How To Learn Accents
This film is designed to show you how to learn an accent. This guide will help you in a way of speaking typical of a particular group of people and especially of the natives or residents of a region.
How to learn accents. Accents are fun, and the good news is that actually, though some people are better mimics than others, most people can learn to do an accent. The trick is to treat it a bit like an actor. Actors spend a lot of time at drama school learning how to break an accent down because actually, it's not really enough just a mimic unless you are really good, of course, because there are some sounds that you may not actually have in your accent but it's going to be difficult to produce unless you work out what's happening. So, I am going to give you a step-by-step guide to researching and learning about an accent so that you can do it with confidence. The first thing to do and is what actors are always advised to do - is to get out there and find people who speak with that accent. You go to do a bit of field research so, say, if you are having to learn a London accent, if you could get to London and find people who are a bit like the accents that you want to say, you need to learn an east end accent well, you want to get down to east end of London and sit in a pub and listen and talk to people if you could, you don't even need to tell them that you are learning the accent, just have a chat. And the first thing to notice is what their face is doing because often, accents are produced by what's called placement so, for example, a London accent has quite a lot nasality and you can tell it's called nasality because you can see the lines of the face, the lines of the nose show up in nasal accents and that means the sound is heading down the nose and that produces of right particular resonance. So, if you can, if you can catch someone's face, you can start to really get a sense of what the accent is doing. You also want to be noticing, is there a tight jaw? Are their lips rounded? So, around and sound is quite, you know, received pronunciation looks a bit more like this and a London sound has more of a white face and you would notice if it is a round face, is it white face, it's the nasality. You also want to start to notice the pace of speech, that they are going very fast, and they are going slow, what's the intonation pattern? Do they go up or do they go down because that will really help you and that's something you need to get right if you have to get the accent fully. So, that' your field research and really, that's just noticing, absorbing and then starting to get a sense what the accent feels like. The next step, if you are taking it seriously, is to record someone speaking with that accent. Now, if you don't want to go all that way to do it, then you can buy online tapes of, say, a Brooklyn accent or a London accent and they are definitely used for but it's nothing better than going off and finding someone real to record because if you are playing a character and you need a 42-year-old republican from Bow in London, then it might be worth going to find someone with that specific sound. They are going to give you a really detailed breakdown of the accent. So, the trick to do is to get off the internet, the rainbow passage which is a passage that has all the sounds of English within it, and you get someone to read that text and you record them and then when you get home, you listen to that over and over again, and you start to copy what they are doing. If you do that, you will learn all the sounds right. It's also worth taking about 20 sentences and again, you can take them off the internet or there is a very good book called How to Do Accents by Edda Sharpe which is worth buying and that gives you a whole set of sentences that you can get someone to read to you and if you learn those sentences, it really helps you with the accent. I am giving you an example, when I learned Judy, I had to have a sentence which said “P.A Beasley is a bit ugly but he scores a lot of goals” and although I still don't do a great Judy, it does help me get into it. And if you have a sentence like that, it will just kick you into the accent when you need it. So, you have got to do your research, you have then got to really get some core text that you can repeat and repeat and repeat, then you go home and it really is just repetition. Some people get a straighter way, my experience with most people is that it takes time. Each day, you need to do some accent practice and if you keep repeating what happens, the accent starts to drop down into your unconscious and particularly if you are performing a character, you do not want to have to be thinking about that accent, you need to be thinking about the other people on stage with you. So, get the accents so you don't have to think about it by repetition. And then, I will say the final piece once you have done the practice is to get someone with that accent to listen to you and to correct you because there is always so much detail to an accent that however much you practice, there's probably something that you are missing and it's well worth getting someone to criticize you and just give you a few pointers. So, those are my top tips for doing an accent, doing some field work, record a speaker saying the accent, get those sentences down and get yourself home, practice, practice, practice and then finally get someone to criticize you and give you a few pointers too, really fantastic, and if you do that, you will get the accent.