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Top Tricks for developing a British accent

Posted on Monday, July 03, 2017 by Positivevoice

One of the greatest mistakes made when it comes to developing a British accent is to focus solely on the movement of the lips, jaw and tongue in order to pronounce the British English sounds listed in the International Phonetic index. A British accent is made up of so much more than this; rhythm, emphasis and most importantly RESONANCE.

When you focus on the movement and positioning of the lips, tongue and jaw, this can cause an undesired result BECAUSE wherever you place your attention, the sound is likely to resonate. This means that if you are lifting your tongue up towards your tooth ridge (the little bar on the palate just before the top, front teeth), the sound is likely to resonate at the front of the mouth: In BRITISH English, the voice must resonate at the back of the mouth, in the cavities in the head and (most importantly) in the throat. As soon as the resonance creeps towards the front of the mouth, the sounds produced are not in keeping with those spoken by a native, British speaker.

By means of delivering an example, i have chosen an extract from my digital course in British accent coaching.

The consonant sounds tʃ and dʒ

The target sounds in this video are consonants that are very much produced with the mouth; one is aspirated (causes the air to pass through the mouth) and the other is voiced (the air passes over the vocal chords). When pronouncing words that contain these consonant sounds, it is important to focus on the vowels that follow in order to form a word that largely resonates in the cavities at the back of the mouth and in the throat.

These sounds form a pair as they take the same mouth positioning. The mid to back of the tongue widens and thickens, touching the top, back teeth (as with ʃ and ʒ). The tip of the tongue is positioned on the tooth ridge (without touching the teeth), as with the ‘t’ and ‘d’ sounds. The sound is created by holding and releasing the tip of the tongue- the air either passes over the vocal chords (dʒ) or passes out of the mouth forming an aspirated sound (tʃ).




IPA Symbol

tʃ (aspirated)

dʒ (voiced)



‘ch’ ‘j’



ch chew

tch watch


j June

g gentle

ge garage

dge judge

dj adjust

ch and j from Francesca Gordon-Smith on Vimeo.

If you enjoyed this video, please do join me for my first Facebook live, which will be following this topic of resonance and what best to do in order to develop a British accent.

The Facebook live will take place on Friday 7th July at 12:30pm BST (UTC+1) . To join, please connect with me on Facebook:

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