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  1. #1
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    Default Learning an english accent - where to start?

    Despite my being born and growing up in the United States I have always liked and wanted to learn some form of English accent, maybe Received Pronunciation or Estuary English mainly because in my opinion, it just sounds better and I really want to try something new. My question would be, where should I start? What are some good resources (book, audio, internet) websites, and in general what are some good dos and don'ts? (and "don't try learning" doesn't count - I am actually planning on dedicating myself (as much as humanly possible without overkill and interference with my social life, or school work) to doing this.
    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Learning an english accent - where to start?

    Do it gradually and don't try to rush to the end result. Firstly, get as much exposure to it and get to hear the sounds in your head, then start moving closer and closer to them. I learned RP as a child, then much later went to live in London and slowly started absorbing the sounds around me.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Learning an english accent - where to start?

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    Do it gradually and don't try to rush to the end result.

    All the good things take their time to come. I have the patience and hope it serves me well.

    Are there some sources online that might provide a good listen to get exposure to the accent(s)?

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Learning an english accent - where to start?


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Learning an english accent - where to start?

    Do you plan to adopt RP as your new accent for everyday purposes?

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    Default Re: Learning an english accent - where to start?

    Quote Originally Posted by rogusx
    Do you plan to adopt RP as your new accent for everyday purposes?
    Yes, though eventually, I do plan a complete transition into an PR, or Estuary accent.

    tdol, thanks for the link, this really helps.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Learning an english accent - where to start?

    i do get agreed with your sstment........can u help me out, i want to get scholarship in one the gud unversites of London, woul u giud me?

  8. #8
    undeddy is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Learning an english accent - where to start?

    Hello!

    I've recorded myself reading one paragraph (~30 sec). If you had time and willingness to listen to it, I'd be very interested in hearing your comments about my accent (American or British accent does it resemble (at least from afar) more :)). What are the typical mistakes?

    P.S. I've uploaded mp3-file using easy-share.com. It's located here:click here (click free download).

    Thanks beforehand!
    Last edited by undeddy; 03-Jun-2009 at 15:21.

  9. #9
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    Exclamation Re: Learning an english accent - where to start?

    Quote Originally Posted by Travelsonic
    Despite my being born and growing up in the United States I have always liked and wanted to learn some form of English accent, maybe Received Pronunciation or Estuary English mainly because in my opinion, it just sounds better and I really want to try something new. My question would be, where should I start? What are some good resources (book, audio, internet) websites, and in general what are some good dos and don'ts? (and "don't try learning" doesn't count - I am actually planning on dedicating myself (as much as humanly possible without overkill and interference with my social life, or school work) to doing this.
    Thanks in advance.
    Well, as far as learning an English accent is concerned, especially when the Received Pronounciation/RP (also known as Queen's English or BBC English), you don't really have to bend over backwards (at least NOT literally ;) however, you'll for sure have to commit yourself towards it by working like a Trojan.

    Additionally, as in the case of learning ANYTHING, learning RP accent would ask for your genuine interest & intense passion & the time & effort you're willing to put into it.

    Since I tried to get an RP accent myself, in order to get rid of my own rather strong & frankly pathetic Midlands accent (regional accent), I see myself in the state where I'm getting closer to sounding similar to BBC's English (close, but NO cigar, as yet).

    In fact, I've looked into accent to the extent that I've developed interest in Phonetics along with many regional accent within the UK along with the international accent, including American accent.

    The amount of time & effort would be linked with how strong your present American accent in itself is.

    Other than the link provided, try http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Received_pronunciation to enlighten yourself bit further about the RP accent itself.

    Now the interesting thing about British & American accent is the fact that regardless of having vowel & consonant articulation exactly the same (i.e. produced the same way by positioning the tongue at the same place), there are CERTAIN sounds in RP accent which DOES NOT exist in American accent at all, as you may notice from this article.

    For example, "cot" and "caught" has EXACTLY THE SAME vowel in "Standard American" accent, but in RP both has different vowel i.e. cot having "o" and caught having "O:". Additionally, RP is a "broad A" accent & hence words like "bath", "chance", etc. would have "long A" sound i.e. "A:" (as it's represented in Phonetics). So, in American accent, "hat" and "bath" will have same vowel, while in RP accent "hat" would have different vowel (same vowel as in American accent) and "bath" would have diferent (broad A).

