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Positive Voice Blog

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.





A Simpler Way to Reduce Your Accent

Posted on Friday, September 02, 2016 by Positivevoice

For sometime now, i have intended to provide an alternative to face-to-face or skype lessons in accent reduction. My 6 month one-to-one course in accent reduction has proved a great success. Yet, i can't help thinking that i could work more effectively in order to help more people to improve their speech. To this end, i am creating a course that has been long awaited by many. A digital course in accent reduction. This does not replace one-to-one lessons, but can be taken as an alternative or alongside Skype lessons. I am now in the final editing phase and intend to launch the programme in the next two weeks.

This course is for anyone who would like to transform their accent or speak in a more polished manner. It is for both native speakers and those learning English as a foreign or second language. In addition to covering the 44 sounds presented in the international phonetic index, i also cover vocal projection, resonace, warm up exercises and mindset. Anyone who has taken Skype lessons with me, will be familiar with the course style and delivery. Having said this, almost all the content is new.

I am currently releasing sneak previews of the course via YouTube. Here is one such video:



How to Make a Positive Impact with your Voice

Posted on Friday, August 23, 2013 by Positivevoice

Your voice makes an impact. You may or may not like the impact your voice makes, but, all the same, it has an effect on your listeners. One of the contributing factors here is the tone you use when you speak. Your vocal tone can win you both friends and enemies. It is not so much the words you use, but the way in which you utter them. One of the tools I often use with clients is hypnotherapy. During sessions, my words play a very small part in helping clients to relax. It is my pace, tone, rhythm and breathing that serves to relax people.

Your vocal tone does not just affect others, though. It also has a huge bearing on how you feel. If you can be positive and cause your voice to reflect this, your emotions will travel on an upward spiral. The opposite is also true. A great philosophy to practice is humour. If you decide to see humour where others would take offence, you will maintain your positivity.

When I speak to people, I often intuitively send out waves of calm. Another way of doing this would be to communicate with people with a sense of ‘unconditional, positive regard’. I find that when I focus entirely on them, and see them in the best possible light my vocal tone mirrors this intention. How you treat others has a huge impact on how they respond to you, so the more you do this, the more pleasant your encounters with others will be.

This is just one of the many things that you can do to transform your interactions with others. If you would like to have others hanging off your every word, check out my home study course: Vocal Impact

 




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