How to Use a Convincing Accent
As you travel the globe or walk through your hometown, keep your ear to the ground and listen to the unique accents around you. An accent refers to the various sounds of a language that is unique to a group of people, their region, and their cultural influences. Learning to recreate a particular accent can be a great tool to understand a language or a community. It can also be a lot of fun! Whether you’re learning an accent to audition for a play or you just want to learn a new skill, be sure to research the accent and practice its unique sounds. You’ll sound like a natural in no time!
Researching a Dialect
Select the accent you wish to mimic.There are many reasons why you may wish to learn how to speak in a different accent. Perhaps you love the sound of an Irish accent, or maybe you are auditioning for a role that requires that you speak with a Russian accent. Decide what would be the most interesting, useful, and fun accent or dialect to learn and develop. Learning a new accent can be fun, but it can also be a helpful tool for a job or for school!
- If you are a linguistics student, understanding how language works and how various dialects and accents develop is important. Learning how other accents function and understanding how particular sounds are made can help you thoroughly understand your subject.
- If you are a theatre student or a professional actor, you have most likely performed in or studied a Shakespearean play. To prepare to audition for the part of Romeo or to land the part of Ophelia, try practicing a British accent.
Listen to native speakers.After you have chosen an accent to study, listen to native speakers to develop a thorough understanding of the accent’s unique sounds, patterns, and nuances. Search online for video and audio samples. Listen to interviews or radio broadcasts and watch movies or television shows. Surround yourself with various media produced by native speakers so that you can become familiar with how the accent should sound.
- Spanish that is spoken in Madrid and the northern part of Spain is called Castilian. Castilian has unique sounds that differentiates it from other forms of Spanish, which includes pronouncing "ci" and "ce" as "th" When you say "gracias" in Madrid, for example, it sounds like "gratheas."Listen for this sound next time you hear a native Spanish speaker conversing!
- When watching a video of a native speaker, pay close attention to the way in which the speaker moves their mouth. The shape that their mouth makes will influence the sound.
- Listen for particular sounds that are often repeated.
Study the slang.Each regional dialect or accent has its own unique set of jargon that its speakers use in day-to-day interactions. Become familiar with your chosen accent’s colloquialisms and incorporate those terms into your speech. Being aware of and properly using the everyday slang and vernacular will make your accent seem more authentic and believable.
- The U.S. has a wide variety of accents and slang terms across its many regions. Speakers in the Appalachian region, for example, may use the term “reckon” to mean “to suppose” or “to consider.” A person may say, “I reckon I could come over for dinner this evening.”Find out the slang terms used in your chosen accent or dialect and discover how they are used in commonplace conversations.
- In Scotland, the word “bonnie” is often used to describe something that is pretty or lovely. Incorporate popular and frequently used words into your speech when you are practicing your accent.
Practicing Your Accent
Chat with a native speaker.Chatting with a native speaker is a great way to learn about the subtleties and nuances of a particular accent. Your brain will pick up on the unique sounds of the accent and, before you know it, you will be mimicking some of those sounds without intending to. The human brain subconsciously notices and reproduces the accent and speech patterns it hears as a way to empathize and bond with the speaker.The more often you immerse yourself in conversation with a native speaker, the stronger you will become at mimicking their accent.
Mimic the sounds and shape of the vowels.When practicing your chosen dialect, pay close attention to the vowel sounds. Vowel sounds are created by the flow of unobstructed air moving from the throat through the mouth. Different vowel sounds are created by the shape a person’s mouth makes while speaking. Each language, dialect, and accent has unique ways of shaping its vowels to produce its unique sound. Try to reproduce the sounds of the vowels by altering the shape of your mouth when speaking.
- A Bostonian accent is an American accent where the vowels are often manipulated to produce unique sounds. For example, the vowel “a” is often described as sounding broad precisely because that is what the mouth does to create that particular sound. To get the long “a” or “ah” sound, stretch the corners of your mouth to the sides as the air passes through your lips.
Practice in front of a mirror.Watch yourself in the mirror when you are practicing your accent. Pay attention to the way your mouth moves to create vowels and how various shapes can influence the sound. Try to mimic the movements and expressions of a native speaker.
Read aloud.Practice your accent by reading various written material out loud. Read through the material silently and imagine how the words would sound if spoken in a particular accent. Once you are familiar with the passage, read it aloud to yourself. Make notes when you struggle with a particular word or sound.
- Record yourself when you are reading aloud. Listen to the recording once you have finished, and pay attention to sounds that may need improvement.
Work with a qualified coach.If you wish to hone and perfect your accent, consider hiring a qualified dialect or accent coach.Searching online can help generate a list of coaches in your area. Theaters often employ dialect coaches for particular productions. See if the local actors and directors in your area have recommendations for a coach.
- Depending on your location, a dialect coach can cost anywhere between to 0 per hour or session.
QuestionCan I learn a new accent without losing/seriously changing my original accent?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, you can, but it takes years of practice.Thanks!
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