When you practice, an accent is a like a jigsaw puzzle of sounds (phonemes), speech rhythm, tone, voice placement and intonation. It is essential to integrate all elements successfully to deliver the accent authentically. We first need to be able to hear speech sounds exactly as the are before we can mimic and reproduce them accurately.
Here are the best ways to use the Audio Accent Resources on The Voice Cafe
1) Play short sections of the native speaker recording, pause, and repeat. Try recording yourself and play back to compare with the native speaker. Ask yourself what, if any, are the main differences. Observe rhythm, speech sounds, sound length, intonation and voice placement. Try with the short clips below of RP (Received Pronunciation), General American and London Cockney.
2) Read short sections (such as words, phrases) of the text yourself, then play the native speaker audio to compare, and repeat again if necessary (again, you can record yourself to compare with the native speaker). When you speak first and then hear the native speaker, it is easier to ear the differences than if the other way around. Again, try with this short audio clips below.
3) Simultaneous speaking: Put on headphones and read the script / words simultaneously with the native speaker. You will only be able to hear their voice and you have to keep time with it. (Again, you can record what you are doing and play back after.) This is the best way to learn how someone else speaks; the rhythm, breathing, voice placement, sounds (both quality and length) can much more easily be felt if you are talking simultaneously and cannot hear your own voice. Try to observe the muscles it requires you to use. Then you can play back your recording afterwards. Once again, try with the short clips below.
4) If you wish to compare 2 accents: Put on headphones and read the script / words simultaneously with the native speaker of one, then do the same with the other. (Again, you can record what you are doing and play back after.) Try to observe the different muscles that each accent requires you to use, plus differences in the sounds, rhythm and tone. Play back your recordings afterwards. Once again, use the accent clips below to compare.