ai vs oi
I have a brummy lilt and my friend who studies linguistics has pointed out that when I say 'i' (as in high) it sounds a bit like oi (as in loit). I find it almost physically impossible to change the way I am saying this. i am wondering if anybody knew what the physical mechanics for proper pronunciation for this vowel was.
I am also told that when I say 'a' (as in ray) it sounds a bit like 'I' as I already pronounce it. 'ee' (as in tweet) also sounds more like 'ay', for example university will often sound universitay.
The alphabet when I speak it sounds a bit like: oi, bay, say, day, ay, etc. rather than A, B, C, D, etc.
People often have a hard time understanding me (especially foreigners) because my accent is so thick so it is not as if I am just trying to adjust my voice out of self-consciousness or anything. If people could understand me I wouldn't mind.
Re: ai vs oi
From your descriription, it sounds like more than a lilt to me. Your 'oi' pronunciation if the vowel in 'high' is the natural pronunciation in your variety of English. If you just attempt to change one or two vowel/diphthong sounds, you will sound very unnatural, both to brummies and to speakers of RP.
Originally Posted by JHA91
Unless you feel that your accent is holding you back socially or professionally, then I suggest that you think carefully before attempting to change it. Some people can quickly change their accents with little effort; others never manage it despite months of work and, possibly, spending a lot of money on an elecutionist. There is also the risk of alienating friends, who may feel that you are putting on airs.