Accents that are particular to England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are each different and with practice you can begin to talk with one that sounds genuine. Along with the accents are mannerisms that you will need to assume to affect the part. The following directions may describeQueen’s English or “Received Pronunciation” (RP) spoken in south England and Wales, rarely ever used in the modern-day United Kingdom, but the foreigners’ stereotypical view of how the British talk. This study of RP is concerned largely with pronunciation, while study of the standard language is also concerned with matters such as correct grammar, more formal vocabulary and style.
Start with the Rs. Understand that in most British accents speakers don’t roll their Rs (except for those from Scotland, Northumbria, Northern Ireland, and parts of Lancashire), but not all British accents are the same. For example, a Scottish accent varies greatly from an English accent. After a vowel, don’t pronounce the R, but draw out the vowel and maybe add an “uh” (Here is “heeuh”). In words like “hurry”, dont blend the R with the vowel. Say “huh-ree”.
- In American English, words ending with “rl” or “rel” can be pronounced using either one or two syllables, completely interchangeably. This is not the case in British English. “-rl” words like “girl”, “hurl”, etc, are pronounced as one syllable with silent R, while “squirrel” is “squih-rul”, and “referral” is “re-fer-rul”.
- Some words are easier to say in a British accent. For example, mirror, which sounds like “mih-ra”. Do not say “mirror” like “mere”; British people almost never do that.
Pronounce U in stupid and in duty with the ew or “you” sound. Avoid the oo as in an American accent; thus it is pronounced stewpid or commonly schewpid, notstoopid, etc. duty would be pronounced dewty or more often jooty. In the standard English accent, the A (for example, in father) is pronounced at the back of the mouth with an open throat—it sounds like “arh”. This is the case in pretty much all British accents, but it’s exaggerated in RP. In southern England and in RP, words such as “bath”, “path”, “glass”, “grass” also use this vowel (barth, parth, glarss, grarss, etc.). However, in other parts of Britain “bath”, “path”, etc. sound like “ah”.