We were hoping there was a reason for Madonna’s faux-British twang that went beyond the star’s penchant for constant reinvention. To give her the benefit of the doubt, it turns out she may have just been trying to understand the Brits.
A study in Psychological Science has discovered that imitating someone’s foreign or regional accent can help you understand her more easily. “If people are talking to each other, they tend to sort of move their speech toward each other,” says the University of Manchester’s Patti Adank, who led the study.
And we do more than just mimic accents. Our body posture also tends to change when we’re speaking to one another, like the way we cross our arms, for example.
Adank concluded, “When listening to someone who has a really strong accent, if you talked to them in their accent, you would understand better.”
Adank also points out that while this may be a useful communication tool, Madonna has proven it can also be really, really offensive. But real accents are still hot.