Accent Reduction and Voice Coaching – Ashley Howard
I teach with Ashley as an Associate – see the link for more information.
Voiceover Training & Demo Reels – Gary Terzza
My recommended voiceover coach who provides both demo reels and mentoring.
Acting Training in the UK – Drama UK
(previously National Council for Drama Training & Conference of Drama Schools)
Accent Samples: Begin Your Search…Taken from my 3-part series on Active Listening for Accents.
Look for local radio stations or programmes. My first port of call would be iTunes, where individual stations often have different podcasts based on subject, so you can look for the ‘talky’ ones. For younger speakers, look for chart music. For older speakers, look for stations/shows playing older hits, classical music, or chat. Traffic, weather and financial reports are often great. Always check where the presenters/DJs are from though.
You can also search for Wikipedia Lists of stations – that’s how I found the first clip from CKDU FM (here). A note about university radio stations: they’re great for their specific locations, but bear in mind the speakers are students, who could be from absolutely anywhere. Hospital radio is more illusive but could be a goldmine.
Search for local radio stations, news and TV. My second sample was found in this way. YouTube is great because, as I mentioned in Part 1, you get to see what their lips, cheeks and jaw are doing – and how they’re feeling.
Visual Accent Archive
This one goes high up on the list because it’s visual. Maybe look here before YouTube, as the wheat has already been separated from the chaff for you. Check it out here.
Another thing to search for on YouTube is ‘accent tag’, a movement started by … who knows, but thanks if you’re reading! I believe it works in the same way as the infamous ‘neck nomination’ and the brilliant ‘no makeup selfie’ nomination trend raising money for Cancer Research. Though often people just put up their Accent Tag without being nominated.
With Accent Tag, your subject will speak out a specific list of words and answer questions for more info on dialect, such as, “What do you call your grandparents?”. Sometimes speakers will even instruct you on how to speak in their accent. This can be incredibly helpful, but take it with a pinch of salt: tricks on how to master accents are very subjective and different things work for different people.
Most Wikipedia entries for a city or locality include a list of famous people from that area. Actors are best, especially if you plan on using the accent in a performance: how is this actor’s accent delivered in an ‘acting’ context?
‘Foreign’ cinema. Get searching.
As promised, here’s a list of more resources for you to check out for your next accent project. A lot of these are audio archives working in a similar format, but it’s worth widening your search as they all have different samples.
International Dialects of English Archive. What a brilliant idea: a map-based search with voice samples and in-depth analysis. Thanks to Paul Meier and his team.
Similar to the above, this even has a ‘Cross-Continental Word Comparison’ tool for individual sounds.
3. Center for Applied Linguistics (US)
Another one with interviews of people from most states of the US, along with Canada and Puerto Rico.
Yet another map archive.
Dictionary of American Regional English. You can also follow them on twitter for words of the day @darewords
Brilliant for samples of foreign English speakers.
7. BBC Voices
Great for British accents. They’ve done half the job for you, and you can even research idioms/words of different dialects and join in on the debate.
Another map-based archive.
Found any other resources not listed here? Let me know!