Aung Si writes:

What makes an accent sound good, bad or ugly? It’s a tough question to answer but when it comes to the many accents of people speaking English around the globe, native English speakers often express preferences.

Do associations of high cultural sophistication in a country generate positive connotations of the way in which people from that country speak English? Is it merely geographic proximity to England? Do people from a country perceived as ‘exotic’ speak English with an ‘exotic’ (i.e. positively evaluated) accent? Does it have anything to do with the actual sounds that people produce, and their closeness to ‘Standard’ English?

Here’s a crude, tentative classificatory scheme of how I think native English speakers might rate different accents of spoken English. I’m not sure the patterns are all that obvious:

Really cool accents:

French, ‘Standard British’, Irish, Spanish/Latin American, Italian

Sort-of-cool to amusing accents:

Swedish, German, Dutch, Japanese, ‘Caribbean’, Russian, Kiwi

Seriously uncool accents:

Everything else!

I don’t have an answer, but I’d love to know what you think.