    You may find it little hard to understand the difference between the sounds of "o" (small letter") and "O:" (capital letter with a colon) & hence you need to get yourself aware of the different "Phonetic" symbol. Once you get a good grip on the "Phonetic symbols" (AGAIN, available in 2 different format & hence little "difficult" for a complete beginner like yourself, I'm afraid but NOT impossible, I must stress), you could then delve into basic rules about WHEN to use WHICH sounds, which as the time goes by, you'll learn more & more.

    You most certainly would find http://dictionary.cambridge.org/ very useful since it provides the "Phonetic symbol" (the way words are pronounced) in BOTH British and American English, so you could compare the difference in pronounciation of each word. To start-off with for example, in American accent "caught" is pronounced as "cA:t" while in British accent it gets pronounced as "cO:t". But as the time goes by, you'll be interested in knowing the differences in NOT JUST the accent but also the pronunciation rules such as the word "Privacy" gets pronounced as "praI.v@.si" while in British accent, the same word gets pronounced as "prI.v@.si".

    Because of widely seen as standard British accent, resources are redily available over the Internet along with many books dedicated to RP accent, regardless of the fact that, less than 3% of British population speaks with RP accent.

    Now, there are LOADS & LOADS of things that can be explored & course the MORE you explored the more you'll be find it intrigued. Because of VAST AMOUNT of things that needs exploring, it might confuse you a little being a complete beginner, as WHERE to start. So, all you need is a push in the right direction.

    It would be inconceivable to TYPE explain any further & hence confuse you even further, but if you're seriously committed towards it, you've an option to speak to me over the Phone & once you get pointed in the right direction, you can delve into it by yourself, in your own time without any guidance.

    Anything else you wish to clearify, you may either post your reply here or send a private message or try calling me on the number that I could provide you with, later on.

    While I'm here, let me give you some very basic & easy to grasp rules about RP accent (esp. in the sense how it differs from the American accent, making it easier for your to identify the difference).

    >> RP accent is a "non-rhotic accent" i.e. NEVER has "r" sound occuring in any word (pair, cordon, George, murder, etc.), UNLESS it gets followed by a "vowel sound" (pair of, cordon off, George is, Romeo, etc.)
    >> RP accent has diphthong "@U" sound wherever American accent has "OU", so words like "go", "phone", "won't", etc. would have diphthong "aU/@U" instead of "OU".

    Once you master these basic rules, in order to make yourself sound MORE British with a REAL "posh" RP accent, you'll have to master the communication, I'm afraid (as if what I already mentioned isn't enough). For example, you'll have to skip using the words like "geezer, whatup", etc. i.e. NO "street language" allowed in RP. If your passion doesn't stop here & wish to "Anglicise" yourself even further, then get yourself aware of British culture by remembering:

    >> keep yourself at arms length with a complete stranger (no uninvited touching)
    >> Love your own personal space & respect others'
    >> NEVER EVER speak loud
    >> Politeness is a must
    >> Never be RUDE but instead be SARCASTIC or little cunning in your approach (a core element in being British ;)
    >> Hence, never dismiss the "cold-caller" rudely & instead be polite saying "I'm terribly sorry, but I'm rather occupied with something else"
    >> Give considerable importance to table manners, etiquette & manners.
    >> Try using "Bloody" as an expression of annoyance as opposed to anything more offensive ;)
    >> Last but MOST IMPORTANT ................. despise the miserable British weather every now & then (often an ice-breaker).

    >> Remember, you want to be seen as somewhere closer to James Bond and NOT Austin Powers ;) (NOT even if you're in a bed with a dominatrix ;)

    Remember, when it comes to learning something there's NO such thing as "impossible". If Mike Myers can learn British accent to play Austin Powers and Rennee Zelwegger can get a good grip of British accent to play Bridget Jones................... SO CAN YOU.
    Last edited by j4mes_bond25; 23-May-2006 at 19:26.

  10. #10
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    Exclamation Re: Learning an english accent - where to start?

    Try this fan-bloody-tastic website, showing the vowel articulation in American & British accent.

    http://www.paulmeier.com/ipa/diphthongs.html

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