These two audio programs provide systematic lessons for learning to act with the Standard or General American Accent. The first is for Anglophones from Canada; the other is for those from England or with related Australian, New Zealand, or English South African accents. Both of these programs first teach the voice placement and inflections of General American speech. Then, they help you embed the target non-regional pronunciations into these two features.
Special Editions of ACTING with an ACCENT –
American Accent for Actors from England & Canada
Here’s the first question many actors from England and Canada ask me about a “general” American Accent. “Exactly where in the USA do people speak American English ‘without an accent?'” WELL! Pretty much all Americans grow up speaking a local accent. It’s just that we call some of those variations “no accent” or “non-regional accents.” So, for better or worse, here’s what I mean by that term.
I define “Non-Regional American Accent” as oral English that identifies its speakers as native-born Americans. But, at the same time, it does not give most listeners clues that speakers are from specific cities or regions. I don’t believe, however, that there is one absolute standard for “a correct non-regional accent.” Some vowel pronunciations can vary a bit without creating the impression of an accent change.
I unofficially identify two (WELL—maybe three) “brands” of non-regional speech that differ slightly in vowel pronunciations. For example, in my “Eastern Non-Regional” version, there is a rounded vowel in THOUGHT and an unrounded vowel in LOT. In my “Western Non-Regional” version, both words have slightly rounded vowels. In some “non-regional” areas, LOT rounds and THOUGHT does not. But these specific vowel shifts alone usually don’t signal regional changes to most listeners. However, some other vowel differences, especially accompanied by intonation, rhythm, or resonance changes, can read as regional-accent signs to many.