Acting : Accent's anyone? by A AA


Accent's anyone?

Does anyone know where/how to learn accents? Audio or dvd's? I am interested in creating more varieties in my roles, as I recently had a few people ask me what accents I can do and how good I am at them. Didn't know it was relevant. Most actors I know are trying to get rid of their accents lol.

Alex Pryce

Easy way to learn an accent is to spend a decent amount of time in that country or at least around people who have that accent. You'll notice them pronouncing things differently, and the more you hang around them, the more you will learn and adapt to it. For Example, i am from New Zealand, and one thing i never really thought about until i moved to Canada was that we Kiwi's do not pronounce our "R"s unless its at the beginning of a word. For example, we will pronounce it if its Rachael, but if its at the end of the word, like "Hangover" we will pronounce it with an "AH" instead of an "R". Hope this helped in some way =)


Thanks Alex. I don't necessarily have the finances to travel and adopt accents that way, but you make a very good point. Thanks.

Dan LaRoy

there are dialect coaches. here is a youtube video of donald the dialect coach. He gives some tips and you can find other youtube videos with some tips. It can be helpful to learn accents. some parts call for an accent.

Marie E. LeBlanc

Your local library might have tapes/CD's you could use to learn accents. :)


Thanks Dan! How did I forget youtube?! Much obliged!


Thanks Marie! I am a regular at my library, forgot that source too! Thank you!

Charles Tentindo

Hi! Best way in my opinion is to find the person who's accent you would like to have. Take that person out to lunch or coffee. Bring a monologue or text you would like to work on. Say it in front of the person and they will give you very good, nuanced feedback. Also free on camera class in Long Beach CA for you if you ever make it out to LA, ok? My name is Charles

Paul Baston

Hi Annika! I'm an accent coach and VO here in London. I'd agree about finding people who speak the accent. When that's not possible, there are heaps of resources out there for you though. I posted a load of these on my 3-part blog series on Active Listening for Accents. (resources are on parts 2 and 3) Have a look and if it's helpful please do spread the word! I think actors 'getting rid' of their accents is a shame - both for their careers and for the beautiful variety we have in the English-speaking world. It's always good to learn a 'standard' accent though, of course, for your acting repertoire. Anyways, let me know if my blog was helpful - all the resources I found are pretty much free to use, which is always helpful! Paul

Rebecca Hoodwin

I don't know where you reside, however there is a wonderful series of COs at Lincoln Center Library which have aided me over the years. They come with a booklet guide.

Joshua Estrada

A friend of mine Jim Johnson has a website devoted to accents: He is the director of the School of Theatre and Dance at University of Houston. Although, it does cost. Personally, I've always had luck with David Alan Stern's series "Acting with an Accent". Each accent comes with a book and a CD, and you can usually find them in the library. If you try to buy them, they are a bit pricey. Oh yeah! There is also IDEA (International Dialects of English Archive) This site (for free) has recordings of native speakers from all over the world. I learned about this website through American Theatre magazine and it is very extensive!

Kevin G Luttrell

That is awesome info Joshua thanks. Annika lets connect on Facebook: I can help as well

Larry Anderson

Annika just use your search engine and enter irish accent or british accent or what ever accent you are looking for and you should get examples to hear.

Tibor Tibi Andris Halmai (Andy Halmay)

Good suggestion. Another would be to date immigrants who will take you to their homes to meet their parents. Then listen to them and imitate.

Robert David Kelso

There are some good pieces of help here but you have to remember one thing. If you have a strong accent already then it can be easy to keep part of your accent in the accent you are trying to learn. You have to listen very closely to what you are doing. Take for example someone learning RP {Received Pronunciation}. If you have a strong accent like say a Scottish, if you do not watch what you are doing you may find you end up with a Scottish RP. Know your own accent first before trying another one. I would recommend Linda James. Get Rid of your Accent book 1 and 2. They contain CDs to help you, and I am sure I nicked the Scottish accent example from there. I do hope I have not gone off topic here.

