British accent

Adrian   Sat Jul 15, 2006 10:28 pm GMT
Hello. I am American and I would like to learn the British accent. Can anyone explain how to do it using the step by step approach?
Brennus   Sat Jul 15, 2006 10:46 pm GMT
PBS television has a lot of British programming on it and so does the Canadian CBC - You might want to watch them short of a trip to England.
Chris   Sat Jul 15, 2006 10:51 pm GMT
1) First remember to over-enunciate each and every one of your words carefully and clearly. This is critical.
2) Open your mouth a little wider, and move your lips more.
3) Pronounce all your t's as [t].
4) Don't pronounce your r's at the end of syllables. You'll have to listen to a movie to get it right, or you'll sound like you have a Boston accent or something else. In the middle of words, such as, "very", pronounce the r as a "d" instead. Make sure you put an "r" where it doesn't belong: when one word ends with a vowel, and the next word starts with a vowel.
5) Round your lips when saying i's (as in "sit")
6) Pronounce "a" before [f], [T], [s], [nt], [ns], [ntS], [nd], [mp] as [A:], and elsewhere alternate between [a] and [E]. Example: at [at] or [Et].
7) Pronounce the "o" in cot as [Q].
8) Pronounce words such as caught, or saw with [O:]. Remember to really round your lips a lot, and drawl it out for a long time.
9) Pronounce the "o" in "mote", and the "ow" in "down", and the "ou" in "out" as [@U].
10) Pronounce the "oo" in "moon": start by saying [U], and then quickly say [u] after it.
11) Pronounce the "u" in "cup" as [a]
12) Pronounce the "ou" before "r" as [{:]
13) Pronounce hurry, and furry with [@].
14) Pronounce Mary, merry, and marry with [{].
15) Pronounce final -y (as in slowly) as [I].
16) Pronounce "what" as if it were spelt "hwot"
17) In words with an "o" following an "r" and a vowel, put a heavy emphasis on the "o", and pronounce the "r" and the next vowel as though it is part of another word: Example to-morrow should be pronounced as tuh-moe row, with the stress on the "moe".
18) Pronounce words like "there" as [I@] instead of [E@]. Exception: where: pronounce with [E@].
19) Use an intrusive "r". Example: "The idea ruv" for "the idea of"
20) Do not use a linking "r". For example: "The car is here": don't pronounce the r in car.


Presto! Now you have a British accent.
Pete   Sat Jul 15, 2006 10:54 pm GMT
Hi everyone. Why would an American try to pick an English accent?... Well for obvious reasons. Let's check some of 'em, shall we?

1.- Want to sound different from the rest of the people.

2.- Want to sound more sophisticated than an average American man.

3.- Want to get some advantage over some people by using this accent.

4.- In some way, try to sound more attractive and interesting by using this accent.

5.- Get yourself laid with girls more easily because of the accent (just check reasons 1,2,3,4)

Well, I guess that's it's evident. But, I may recommend to get an English girlfriend. Say... Someone with a very posh accent, maybe some snobbish girl from Oxford (Emma Watson kinda girl), but keep in mind that not everyone in Oxford really speaks like that. Don't pick up a Londoner accent, otherwise the rest of your countrymates will think you sound Australian even before you suggest that you have a kind of English accent.

And definitely don't try Cockney, that accent is unique, any attempt to imitate it usually sounds very... odd...

Regards

Pete
Chris   Sat Jul 15, 2006 10:59 pm GMT
Oh, and there are a few more changes such as aluminum being prounced as "aluminium". I'll see if I can find a list of other words that are pronounced differently.
Guest   Sat Jul 15, 2006 11:00 pm GMT
>> Pronounce Mary, merry, and marry with [{]. <<

I thought they weren't merged in English English?
Chris   Sat Jul 15, 2006 11:07 pm GMT
Oops. Forgot to add these features to the list.

21) Pronounce long-a as in "mate" as [aI].
22) Pronounce long-e as in "meet" alternating between [@I] and [EI].
23) Pronounce "eye" as [oI].
Pete   Sat Jul 15, 2006 11:12 pm GMT
<<2) Open your mouth a little wider, and move your lips more.>>

Actually, many people don't really move their lips, it's like they've got some sort of facial paralysis which is quite funny.

