A linguist has warned 'X Factor' judge Cheryl Cole against changing her accent to crack America.
The 25-year-old Geordie is set to begin elocution lessons to lose her Northern lilt – after telly mogul Simon Cowell booked her in with a top Hollywood voice coach.
He said Cheryl – who was named as the world’s best dressed woman by Glamour magazine last week – should soften her accent to become a star in the States.
He feared American audiences would be confused by the Girls Aloud singer’s voice.
Some fans of British shows on BBC America, which broadcasts a range of shows in the States, have admitted to needing subtitles to understand Northern stars like Robson Green and Ant and Dec.
But experts said Cheryl’s accent was part of her appeal, and that changing the way she speaks for commercial reasons could harm her image in the UK.
Joan Beal, professor of English language at University of Sheffield, said Cheryl, of Heaton, Newcastle, should be careful she does not lose her identity.
She told The Sunday Sun in Newcastle: “In the UK, the Geordie accent is viewed very positively and studies of accents consistently show that it is considered friendly, honest, and generally attractive.
“The USA is notoriously insular. We know that a very large percentage of Americans don’t own a passport, so they are not aware of the range of accents in the UK.
“There are lots of voice coaches who claim to be able to soften regional accents, and I’m sure Cheryl would have access to reputable ones who’ve worked successfully with actors.
“But does she really want to be seen as putting on an act?”