Queen's English, as we all know, has a very formal tone to it, which makes the accent quite interesting. If you wish to learn the British accent, you might find yourself in quite a salad of accents.
This accent is not the same everywhere, and it differs in every country in the United Kingdom, may it be England, Scotland, or Wales. The accent in these three countries varies quite a lot, and even within England itself there are subtle nuances in the accent, which after a while are easy to identify.
Before learning the accent, it is necessary for you to know how to speak English fluently, as British English demands that. Even though the accent may vary, there are a few things that you must pay attention to.
The British accent has certain words that are emphasized more than the others in a sentence. For example, consider the sentence "Where is your car?". Here, remember to emphasize the words your and car.
Emphasis on correct words is the beginning to get the accent right. Generally, the last word in the sentence is heavily emphasized, especially while asking a question.
Do Not Roll Your Tongue
Remember the British do not roll their "R"s. A small way to not roll your "R"s is not to let your tongue touch the palate while saying "British". This will help you learn exactly how the word must sound in a British tone. When you say this word, you will also realize that the "T"s are also not being pronounced.
So, no rolling the "R"s and silencing your "T"s. This is not true in all the cases, but when the "T" comes somewhere in the middle of the word, it is not pronounced. However, if a word ends with "T", always pronounce it.
U sounds like eew
While in an American accent stupid sound like stoopid, in a British accent it would be stewpid. Most of the words that are pronounced with a double "O" in the American accent become "ew" in the Brit accent.
Extension of Words
In many parts of Britain, you may observe that certain words are exaggerated. For example, a word which sounds like "a", as in apple, would sound like "aa" as in the word, park. "Park" itself will become ph-ark. Also, a "car" would become cah, "far" would become fah, and so on.
A Few Must-knows
When you are learning to speak British English, it is also important to know the different words or phrases used in this country. When traveling to counties such as Yorkshire, do not be surprised if you are referred to as "love" (more often pronounced as lauve).
When asked, "You alright, love?", do not take it literally, as the other person just wants to know how you are or if you need any help.
The Scottish accent may sound a little different, as a person who is having his lunch may just end up saying, "I'm having me dinnuh!", which in that part of the world is not wrong at all. Finally, "Cheers" is not just used to toast, and in most parts of Britain it is a synonym for thank you.
- Listen to the British radio stations. Listening to the radio helps you concentrate on the accent, as there won't be any visual distractions.
- Watch British films regularly and you will definitely get the gist of what the accent is all about.
- BBC is the best source to learn the British accent. Watch BBC news and learn the accent, as well as keep your self updated about the happenings there.
- There are a few people who provide accent training, so you could try that as well.
With these guidelines, do not expect to fit into the Brit crowd. After all, they are the "stiff upper-lip" population. So unless fish 'n chips is your staple diet and obsessing about European football your religion, learning the accent just for kicks should be your motive.