<<3) Pronounce all your t's as [t].>>

You should consider to make some glottal stops as well. Mainly, at the end of words, or in words like 'Scotland', they're more like " Sco'land ".

<<4) Don't pronounce your r's at the end of syllables. You'll have to listen to a movie to get it right, or you'll sound like you have a Boston accent or something else. In the middle of words, such as, "very", pronounce the r as a "d" instead. Make sure you put an "r" where it doesn't belong: when one word ends with a vowel, and the next word starts with a vowel.>>

Everything OK but the 'very' stuff. No English person says 'very' like 'vedy'. It's actually a sort of flap sound, like the Italian or Spanish 'r'. Besides that's a very ancient characteristic which has almost disappeared in most English dialects, so you might as well leave this one out. Pronounce 'very' as 'very' ^^ .

<<14) Pronounce Mary, merry, and marry with [{]. >>

??? No, no one in England pronounces those words with the same vowel. they all sounds different. 'merry' has got an 'eh' sound. 'Mary' and 'marry' may rhyme depending on the dialect, I'd say it would be something like a flat 'ah' sort of sound.

<<19) Use an intrusive "r". Example: "The idea ruv" for "the idea of" >>

Yes! that's true and I guess a kind of odd feature in non-rothic accents. It's also present in 'I saw (r)a lot her (r)in the last few days.' or 'The media (r)of...'. This one sounds strange to many English learners and sometimes funny to most North Americans. =)

Regards

Pete
Pete   Sat Jul 15, 2006 11:16 pm GMT
>>>> Pronounce Mary, merry, and marry with [{]. <<

I thought they weren't merged in English English?<<

Yeah, you're quite right. They aren't.
Chris   Sat Jul 15, 2006 11:51 pm GMT
24) "Yeah" should be pronounced as [jE], never [ja]
25) short-e's (as in set) should be pronounced as [@].
26) words like news, dew, or student should be pronounced with [ju].
???   Sun Jul 16, 2006 3:16 am GMT
"Make sure you put an "r" where it doesn't belong: when one word ends with a vowel, and the next word starts with a vowel"

I don't get it ! "Make sure you put an "r" where it doesn't belong" ?

I don't think that the way british sounds.

"when one word ends with a vowel, and the next word starts with a vowel"


???????????
Chris   Sun Jul 16, 2006 4:26 am GMT
>> I don't get it ! "Make sure you put an "r" where it doesn't belong" ? <<

What I meant was, to add an r in between the vowels so "the idea of" becomes the "idear of", or "America is" -> "Ameriker is".

>> I thought they weren't merged in English English?<<

Yeah, you're quite right. They aren't. <<

True, but if you pronounce all three as [{] and pronounce "eye" as [oI], etc. you will sound a little bit "other", which adds to being perceived as having an accent.

>> Besides that's a very ancient characteristic which has almost disappeared in most English dialects, so you might as well leave this one out. Pronounce 'very' as 'very' <<

That's too similar to the American pronunciation, so for an American to sound "other", they have to pronounce as many words differently as possible to help sustain the accent. Same principle as pronouncing long-e as [@I] and [EI], which is certainly not the pronunciation found in RP or Estuary.
Chris   Sun Jul 16, 2006 4:29 am GMT
27) Also do not merge words like Wales-Whales
Pete   Sun Jul 16, 2006 4:41 am GMT
<<>> I thought they weren't merged in English English?<<

Yeah, you're quite right. They aren't. <<

True, but if you pronounce all three as [{] and pronounce "eye" as [oI], etc. you will sound a little bit "other", which adds to being perceived as having an accent. >>

Wrong, those words don't have the same sound. That's what they mean by saying 'not merged'.

And pronouncing 'eye' like [oI] is a feature that is against your thesis of saying 'very' with a kind of a flap sound. You're mixing up features from a colloquial sub-urban English accent with a characteristic almost disappeared in a posh RP English accent.

The accent you propose is not consistent at all. It would sound really strange to me.

<<27) Also do not merge words like Wales-Whales>>

Wrong again. That's not a characteristic of most English accents. An Englishman says both 'Wales' and 'Whales' just the same. Interestingly, there are some places in Wales where some people are not merged and pronounce them differently.

I just can't see... What kind of accent are you trying to 'design'???
Justin   Sun Jul 16, 2006 11:58 am GMT
28) Use glottal stops to replace word-final T's.