Acquiring a BRP accent?

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JLanguage

Senior Member
USA: American English, Learning Hebrew and Spanish
How would I go about acquiring a BRP accent? I've been listening to some British broadcasts, and have been working on my accent, but my British friend still tells me my accent is horrible.

What do you guys suggest?

Thanks,
-Jonathan.
 
  • LizzieUSA

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Do you have cable? You could watch BBC America for an hour a day and try immitating the news anchors. That might help.

    Maybe your British friend could help by telling you exactly where your BRP accent fails.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Your friend might be being too harsh. I understand that there is a black US comedian who's gag is to do a "posh" English accent, but to us (posh or not) it sounds silly because it is so obvious that it is not right. I can't think of the example, but I'm sure there is the same example the other way round, eg a British comedian doing a US accent that we think is hilarious that yanks think is nothing like.

    Anyway my point is your accent might be better than you think. Why exactly do you want to have a british accent? All joking apart, there really is no such thing any way. It is a useful term to compare to the US accent(s) bu to our ears the Welsh-Scottish-South England-North England etc etc accents are very different (eg deputy dog, Joey from friends, dubya for example in US terms)
     

    JLanguage

    Senior Member
    USA: American English, Learning Hebrew and Spanish
    timpeac said:
    Your friend might be being too harsh. I understand that there is a black US comedian who's gag is to do a "posh" English accent, but to us (posh or not) it sounds silly because it is so obvious that it is not right. I can't think of the example, but I'm sure there is the same example the other way round, eg a British comedian doing a US accent that we think is hilarious that yanks think is nothing like.
    I'm sure there are Brits that can do authentic American accents and Americans that can do authentic BRP accents.
    timpeac said:
    Anyway my point is your accent might be better than you think. Why exactly do you want to have a british accent? All joking apart, there really is no such thing any way. It is a useful term to compare to the US accent(s) bu to our ears the Welsh-Scottish-South England-North England etc etc accents are very different (eg deputy dog, Joey from friends, dubya for example in US terms)
    I want a British accent just because it stands out a lot to Americans. i think my accent was just bad in that it was still too American-sounding.

    That's why I didn't say a British accent, I said British Received Pronunciation. I know that exists.

    Maybe I'll get a microphone and record some of my (sorry) attempts so that you Brits here can comment.
     

    ameridude

    Member
    USA/English
    Are you an actor? Radio voice-over guy?

    If you're an American who intends on using a British accent in your everyday life, you'll come across as a complete tool. In the US for sure. Probably in Britain also, since they'll surely realize your accent isn't authentic.

    p.s. accents aren't that hard to do. You just need repeated exposure to British television, movies, radio, etc.
     

    Isotta

    Senior Member
    English, Hodgepodge
    Also, to speak in the general realm of English accent-dom as an American, it means that you must push your speech forward to the front of your mouth. Americans speak more in the back of the mouth, which explains the fact that in the old days English actors used to smile when speaking to feign an American accent, because smiling pushes the mouth formations back. I have had both accents before because I lived between the two countries all my life, and your mouth feels different when you articulate almost any sound from one to the other. So that's big difference number one.

    Number two is that you must listen for more than the obvious differences. For example, a theoretical Englishman will say "American," while an American will pronounce it "Amerikin." Americans don't hear the difference and tend to accentuate the wrong things.

    I hope that's not too abstract or soupy.

    Good luck with whatever you plan to use it for--

    Isotta.
     

    MadTomVane

    Member
    USA English
    Here's the best advice you're ever going to get: when you're watching British TV and such, pay attention to individual vowel sounds and imitate them. And remember, words you pronounce with the same vowel might have different vowels in the accent you're trying to imitate. It would take forever to go into the finer points of broad-a's and such, so just remember to actively listen and pay attention to the sounds you hear.
     

    Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Record yourself repeating phrases you've heard on such broadcasts, then listen and correct yourself as you go.
     
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