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Learn How to Speak with a Clear British Accent

Posted on Tuesday, May 09, 2017 by Positivevoice

the above picture shows me forming the mouth position for the pronunciation of the British consonant sound w.

Whilst the mouth position is important, there are some other tips that i would like to share with you that will make a huge difference to your pronunciation of this sound and to your ability to correctly pronounce words containing w.

In British English, vowels are more important than consonants. What does this mean?

Vowels are voiced sounds, which means that when you pronounce a vowel sound air passes over the vocal chords, so your focus should be on this area rather than the front of the mouth and the lips.  however, when we pronounce a 'w', the lips become the most obvious thing about our speech because we push them forwards in a pout (or kiss) like movement. Essentially, wherever you focus, the sound travels, so your challenge is to focus on the cavities in the head, back of the mouth and throat in order to allow voiced sounds (particularly vowels) to resonate fully here. If you find your focus is more on the consonants, this may mean that you are not enlarging the space at the back of the mouth enough to produce strong, long and full vowels. The best example of this is the Indian accent, which is very consonant heavy and resonates mostly at the front of the mouth.

Today's blog is all about how to focus more on vowel sounds in order to encourage the sounds to resonate at the back of the mouth (even when there is a consonant as obvious as 'w' in the word). If you succeed in focusing on your vowels, your speech will become fluid, clear and smooth, rather than short, sharp and staccato. It is no coincidence that speakers of English as a foreign language often find it easier to sing with a British accent than they do when speaking. This has a lot to do with resonance. When we sing, vowels are full and long and resonate in the cavities in the throat, head and back of the mouth; this is exactly where you need to resonate British vowel sounds. Obviously, when we sing, everything is exaggerated; longer, fuller and a wider range of pitches, but the concept is similar.

I integrate humming and chanting into warm up exercises for my clients in order to allow them to feel where the sounds need to resonate. The IPA symbols and guidance on how to position the mouth are useful, but the only way to develop a clear British accent is by transforming your resonance.

For further information about British accent coaching or to book a session, please contact Francesca directly: fran@positivevoice.co.uk or 07903 954 550.





British Accent Coaching and Consonant Pairs

Posted on Thursday, April 06, 2017 by Positivevoice

Today's blog post is an extract from my digital course in British accent coaching.

33

 

IPA Symbol

ʃ (aspirated)

ʒ (voiced)

Sound

‘sh’ ‘zh’

Spelling

Variations

sh shout

s sugar

ch machine

 

sure pleasure

ge prestige

zure seizure

These two sounds are studied as a pair, as they take the same mouth movements. The lips are pushed forwards in a rounded, flared shape. The edges of the tongue (from mid-back) widen, touching both the top and bottom set of teeth. The tip of the tongue comes down, touching the inside of the bottom teeth.

The differences between these two sounds are as follows:

ʃ: The air passes between the palate and tongue (the mouth positioning forms a tunnel) creating an aspirated sound (we often use this sound to tell people to be quite or to comfort a baby).

ʒ the air passes over the vocal chords creating a voiced sound (this sound is like a vibration).


There are 8 other pairs of sounds in the International Phonetic Index for British English. Each pair is comprised of one voiced sound and one unvoiced, or aspirated sound. For instance, b (voiced) is paired with p (aspirated), d (voiced) is paired with t (aspirated) etc. You will be able to tell if a sound is voiced or aspirated by placing your hand in front of your mouth; the aspirated sounds create a slight rush of air that can be felt on your hand.

voiced

b

d

v

g

z

ʒ

ð

example

be

do

vet

got

is

pleasure

journey

this

aspirated

p

t

f

k

s

ʃ

θ

example

pea

too

fetch

cot

hiss

push

church

thought



25 Percent Off British Accent Coaching

Posted on Thursday, November 17, 2016 by Positivevoice

I am now taking on new clients for 2017. If you have been thinking about developing a British Accent, there are now 4 ways to do this!

The Digital Course

The course is made up of 40 videos, a hypnotherapy audio and a manual (over 6 hours of content) and mirrors a 1-1 course that Francesca delivers via Skype. The course includes a review video, so that you can assess your progress and a hypnotherapy audio to keep you motivated and emotionally balanced.

Once you have started this course, you are welcome to book some lessons with Francesca if you would like her feedback on your progress.

Here is an extract from the manual and a video lesson on the following IPA vowel:

IPA Symbol

ə

Sound

Weak vowel. Short version of ‘er’

Spelling

Variations

a away

our colour

ar collar

re centre

er water

e garden


The mouth and tongue are relaxed for this sound. The mouth opens slightly and the focus is on the throat. A little support (so slight that you may not even notice the muscles here) is required in the lower jaw in order to bring clarity to your voice- without this, the sound might lack strength; however, the focus should be on the throat cavity, which should expand slightly to create the sound.

Contact Francesca for further details by replying to this email or call her directly: 07903 954 550

The Combined Course (Part Digital, Part 1-1)

This course is perfect for you if you are self-motivated enough to work through the digital course, but also work well 1-1. This course is made up of 135 hours via Skype and 6+ hours in the form of video lessons and includes a manual and hypnotherapy audio.

It follows the same lessons covered in the Skype Course over the same timeframe. The main difference is that you take 1 lesson of 1 hour per week, rather than the two hours required for the 25.5 hr course via Skype.

The Skype Course

25.5 hours one-to-one, via Skype over a 6 month period.

The reason this course lasts 25.5 hours and not a year is because an intensive course with daily practice is the most effective way to transform your spoken communication. After an initial assessment lesson, a plan is made, which may include the following:

  • Pronunciation of individual sounds (in the IPA index)
  • Resonance
  • Vocal Strength
  • Vocal Clarity
  • Clear Pronunciation
  • Vocal Variety
  • Vocal Tone
  • Fluid Speech
  • Rhythm
  • Word Stress
  • Sentence Stress
  • Vocal Projection
  • Sentence Structure
  • Grammar
  • Understanding muscles in the mouth
  • Daily exercises derived from speech therapy
  • Thinking on your feet
  • Impromptu Speaking
  • Mindset and Motivation
After 12 weeks of  lessons twice per week, you will take a 3 month break to practice all that we have studied. I highly recommend using the digital course during this period. At the end of the self-study period, we have a final 1.5 hour catch up, so that we can have a final assessment and you can receive feedback and guidance. At this point, i would recommend continuing with some lighter practice of your own. You may wish to refer to the digital programme from time to time or re-listen to audios made during lessons.

The Jetsetters Course

This course is specifically designed for people who want exceptional results in a short space of time. Everything about this course can be tailor made to suit individual needs- location, time frame and course contents.

What makes Francesca's courses so much better than most other courses on the market is the sheer variety of methods used:

  • Guidance on the pronunciation of individual sounds
  • Warm up exercises to work on resonance
  • Warm up exercises to work out the muscles in the mouth and tongue
  • Exercises to change the voice in your head
  • Hypnotherapy, Neuro Linguistic Programming and coaching
  • Pictures and videos to make it visual
  • Listening exercises to work on your ear
  • Exercises on vocal variety and vocal tone to help you feel what you say and say what you feel.
"A British accent is something that you need to see, hear and feel" Francesca Gordon-Smith

To see further examples of my teaching, visit pvfran on YouTube

 fran@positivevoice.co.uk

+44 (0)7903 954 550




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