There’s just something about the British accent – a romance, the tingle of a lost time, that out-dated but oh-so-delectable lilt [pleasant accent]. The Queen’s English accent has long been a coveted inflection, but we all know that the cockney slang of any Guy Ritchie movie is just as endearing. I feel the same as a kid with candy, or a girl with puppies – I want one. Voted (continuously) as the most desirable accent in the world, the question now is: how do I get one?
Here are some ways to obtain or improve on only the crispiest way of speaking:
Know Your Differences
Like any accent, the British has a number of drawls and dialects, according to region. Get to know them. Know what the Scottish rrrrolling of the R’s sounds like, how the singsong of the Welsh hits your ears; make a note of the slang. Listen to the differences between Newcastle and Cambridge – it sometimes sounds like the difference between two countries!
Which brings me to my next point: Know what English sounds like in America, in Australia, in South Africa. The better you know the language as a whole – and are able to differentiate between the different kinds – the easier picking up the nuances [differences] in British English will be.
Watch Something British
For the British lovers out there your options are endless. Looking to hone [perfect] the posh London accent? Rent a few James Bond classics. If you’re more into a severe (and hysterical) Cockney slur, take a glance at Only Fools and Horses. There is a movie for every accent you could ever desire. Take some time out of your day, make a bowl of popcorn, sit back, turn on the telly [television], and enjoy a good two hours of entertainment.
Movies and TV shows provide us with both visual and aural aids for learning. From everything from Harry Potter, to Dr Who, to Sherlock Holmes, to Snatch, and the best part is, it doesn’t even feel like studying!
Check out this clip that shows the difference between indecipherable British, country British and London British:
Imitate Absolutely Everything
An accent, at its very core, is an act of imitation. Some people pick them up easily – they head off for a two-week trip to Jamaica and come back sounding like Bob Marley. Others need to work at it. The best way to perfect your accent is to listen and absorb whatever you can get your hands (or ears!) on. Podcasts, audio books, an old Rolling Stones album, a new One Direction album, a timeless Beatles album, Monty Python reruns. And then practice. Stand in front of a mirror, recorder in hand, and talk, talk, talk. Play it back to yourself, laugh at how ridiculous your own voice sounds, and do it all over again.
There are countless options to improve on a British accent – make sure your language level is up to scratch, play a few games, find a Skype friend to test your newly-perfected imitations on, or if all else fails, break into that nest egg you had saved up, hop on a plane, and commit yourself to drowning your ears in the best accent in the world!