Saturday, 31 March 2012

Accent Tutoring- How to master British accents


English neutral, Southern (Devon Dorset) Yorkshire and Cockney accent Tutorial.

The ‘Neutral’ English accent
Most sentences go down slightly towards the end of a phrase, instead of a rising tone like a question.A, E I O U   When pronouncing vowels try to rest your tongue low in the mouth, whilst keeping the roof high. 
A as in the word ‘Hay,’E as in the word ‘please’ I as in the word, ‘Hide’O silent ‘w’ as in the word ‘snow’U as in the word ‘stew’Remember to keep the vowel sounds short- it, put, let, pet, pat. With very precise ‘T’s’.

Letter Differences  The ‘U’ is pronounced in most English accents as in the word ‘stupid’ and ‘duty’ with a ‘tight’ ‘ew’ sound. Avoid the ‘oo’ sound which is in the American accent: pronounced ‘stewpid’ not ‘stoopid’.The letter ‘A’ is said as in the word ‘father’ which comes from the back of the mouth, with an open throat. It sounds like ‘Arh’ it is very much exaggerated in the neutral RP British accent.The letter ‘H’ is always pronounced! Don’t drop the ‘h’.Don’t forget to pronounce the ‘T’ in ‘duty’ as a ‘t’ not a ‘d’. ‘duty’ not ‘doody’..Some words to practice with: ‘Stop, now, slow, road’. ‘As different as chalk and cheese’ The word ‘not’ instead of ‘nart’ or ‘hot’ instead of ‘haot’.

You need to pronounce everything clearly and articulate every word properly, making sure there are sensible spaces between your words. You may also find it useful to imagine that there is a plum in your mouth; this will position your mouth in the same way words are said. Talk as naturally as you can, not over-exaggerated.  

Good listening practice with the neutral British accent: BBC News, My fair lady. 


The 'Cockney' accent
Letter Differences  The sounding of the letter ‘A’ in a sentence is very broad and sounds like ‘ah’. Way the mouth moves is very broad, and there is a definite relaxed pronunciation.
Letter T is silent, ‘beh-ur instead of better’ and ‘wal-uh’ instead of water’Phrase used- ‘You pays your money and you takes your choice’ translated into ‘Cockney’ as ‘yuh paah’ys yur maney an yu tay’kes yur choy’ce.’

Good listening practice with the ‘Cockney’ accent - Mary Poppins (dick van dyke), Eastenders, Warbride. 

The ‘Southern’ accent     The sentences usually go up at the end, as if you are asking a question.  
Letter differences
   ‘A’s and ‘O’s are much more broad, like ‘stoe’wp’ instead of ‘stop’ and ‘haaey’ instead of ‘hay’.The ‘Er’ sound is accentuated and are is far more pronounced, like ‘ther’ instead of ‘there’Words such as ‘bath, path, glass and grass’ all have the same ‘ahh’ sound where the ‘a’ is, unlike in the neutral accent where the ‘a’ is pronounced ‘arr’ instead.Take most ‘h’s’ off when talking.

Phrase used- ‘Go home and get the Mrs! And hurry she will be there on a Friday.’ Translated into the southern as ‘go ‘ome an geh the Mes’as! An ‘urry, she be there on ah Froi’daey’


Good listening practice- Tess of the D’Urbervilles, ‘Far from the Madding crowd’
 

‘Yorkshire’ or ‘Northern’ accentLetter differences
‘E’ is pronounced as in the word ‘Air’.‘U’ has a slight ‘w’ on the end. ‘You’w com ere’ (you come here)One of the most significant differences is with the letter ‘h’, as you take it off (drop it). ‘ey you’ instead of ‘hey you’.Words that end with an ‘ee’ sound are pronounced ‘eh’ instead. Like ‘salt’eh’ rather than ‘salty’ and ‘sweet’leh’ rather than ‘sweetly’.Words are definitely more dragged out compared to the neutral, especially at the end of a sentence.

