American Accent for English Actors
This special edition of Acting with an Accent is designed specifically for actors from England and some Commonwealth countries who wish to learn the standard or non-regional American accent.
WHAT WILL YOU DOWNLOAD?
The download 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.
WHAT WILL YOU LEARN?
You’ll learn the resonance (voice placement), inflections, and pronunciation of the “General American” or “American Non-Regional” accent. You’ll use a program Dr. Stern developed specifically for actors with accents of England, Australia, New Zealand, and (English) South Africa.
- Lesson 1 teaches you the resonance or voice placement of the General American accent. In other words, you’ll learn to move and shape your mouth to create the accent’s sound focus. Then it shows you how to avoid the pitch glides the native English often use to stress words and ideas.
- The 2nd Lesson gives the unique non-regional American vowel pronunciations. You’ll work on many of the vowels as extensions of the mouth posture learned in Lesson 1.
- Lesson 3 shows you how retain the R sounds that come after vowels without calling attention to or exaggerating it.
- Lesson 4 works you through the few consonant pronunciations that are distinctly American—particularly the medial-T. It then teaches you special pronunciations of words that don’t follow earlier rules.
- The Final Lesson puts it all together with several drill passages. Firstly, it reminds you about the voice placement. Then it walks you through the pronunciation phrase by phrase before leading you to a normal speaking rate.
IS THERE ONE STANDARD (NON-REGIONAL) AMERICAN ACCENT?
Folks often ask me exactly where in the USA 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 the “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.