The accents of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are all different and with a little practice you can start talking with one of them and sound like a Brit. With the accents also come particular features that will have to be reproduced to give a sincere effect. The following indications apply for "the English of the Queen" or what is called "received pronunciation", it is a way of speaking which does not exist too much in the United Kingdom nowadays, but it represents the stereotypical accent that foreigners imagine the English have.
Step 1. Start with the "r's"
Understand that most Brits don't roll the "r's" (apart from those from Scotland, Northumbria, Northern Ireland and parts of Lancashire), but not all British accents are the same. For example, there are a lot of differences between a Scottish accent and an English accent.
Step 2. Pronounce the "u" as in "stupid" or as in "duty" with the sound of "ew."
Avoid doing the "oo" like in the American accent. So pronounce "stewpid", not "stoopid" etc. With the basic English accent, the "a" (for example in "father") is pronounced with the back of the mouth and the throat open, this gives a sound of "arh". This is the case in the vast majority of British accents, but particularly magnified in the Queen's English. In the south of England and in Queen's English, words such as "bath", "path", "grass", and "glass" are also pronounced with this vowel sound. However, in other parts of Great Britain the words "bath", "path" etc. sound like an "ah".
Step 3. Articulate words with strong consonants
Pronounce the "t" in "duty" like a "t": not like the American "d" in "doody", so as to pronounce "duty" "dewty" or softer, "jooty". Pronounce the suffix "-ing 'with an accented" g ". This should sound like" -ing "rather than" -een ". But sometimes this is shortened to" in "as in" lookin"
The words "human being" are pronounced "hewman being" or "yooman been" in some areas, although they can also be pronounced "hewman bee-in"
Step 4. Forget the "t's"
In some accents, the "t's" are not pronounced at all, especially in words with a double t. So "battle" can be pronounced "ba-eull", keeping the air behind the tongue at the end of the first syllable before expelling it during the pronunciation of the second. This is called the glottal stop.
People with the South East English accent, Queen's accent, and Scottish, Irish, and Welsh accents find not saying the "t's" both rude and a sign of laziness, and in these accents, we don't. But in almost all accents, it's okay to do this sometimes in the middle of certain words, and it's almost universal to put a glottal stop at the end of a word
Step 5. Additional remark from an American theater specialist:
Americans make glottal stops all the time: bu-on instead of "button", "mou-ian" instead of "mountain). However, the British think that people who talk like scum or with the cockney accent make glottal stops.
Step 6. Note that the "h" is still pronounced
The "h" is pronounced in the word "herb", unlike the American "erb".
Step 7. Say "bean", not "bin"
Understand that some words require the sound "ee" to be pronounced, as in the word "been". With the American accent, this sound is often pronounced "bin". With the English accent, "been" is a more common pronunciation, but "bin" can sometimes be heard in casual conversations when the word is not particularly stressed.
Step 8. Listen to the “melody” of the language
All accents and dialects have their own musicalities. Pay attention to which syllables the British stress and their tone. Do sentences usually end on a high note, with no change in pitch of the voice or a lower note? What variation of tone is there in a typical sentence? There are immense variations in tonality between regions. The British accent, and especially the Queen's English, generally has much less variation in a sentence than the American accent, and the general tendency is to lower the voice slightly towards the end of sentences. However, the accent of Liverpool and that of the North East of England are notable exceptions!
Step 9. Have a British person say well-known phrases
"How now brown cow and" The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain "and be very careful. Round vowels produced with the mouth, like" about in London ", are generally smoothed out in Northern Ireland.
Step 10. Notice that two (or more) vowels put aside can add an extra syllable
The word "road" for example, would normally be pronounced "rohd", but in Wales and some people in Northern Ireland it may be pronounced "ro.ord".
- As with any accent, listening to and imitating a native speaker is the best and fastest way to learn. Remember that when you were little you learned a language by listening to it and repeating words while imitating the accent.
- In some very strong local accents there is a tendency to replace "th" with "ff" - "through" can sound like "froo", and "birthday" can be pronounced "birfday". Billie Piper in "Doctor Who" speaks this way.
- When you say "at all", pronounce "a tall" but with the British accent.
- When you were a child, your ear's ability to register different sound frequencies was better, allowing you to distinguish and reproduce the sounds of the language spoken around you. To effectively learn a new accent, you need to improve your ear capacity by listening to examples of the accent over and over again.
- When in doubt, check out Monty Python or Doctor Who. Watching Harry Potter can help too.
- There are hundreds of different accents in the UK, so categorizing them all as "British accent" is pretty incorrect, wherever you go you will find an incredible diversity of pronunciations.
