Having a British accent makes a person sound smart, cool and sophisticated. There's something in the way Brits talk that makes you want to believe in everything they say. If you want to sound like you belong to a higher state in society or just to impress your office buddies, here are some reminders and steps you can follow to pick up the tone and adapt to the speech pattern.
Choose a Country. There are many regional accents in Great Britain, so a "British Accent" is really a general term. Select a country that you'd want to focus on to have a more specific type of accent. If you can't decide on a country, you can aim for a "generalized" Brit accent.
Listen. It's easier to learn accents by listening to people. Tune In to the BBC (British Broadcasting Channel) and observe how they pronounce certain words and how they use them in sentences. The BBC provides a more formal pitch and manner of speaking with the accent. You can also download audio files of British speakers and load them to your MP3 player for easier access. Hearing the actual words gives a better chance of the mouth producing the sounds compared to just reading about it.
Learn the Slang. Having the right slang is very important if you want to have a complete British accent. These are the terms you will use in daily conversations, so you must try and stop using your native language's slang and replace it with the British Slang. Here are some examples of British slang you can use in common conversations:
Lift - Elevator
Loo - Restroom
Petrol - Gas Station
Quid - A slang term for Currency (money)
Chips - French Fries
Crisps - Potato Chips
Snog - Kiss
Mate/Chum - friend
There are a lot of slang words that not many non-Brits know about, so it is recommended to have a British Slang dictionary for you to use as reference.
Enunciate. One reason why people look at the British accent as a sign of sophistication and intellect is because of the "clean and crisp" sound the accent provides. You should avoid relaxing on words and running them together. Be sure to enunciate your consonants clearly and provide emphasis especially if it's on the end. Example: put emphasis on the letter T on the word "want."
Record and repeat. The way you hear yourself while speaking may be different from how other people hear you. Record your practice sessions so you can concentrate on listening to the accent later. Make sure that you don't sound like someone who is trying to hard and that you don't overemphasize the accent. You can also make other people hear the recordings and ask them for their comments.
Test your accent. The best way to test your accent is to talk to a British native. He/She will catch your errors faster than anyone else. If a native is not available, you can settle for someone who has already learned and is adept on using the accent.
Having a good British accent doesn't come about overnight. It'll require a significant amount of time and effort before you'll be able to perfect it. One last piece of advice mate, Practice, Practice, Practice!
Having a good British accent may make you sound like a gentleman or a classy lady, but it is more important to actually be one. You can achieve this with respectable words and responsible actions.