The cool, crisp tones of a British accent are often impressive and sound sophisticated to the more casual American listener. If you want to speak in a British accent to impress your friends, there are some steps you can take to pick up the tone and speech pattern. Follow these steps and you will be on your way.
- Listen to a British speaker. Start by identifying the Brit you want to emulate. There is more than one British accent. Like American accents, there are geographical differences that a true Brit would pick up on. To make your accent seem more real, decide whether to copy a Londoner or someone from a country region. The easiest method is to select the public figure whose accent you admire then get recordings of them speaking whether in movies or on the news. Consider listening to the BBC for the more formal tone and style.
- Learn the slang. No accent works if you don’t have the right slang. Learn the words you may use in common conversation including bugger, loo, shag, lads, blokes and lasses.
- After listening to a British speaker, repeat their words. Practice repeating what you hear. Focus not just on the accent you hear but the pace and tone of the words. Capturing the essence of any accent requires that you pay attention to the little details.
- Stress enunciation of consonants. One of the reasons that Americans are often considered to have a drawl (even when not from the South) is that we tend to relax our words and run sounds together without clearly pronouncing them. Brits are more likely to enunciate and for example, have a strong T sound especially when the letter T is at the end of a word. This strong T gives the Brits their clipped sound.
- Record your practice. After you’ve run through a few practice sessions, start recording yourself. The way we sound to our own ears is usually different from the way we sound to others. The only way to hear the way others hear you is to record your practice sessions then play them back. Listen for the accent, are you overdoing it or trying too hard? One of the most common missteps when learning a new accent is to overemphasize the accent, which causes you to sound false and forced.
- When you think you’re ready, talk to a native with a British accent. A native of the accent will catch your errors faster than anyone else. So make friends with a Brit and when you think you’re ready test out your accent with them.
It takes a while to perfect an accent so that what you think you hear is what listeners actually hear. Try to be patient and spend as much time as possible listening to a variety of conversations using the accent and then practice, practice, practice.