Learning a Cockney Accent
WHAT WILL YOU DOWNLOAD?
The download to learn a Cockney Accent contains eighty (80) minutes of systematic instruction in MP3 sound files. You’ll also get a printable PDF of the instruction manual. It contains summaries of the audio lessons and full transcripts of the drill words, phrases, and passages.
COCKNEY ACCENT: WHAT WILL YOU LEARN?
You will learn the general London working-class accent that most of the world now calls Cockney speech. Here’s a brief summary of the training.
- Lesson 1 teaches you the resonance or voice placement of the Cockney accent. In other words, it shows you how to move and shape your mouth to create the accent’s sound focus.
- Lessons 2 and 3 give the unique Cockney pronunciations of major vowels. Some of them partially come as extensions of the tongue movements learned in Lesson 1. Others are isolated pronunciation issues, like whether to say “glAHss” (yes) and “stAHnd” (no).
- Lesson 4 shows you how to drop R sounds that come after vowels. BUT it also teaches when and how R-drops DO NOT happen.
- Lesson 5 takes you through the consonant pronunciations that are distinctly Cockney. Further, you’ll also consider the dangers of not being understood if you take Cockney consonants too far.
- Lesson 6 first teaches you special pronunciations of words that don’t follow earlier rules. It then puts it all together with several drill passages. Firstly, it reminds you about the voice placement. Further, it walks you through the pronunciation phrase by phrase before leading you into a normal speaking pace.
MORE ABOUT THE COCKNEY ACCENT
The “Cockney” classification officially applied only to Londoners who were born and raised within “the sound of Bow Bells.” That’s the area where you could hear the church bells of St. Mary-le-Bow in the mid-1800s. But in recent years, almost all native-London working-class accents are called Cockney. You can now also hear this accent in the Home Counties. Many Cockney vowels and consonants have also worked their way into today’s Estuary Accent. That’s the one that is fast replacing RP as England’s new standard sound.
COCKNEY FOR TODAY’S ACTORS
Many speakers still have this accent today. Therefore, it’s often needed for London characters past years as well as recent days.
- Some directors (especially outside the UK) want working-class or uneducated English characters to sound Cockney regardless of location.
- Some directors of UK Shakespeare productions like using Cockney accents for artisan or clown characters. But traditionally, many directors have chosen to use West Country accents for these character types.
- Cockney accents are quite appropriate for most lower-class characters in plays by G. B. Shaw. That’s also true of plays by Noël Coward, Caryl Churchill, and Harold Pinter. And, don’t forget Look Back in Anger by John Osborne and many others.