Chester experts discover why Taylor Swift's accent has changed throughout her career

Language experts have been investigating how Taylor Swift's accent has changed over the years, and what the cause could be. Credit: PA Images

Taylor Swift's apparent change in accent has become the focus of an investigation by language experts.

The paper, published by the University of Chester, looks to explain how the singer's voice has changed during her 17 year career, with her gradually dropping her Tennessee drawl and instead picking up a north American accent.

In a reference to one of her most streamed singles, the report is titled "'Everything has Changed' Or has it? A real-time sociophonetic analysis of Taylor Swift".

Authors Senior Lecturer Dr Helen West, and English Language graduate Esther Humphries, analysed Taylor Swift's pronunciation of words "price", "kit", and "dress" over time to track her accent change.

The research was done at the University of Chester Credit: MEN Media

Dr West said: “Taylor's accent changes between her country and pop music styles has generated quite a lot of public attention, but until our research, had not been analysed in any depth.“The results reveal significant stylisation dependent on the musical genre Swift performs, with southern American English accent forms more prevalent in her earlier country-style music.

"Her popular-style performances demonstrate a transition to northern American accent forms."

Their original assumption was that Taylor Swift was "performing" when she sung in a southern accent, but their analysis found the changes are very subtle and more likely to be subconscious.

Esther Humphries said: "The changes could be attributed to a range of factors including her emersion into the Nashville/South American English speech community, having moved to Nashville at the age of 14, and they could also carry some social meaning about ‘countryness’, youth culture and lack of pretension."

The first ever Swiftposium was held at the University of Melbourne Credit: University of Melbourne

Their findings were presented to the Swiftposium academic conference at the University of Melbourne, a two-day summit that looked at the significance of the icon’s effect on culture, music, politics, critical theory, the economy, and law.

Organisers of the Swiftposium have shared how despite a career spanning more than 17 years, being one of the highest-earning and most-celebrated artists of all time, with millions of fans worldwide, intense media attention, being named Time magazine's Person of the Year and groundbreaking awards success, academia has not always taken Swift seriously.

But they add that “Swift’s influence, fanbase, and general mainstream popularity, have become too big for academia to ignore”.Papers at the Swiftposium looked at everything from the effect on the local economy of where Swift tours and how she keeps her sound relatable yet fresh, to the feminism of anti-heroism and how her music can be used to improve cardiovascular health.

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