In English, there are some 28 vowels and vowel combinations, and about 25 regularly used consonants. Other languages include more that native English speakers don’t use and therefore don’t really know. Accents and dialects are the different vowels and consonants people of different areas use to pronounce the same words. Once all the sound changes are identified, it just a matter of getting your mouth in the right shape to make all the sound changes at the same time with the right energy.
In the city of Manchester, England, words with the vowel heard in Canadian’s “strut” (like hut, hum, mutt, run, etc) sound like how a Canadian would say “foot.”
Just 200 miles away in London, the Cockney/”working class” dialect replaces the consonant /th/ (like in thought, thorough, thing, etc) with an /f/ sound.
No production is exactly the same when it comes to accent or dialect work. Whether you’re looking for casting assistance, actor preparation work, on-set coaching, in rehearsal notes, group sessions, or just dialect consulting ahead of a production, note that the more time actors have to work on an accent or dialect, the better they will be. For a better idea of what you need, contact me directly.
During your first coaching session, I’ll determine your skill level and the optimal sound for your needs. For example, if you have an audition, we may start with the basic sound changes using exercises, or we may jump right into the audition material and identify the sounds that need work. You’ll leave with audio samples, exercises for home practise, and a better understanding of what your target sound is. If you aren’t fully comfortable after one session, we can work out future sessions.
The same dialect principles apply to actors working around the world, be they using General American or other foreign dialects. Check out these examples.
Gillian Anderson stars in The Fall, with a perfect Received Pronunciation dialect (left; listen at 12 sec.), & speaks in her native American accent (right).
Simon Baker, as Patrick Jane from The Mentalist (left); & with his natural Australian accent on Ellen (right).
The International Dialects of English Archive has compiled almost 1000 different audio samples from people around the world. Most samples include the subjects reading the same speech, so you can compare their accents.