- In addition to the accent, also pay attention to slang which includes words like "lads" or "blokes" to mean boys and men, "birds" or "lasses" (in the north of England and Scotland) to say women. "Loo" for the toilet, but "bathroom" for the room where you clean yourself.
- Many places have different peculiar traits and different uses of words. Look in an online British dictionary for more British terms. Remember that beyond the obvious differences like tap / faucet or pavement / sidewalk, locals will find you great fun at best and at worst look down on you if you try to adopt their particular local words and traits.
- Once you learn the techniques and listen to some Brits speaking, try reading book excerpts with the dialect. It's fun and it gets you going.
- Another way to train your English, Welsh, Scottish or Irish accent would be to watch and follow a UK news anchor in particular by mimicking the way they speak. If you do this for half an hour a day, it will dramatically improve the way you speak in just a few weeks.
- Pronounce everything clearly and articulate each word carefully, making sure you space your words out.
- Don't learn more than one accent at a time. Indeed, the South East accent is very different from the Newcastle accent, for example, and you will quickly have a hard time finding your way around.
- You may have heard of the Cockney accent (from the east part of London) before. This accent is disappearing in the 21st century, but if you have to emulate it, note that the words are almost sung and almost replace vowels and remove letters. For example, the "a" in "change" will sound like an "i". Movies from Dickensian books, but also books like "My Fair Lady" can show examples of this accent.
- The Queen's English is not named after her for no reason, listen to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II speak for yourself. It would be good to listen to her at the Opening Ceremony of Parliament, where she always gives a very long speech: the perfect opportunity to observe her way of speaking.
- Also, one of the English words which is a prime example of accent differences is the word "water". In the UK it will be pronounced "war-tah". In the United States, it will sound more "wa-der".
- Remember: the accents of Julie Andrews or Emma Watson (Hermione from Harry Potter), who speaks the Queen's English, are very different from that of Jamie Oliver or Simon Cowell (Southern English). is, probably the most common accent in the south of England and which falls somewhere between Cockney and Queen's English) or that of Billy Connolly (Glasgow accent).
- Always use British words if they differ from American words. The British tend to be protective of their differences. In particular, say "rubbish" and "tap" and not "trash" and "faucet". Also, it is good (but not essential) to say "schedule" with a "sh_" sound, and not a "sk_" sound, but you must learn to say "specialty" in 5 syllables and not in 3 (spec. -al-i-ty).
- It is easier to learn accents by listening to people. A formal British accent can often be heard on BBC news. Formal British is more deliberate and articulate than American, but as with news presenters everywhere, this effect is deliberately exaggerated for television and radio purposes.
- Try to imagine that you have a plum in your mouth. When pronouncing the vowels, try to keep the tongue as low as possible in your mouth, while opening your mouth as much as possible. Speak as normally as possible (not stupidly). The placement of the tongue, combined with the extra resonance should create a good start to a "false" British accent.
- So don't talk not "with the nose", so don't use your adenoids to talk.
- Think about those who are listening to you. If you really want to make it look like you're British you have to take the regions into consideration and work a lot harder than if you just wanted to take the accent for a role in a school play.
- If you want to get more recent examples of the British accent, watch episodes of series like 'Eastenders' or 'Only Fools and Horses.' People always talk like that, especially the working classes in east London, and in parts of Essex and Kent, but the accent is much stronger in older people.
- If you are visiting England, the universities of Oxford and Cambridge are among the last bastions of the Queen's traditional English. However, more and more students in these cities speak with accents from all over Britain and around the world and the natives of the towns and regions around speak with their own local accents (which are often very strong). They'd be upset if you thought they spoke with a "stereotypical British accent", so don't fall into the common trap of thinking that the Oxfordshire and Cambridgeshire accent are the Queen's English.
- If you develop the capacity of your ear, speaking will come automatically. When the ear can "hear" a sound, the mouth is more likely to reproduce it.
- Take a trip to the UK and listen closely to how people are talking.
- Try to make an English friend to call!
- Visit London, where the British accent is lighter than in other areas.
- Don't overestimate your own British accent. It's rare to find an imitation that sounds truly authentic in a Briton's ear.
- Don't narrow your mouth too tightly when saying words that contain an "a", such as "shark" or "luck". The result might sound like a South African accent. The word "shark" should be pronounced more like "shock".
- Don't think it will come quickly. A Briton will probably understand that you are imitating right away, but this can be overlooked by non-Brits.
- The cockney accent (as in the movie "My Fair Lady") is rare in modern British. Television gives the idea that this is the main accent, but it is not a very common accent. (As said above, it still exists, especially among older people, and a lighter version, known as Southeast English still exists in important ways.)