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How to speak in a British accent


Accents specific to England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, as well as Wales differ from each other and once you start practicing you can start using the accent, which seems to come naturally to you. You will also have to master the mannerisms to match the accent as they play a vital role in making the cycle complete. Here we share some information on “Queen’s English” which is no longer in use in the present day UK. However the foreigners still stick to this stereotypical view of the manner in which the British communicate.

 

Begin with the Rs: Be aware of the fact that usually people using the British accent never roll out the Rs. However people from Scotland, Northern Ireland, Northumbria, and some parts of Lancashire do roll out the Rs. Remember that British accents differ from region to region. For instance a person with a Scottish accent will speak differently as compared to a person with an English accent. Never pronounce the letter ‘R’ if it occurs after a vowel. Instead stress on the vowel and add “uh” to it. (The word ‘Here’ needs to be pronounced as ‘heeuh’). In case of some words like ‘hurry’ you do not have to mix the letter R with the vowel. Rather you will pronounce it as ‘huh-ree’.

Use the ew sound to pronounce U in words like Stupid and Duty

American accents never stress on ‘oo’. Hence stupid is pronounced as ‘stewpid’ or even ‘schewpid’. It is incorrect to pronounce it as ‘stoopid’. Likewise we pronounce Duty as ‘dewty’ or even ‘jooty’. The universal English accent for the letter A in words such as father need to be pronounced from the back of your mouth while keeping your throat open. You will hear the sound ‘Arh’. This is common to most British accents, however in the case of RP it is more pronounced. Southern England as well as RP uses the vowels to pronounce words such as ‘bath’, ‘path’, ‘glass’, ‘grass’ etc. But in the other regions of Britain you will be able to find the pronunciation similar to “ah”.

 

Pronounce the heavy consonant words

Unlike the American accent, where the letter T is pronounced as D (Duty- doody), the British pronounce the T as it is. Hence the correct way to pronounce Duty is dewty or even jooty. Stress on the letter G when the words are suffixed with ing. However at times you can skip the letter G and simply pronounce it as ‘in’ (lookin)

 

Skip the Ts. A couple of British accents simply skip the Ts while the American accents replace the letter T with D, but with a short pause in between. This pause is called the glottal stop. For instance the word battle may be pronounced as Ba-ill where you need to catch the air at the back of the tongue when the first syllable ends and then later expel it before you pronounce the second syllable.

Some words are spoken the way they are written

While pronouncing words such as ‘herb’ you need to use the H sound, while in words like ‘often’ we pronounce it as ‘off tin’. The correct pronunciation for ‘Been’ is ‘Bean’ and not ‘bin’ or ‘ben’. The word ‘again’ can be broken into ‘a gain’ and in the word ‘renaissance’ can be broken into ‘run nay sänce’ where the ai is the sound used in pain and not in said. While pronouncing words which end with ‘body’, stress on the British short O sound.

 

Note that we don’t regularly pronounce the letter H

 

When it comes to words like ‘herb’ the British accent will make use of the H sound while the American accent will conveniently skip the same and enunciate ‘herb’ as ‘erb’. Yet, often most British accents tend to omit the letter H if it occurs at the starting of the word. This is especially evident in the Northern and Cockney accents.

 

Pronounce the word been as “bean” It is typical for people with American accents to pronounce the word been as ‘bin’. However in contract the British accent is more pronounced and here we pronounce the word as ‘bean’.

 

Focus on the modulations of the language

Every accent has its own tone and voice modulation. This is the true music of the language. You need to focus on this tome and stress words which are used by the people with British accents. Observe whether the sentences usually end on a note higher or lower than the rest of the sentence or do they follow the same note? How much variation is permissible in a common sentence? The tone differs from region to region. Unlike the American accents, British speech often does not modulate a lot in a sentence. The common pattern is to lower the tone a bit at the end of the phrase. But you will notice a marked difference in the accents of the people of Liverpool or north east England.

Seek help from a British native

Ask any person who is well versed with the British accents to repeat the sentences “how now brown cow” or even “The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain”. You need to focus on the modulation words. In some dialects the vowels tend to be rounded (about). This accent is typically heard in London, while in Northern Ireland it is considerably more flattened.

 

Combining more than one vowel will produce an extra syllable

For instance, the apt pronunciation for the word ‘road’ is ‘rohd’. However people from Wales or Northern Ireland often pronounce it as ro.ord while yet others pronounce it as ‘reh-uud’.

Guidelines

  • In the British accent, you need to pronounce the words ‘at all’ as ‘a tall’.
  • Pay heed to the slang words along with the accents. Boys and are called lads or even blokes while women are informally addressed as birds or lasses. The toilet is often referred to as the loo while the bathroom indicates a room where you need to clean or bathe in.
  • If you are confused watch Monty Python or Doctor Who. It will also be beneficial if you watch Harry Potter.
  • After you have mastered the techniques you need to start listening to native British speakers and start reading sections of books. Focus on the correct pronunciation. It is really interesting and helpful.
  • Listening will surely help you to master the accents accurately. Listening to the BBC news will help you to master the formal British manner of speaking. Formal British words are more clearly pronounced as compared to American words. However as is common with most newscasters around the globe the impact is often exaggerated purposely.
  • Try using more of British words. Avoid using American words like faucet or trash. Rather use their British English words Tap or rubbish. Pronounce the word ‘schedule’ with a ‘sh’ sound and not a ‘sk’ sound. While pronouncing the word ‘specialty’, ensure that you use 5 syllables (spe-cial-i-ty).
  • Try to imitate the accent of a native speaker as this is the apt way to master the accent. You may recall that as a child you mastered the language by merely listening and repetition of the words you heard around you.
  • Hear when the British people speak. This will enhance your vocabulary.
  • As a kid, you are better equipped to process sounds of varying frequencies. This was very useful to identify the various sounds used in the language. You need to develop good listening skills to master any new accent.
  • Once your listening ability has been tuned then it becomes simpler to speak. Once the ears are able to distinguish the sound then you have a better chance of being able to imitate or reproduce it.

 

The above article is written by Native English Tutor Wonderland. No copyright infringement is allowed. Please respect copyright and show the URL and source of the article if you want to make use of the above article. Thanks

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