Nick Simons

For me different accents have different tunes, most important is to get the tune, pronounciation of individual words can follow this. Nick Simons

David Winograd is a great resource to hear just about any accent or dialect reading the same copy. Another thing I found useful is to do YouTube searches using the word accent or dialect in the search . There are literally thousands of short native speakers to choose from.


Thank you so much everyone! I truly appreciate you taking the time to comment! Paul-I will check your blog series out. Thank you! Rebecca- I am going to check out my local library as well. Joshua, thank you! Lots of good info! LMAO @ Tibor. By the way, are you Hungarian? Robert- I have no accent, so I guess it will be harder for me to create a realistic one. Although I will look into the get rid of your accent ones, some of my actor friends have accents they want to get rid of (brazilian and lithuanian) David- thanks for the link! and youtube I will! Thanks again everyone! :)

April Ranck

A great topic.

Marc Weishaus

There are many resources available. I've taught Accents (learning them or losing them) at various times. The best way to start is with a portable cassette recorder. Determine what accents you want (and why? What kind of roles are you pursuing?). Then go to the International social center of any university -- you're in Monterey, so maybe U. C. Berkeley or San Francisco State. Try to meet someone who actually comes from the country where the dialect you want originates. Politely ask if you may record them speaking. You might provide a speech from a play or movie script that uses that accent intentionally (not our former governor, unless you want a good Austrian accent). Arrange a time and place to record, where it's not too noisy. Then take it home and listen very intently. Notice how that person's pronunciation is different than your own: every sound, every intonation, etc. Figure out how you could approximate that sound. Where and how would you make it in your mouth, what adjustments does it require? This is the best way to learn an accent or dialect. There are also some excellent books you can find in a good library or book store (or Amazon). I can list some of them for you if you'd like. Also, on the internet there are speech and dialect articles, usually published at universities, but some are by individuals who have delved into the subject. And you might look to hire a dialect coach, if you can find one in your area. Accent and dialect specialists are very popular at this time, but the good ones are mostly in big cities, where there's a need. Some coaches can work over Skype. (I may do that someday, when I have time to figure out the logistics). Anyway, I hope this helps a little. At least you should know that lots of folks are involved in the art of mastering accents and dialects, so look around and you'll find help in many places. By the way, my own teacher, originally, was the late Edith Skinner at Carnegie Mellon. She later taught at Juilliard, when they started their drama program (Juilliard was originally and for most of its existence a musical conservatory only).

Nik Forster

Valuable advice Marc and thank you, from my experience there is also an element of natural ability possessed by some and not by others. Also sustaining an accent throughout a play can be a challenge without slipping in and out. A Scottish accent can sometimes on the occasional word drop into a Northern Irish, and the Australian and New Zealand accent although close are different . So a good ear is essential. Cheers Nik

Karole Foreman

Dear Annika, you might start here with dialect coach Andrea Caban. she shows you some basic exercises and has about 35 videos that tell you how to do different accents.


Thank you Marc! I will check out amazon as well. Nik- I totally get what you mean, it's like a natural ability or a gift, sometimes when I try I end up sounding like so many different people it's kinda funny yet discouraging. I think because my mind is focused too much on sounding a certain way that it morphs somehow and I get mixed up. Thank you Karole! I will check that out!


if need to do any accents then what helps me is to remember one word with that accent and just keep repeating that word in the accent that you need to pin down.

David Winograd

Hey Alex, Not necessarily. What about Chicago, New England, Bronx, Long Island, Queens, and even most of the South?

April Ranck

Annika, it is very good topic. My idea is to work one and one with people from different countries.

Stephanie Gilbert

Hi Annika, accent coach Amy Walker with "21 accents" has her videos on YouTube. While you can hire her and I bet, she's not cheap either, she has tons of free videos on YouTube. She's awesome!

Christopher Kardos

The things that works best for me is Gillian Lane Plescia's Accents for Actors CD series. You can get them at the Drama Book shop in Manhattan or online. She really gives you the rundown of how a particular accent is different and what you gotta pay attention to. I listen to that a few times, choose a few particular clips that are especially helpful for me and than do them all day basically. Note: The people interviewed in her CD's are actual locals of the area of whichever accent the CD's for. And, btw, lol Annika, how many Hungarians are out there? Hehe.

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