Phrase used- ‘Stop rambling on about nothing, if you don’t watch it you will end up outside’ translated into ‘Yorkshire’ as ‘Stop ramblin’ on ‘bout nuthin’, if yur doh’nt watch it yull end uhh’p ahht side.’
 ‘No’ is pronounced ‘Noh’

Good listening practice- Last of the Summer Wine, Wallace and Gromitt, Calendar girls.
 

The word ‘water’ in any accent will determine the ultimate differences because it has the widely diverse sounds of the letters ‘a’, ‘t’ and also ‘er’. 

As I say with any accent- PRACTICE, PRACTICE, LISTEN AND PRACTICE!!     All the best!
 

9 comments:

  1. My dad? Because he Is English I have noticed for a long time now he does not say the word: Here. To me It sounds like ear, or year If you listen closely. Another word Is: Forest. I say: Fore, but my dad says: For. They are similar, but pronounced different. Same applies to the word: Frost. Vowels are either put forward, or held back. Very well explained!

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  2. Hello Joanna. Let me congratulate you for the very nice service youre offering here. I love your british accent, it sounds so harmonious. English is my second language, being spanish my first. I speak english fluently, but ive heard that my accent is thick. Generally people understand me, although some natives have told me they struggled to understand me on the phone. From today Im going to practice following your instructions to get this fabulous british accent, or at least something close.

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  3. I forgot to say that ages ago I had seen two videos of you, one that you spoke a lot of accents in one video, and another one you sang the song of j. holiday "bed" and changed the lyrics. I liked it! (I have good memory when I like things). I just subscribed to your blog and youtube channel. Ill keep reading and watch more videos. Keep up the good work. Greetings from Madrid.

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    1. Thank you Gianni for joining my blog!
      I hope the video isn't too hard to understand, sometimes I think I even confuse myself!
      I hope I can keep you inspired.

      All the best!

      Jo

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  4. Wonderful tutorial!!! I needed something like that: I am italian and and I shall come back to university here in Norway, so I have to take a look back to my once-forgotten English. Your tutorial is really useful for me because I want absolutely NOT to speak American as the others do: I can't stand it! So I have to try the British accent, that I love.
    The video is clear and fine, and it answer a lot of my questions: I have no word to thank you!
    I would also say that you are very charming, even if you seems so young: is has to do with how you look around, how you move, how you speak. I am fascinated. But my interest is in what you say and not in how you look, of course. Nice job!

    I hope you have understood what I have wrote: I forgot all my English after learning Norwegian...

    Thanks by hart for your help, and good luck for everything!

    Davide

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  5. You are really really good. you are doing a good job. saw your video on Indian accent. I am an indian and honestly speaking you have observed the indians or indian accent quite well. go ahead and keep it up.

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  6. Thanks for the tutorial. I ended up with an American accent due to TV series and movies but I now want to change it to a more "British" accent. I'll working on it. Would you say that living in Oxford would help me? haha Been there over a month and I didn't notice any change on me.

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  7. Have you ever ponder about how's god's accent when god is speaking english?

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  8. Dear Joanna
    Many thanks for making this really interesting video. I am passionate about dialects and accents (I am a native Spanish speaker and have learnt a few foreign languages, including French, Italian, some German and a bit of Mandarin). I hope to see more videos like this. I have been living only three years in the UK and accent/language issues are still a major subject of conversation for me! I would love to have the opportunity to converse with you as I would really value your opinion on how I sound, I am really interested in getting the opinion of a native speaker who is interested in accent and diction and is sincere (and not 'politically correct') about my accent. Do you use Skype? If so, please could you add me with my google account josanru AT gmail DOT com?
    Also, I would like to comment that I am impressed by the immensity of your faith, something that is quite rare (and admirable) in young people like you these days. By the way, did you know that King Charles I of Spain (Charles V of Germany) spoke several languages but he only used Spanish to talk to God?

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