You’ve probably heard lots of people saying “Oh, they have a British accent!” or “they speak with a British accent”. The thing is, accents from the United Kingdom differ massively depending on where the speaker is from. Sometimes they can even differ from village to village. And, you’ve guessed it, accents in the UK can be English, Welsh, northern Irish, or Scottish, but there is no such thing as one British accent. So the question is, how can you talk in a British accent?
Actively listen to the way people speak
To start sounding more native and have a British accent, your best bet is to watch programmes on the BBC. Try to observe the way their presenters use their mouth, their tongue, and watch the way their lips move. You’ll notice that there are local programmes too, so you could pick up a northern, southern or geordie accent in the process!
Not only should you pay attention to the sounds that are coming out of their mouth, but you should also focus on trying to figure out how these sounds are coming out. Which parts of their mouth are they using when producing them? Try to imitate the way they speak.
You could also record yourself saying the same sentences and compare your version to the original one. Don’t worry about sounding silly, we guarantee that this method really helps!
Words that are pronounced differently in the UK and in the US
Some words are pronounced in very different ways in the UK to the US. Therefore, your first step towards getting a “British” accent is to memorise these words to avoid mixing up their pronunciation.
To get you started, here are 10 words you can practise aloud. Which pronunciation do you prefer?
Use British slang
Using British slang words will help you sound more native when you practise speaking British English.
However, don’t forget that British slang and American slang are very different. Be careful as some terms can have drastically different meanings depending on which side of the pond you are!
Practise your British accent with native speakers
Lastly, the best way to polish your accent is to try it out on native speakers. For example, you could turn to language exchange and find a partner from England, or try to find a British pub or cultural organisation in your neighbourhood! There are many different British accents, so find the one that suits you!