A Guide To British Accent Lessons

By Rosella Campbell

People want to learn how to speak like a British person for a number of different reasons. One of the most common is if you are an actor. Generally if there is a call for someone to be a Roman emperor or a space alien or another figure of authority for some reason talking as if you are from Britain seems to convey a sense of otherness. If this is what you are going for then there are various places you can find British accent lessons.

Before looking for classes it is important to be aware of the kind of voice you are trying to learn. Traditionally when people think of Britain they tend to think of England. However it is worth remembering that the United Kingdom also includes Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Even within England itself there are a wide array of regional accents. How people speak in the North is very different to how people speak in the South. Even the Northern and Southern areas of England have distinct voices. For example people from Newcastle have a very different style of speaking to someone from Liverpool or Manchester.

Equally within England itself there are a diverse range of accents. As with America there are often strong differences between the North and South of the country. Furthermore there are differences within the North and South as well. For example the way someone speaks in Liverpool will be different from how someone speaks in Manchester.

What people often think of as the way people speak in Britain is a kind of speech known as received pronunciation. If this is the kind of voice you are going for there are various rules to follow. One of the most basic is to avoid making a rolling R sound when pronouncing the letter R.

Indeed one of the big rules is often to ensure that letters are fully pronounced. For example the letter T should be said in words such as duty. Another good example is the word herb. In an American accent the H would be silent but in Britain the H is usually pronounced. Exceptions for this include the Cockney accent where you have a short pause known as the glottal stop where the letter would be.

There are various places that can help with vocal training and coaching. The chances are you can find them in your local area. A quick search using your normal search engine should bring up numerous results and let you compare different tutors and their lesson plans. Ideally it is also worth checking to see if they lived in Britain for any length of time as well as their teaching qualifications and experience.

These are all aspects that a class should teach you. Before going to a class it is worth checking to see the credentials of the person teaching. Ideally they should have travelled to Britain and lived there long enough to be aware of regional differences, slang terms and so forth. It is also worth watching British television shows, internet videos and so forth as this is an effective way of learning more about the culture and context of the language. Use your regular search engine to find tutors and language classes in your local area as well as learning more about the full range of English and British accents.

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