Copy.
You may find uniformity in Spanglish or Chinklish :D hahaha. but not in Inglish so it is easy to tough to easy.. Now this poll is not justified one for Brits British is easy and others are tough similarly vice verca.


Yes, Indian is hard but for a non native, the British accensts like Cockney or Irish could be a pain in the ass, however, ıt's fun to learn new things like "I don't Adam n Eve it, me missus is fit oo me froa ur's" Thank you :))


To me, american engish is the hardest to understand since they make up new words pretty much everyday. Im from Canada where English is deemed the easyist to understand so this should be wierd.

Sumit Dubey

I speak General-American Accent to be precise. Therefore, other similar accents such as Canadian, Southern-American Accents are almost totally familiar to me. However, I have seen SCOTTISH accent to be the toughest. I don't know why people voted for Indian as the hardest, it is pretty much plain like Received-Pronunciation Accent. Although, nice to see your views.


As I'm Indian, I can easily understand Indian English accent.
In my opinion Aussie's accent is hard to understand.

no name

What ?


I'm native Indian , still I find it's a little difficult to pronounce words as Indians do .


I am an Indian and find it easier to follow Indian English accent as the words are clear and sounds are not eaten up. Find it difficult to follow American accent as they don't stress mouth muscles for a clear sound. They keep their mouth muscles relaxed, makes it difficult to find spaces b/w two words :)


Indian accent is the most difficult to understand.

Arpan Das

well,i, being an indian studied brp phonetics ,i surmise that we indians do not speak the english as it should be as according to common IPA and i believe when we study a particular subject we use a proper format to accomplish that job so why not english ? when phonetics transcription is available its no kidding!

Mohammed Ayāñ

Well I suppose most people here base it on Indian speakers who learn it as a third Language, who don't study in English medium.

Second language speakers are completely bilingual with their mother tongue and are actually better at English than their mother tongue aka first language


the most hard to understand the English- indian accent . I have to ask the call centre to repeat so many times. One time I have to ask the call centre to sent email to me instead of talking to me .

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