Fairy or Ferry?
Ever wondered whether an American native speaker of the general American accent, said ‘Mary’, ’merry’ or ‘marry’? Or ‘fairy’ or ‘ferry’? Or if the first ‘a’ ‘parallel’ sounds more like and ‘e’ or even an ‘i’? Whichever phoneme it follows, the presence of the retroflex /r/ of the general American accent seems to have a dramatic raising effect on the vowel sounds it is next to.
The Canadian accent seems to often appear in media as either non-existant, or it’s so over generalized that it’s comical. And while it’s almost true that we say “eh?” as much as the stereotype, there are a few points that distinguish the Canadian accent in its sound and its history from other English-speaking accents.
So: You feel you know the sound system and intonation of an accent perfectly, you practice and practice. But you feel you are sliding in and out of the accent, overdoing and undergoing certain sounds features. It just doesn’t feel or sound quite right.
When asked, “What is the General American accent?” some Americans might reply “Sorry? Is there such a thing?”. Others might reply “Well, the accent with no regional origin, the newsreaders accent" or “standard American”. One of the most fascinating things about accents is tracing their history and looking at the story of how they could possibly have come to be. So does a 'neutral’ accent with no regional origin mean a 'storyless' accent?
So what is it about RP?
It is the British accent that is most commonly taught to non-native speakers, as well as being considered a ‘must have’ accent on any actor's profile in order for them to get mainstream work in the UK. Yet staggeringly only around 5% of the British population are native RP speakers.
With it’s singing, swinging upbeat rhythm and distinctive sound patters, the Geordie accent and dialect owes much of its uniqueness to its preservation of many historical features that have been long since dropped by most other accents of English. It is in fact the most direct continuous evolution of the Anglo-Saxon language that can be found in the British Isles, the dialect still being strongly influenced by the language spoken by Anglo-Saxons who settled in the area in the 5th century.
So what does it take to learn an accent as a non-native speaker?
Welcome to the Voice Café blog! I am absolutely delighted to launch a blog, as I believe it is time to put a voice behind the Voice Café and give my members and interested readers more information about what the Voice Café is all about. And of course, it is nice to let you all know who I am and why I am so passionate about accents and communication.