or Connect
Styleforum › Forums › Culture › Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel › improving voice
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

improving voice

post #1 of 63
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

Can anyone suggest what I can do (attend a class, etc) to learn to speak with a proper British accent and also improve/deepen my voice?

My new year resolution (a bit cheesy I know) is to improve myself:
a) get into better shape b) wear better quality clothes c) have a better social life
post #2 of 63
are you british? do you need the british accent for an acting role? i'm confused.
post #3 of 63
Thread Starter 
i work in london and i need to speak english without a foreign accent, hence that's why i want to speak with a british accent

and i don't mean to be sarcastic or anything but i don't work in a fast food restaurant and it is very important that i can speak eloquently to clients

please let's not turn this into a discussion of pretending to be someone you're not, etc.....
post #4 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by sloaney
Hi everyone,

Can anyone suggest what I can do (attend a class, etc) to learn to speak with a proper British accent and also improve/deepen my voice?

My new year resolution (a bit cheesy I know) is to improve myself:
a) get into better shape b) wear better quality clothes c) have a better social life

Well, first of all, WHAT is a proper British accent? The BBC accent? That is equivalent to the "General American" (for you colonial types ) in that it is as flat and regionless as possible.
Funny thing is that due to how I grew up and where my grandmother is from, I come close to that (at least for people that are not native English speakers from the UK) but it is immediately apparent to someone from that side of the pond that I am not local per se. Caveat emptor I'd say there.

SO my questions are:

Where are you from
Where are you located?
What would you think of as an improvement to your voice?
Do you mean improve your voice or your patterns of speech?

If you are indeed from somewhere outside the UK and especially the USA do please please PLEASE do not try to adopt a "British accent". Not only will it look pretentious and off-putting - it is highly likely that anyone who knows what accent patterns are in the UK will consider you an unadulturated tool and daft poseur.

Reminds me of an old friend of my wife's I met after he had been out of the USA for a long time. He had this weird accent when he spoke, sort of germanic but more weird than anything else. As I suspected he was just a yankee trying to sound exotic. Typical.
post #5 of 63
sloaney:

Ok, our messages crossed. Here is my take. If you have some sort of regional accent it may be easier to flatten it out a bit. While I understand that regional accents in the UK have some baggage (class, identity, etc) I don't think it is as bad as it was where if you were a Scot or Welsh you'd be considered a peasant . We have members living and working in the UK that can help you with more specifics. I am sure there are many places that can provide training as far as dialect, enunciation, pronounciation, et.c.
Now, if you are not a native english speaker, things may be a bit trickier. For many people it takes a VERY long time to adjust their speech patterns. Not all are successful.
An old friend of mine came over to the US the same time as I did, about seven-eight years ago. His english was very heavily accented. Having seen him recently, it has been americanised more but it is till quite apparent that it is not his native language. YMMV et.c.
post #6 of 63
Don't know about the accent situation, but I would suggest finding a voice coach or taking an acting class for the improvement/deepening.

Most of what can be done to improve voice timbre is based on your breathing patterns and learning to speak more fully from your diaphraghm (sp?). Most acting teachers or speech coaches should be able to help with this.
post #7 of 63
Thread Starter 
i grew up in asia and spent the past six years in the united states before moving to the uk earlier this year. i grew up (i.e. since i was a kid) speaking english at home to family and to friends so it is my "first language" BUT my english had a local accent. after spending 6 years in the states, i now speak with an american accent more or less naturally and have to consciously revert back to speaking with a local accent whenever i am in asia to avoid being seen as pretentious. (this is hard because i express myself most naturally now when i speak with an american accent). BUT i really like the british (upper class/BBC) accent and being here (and still fairly young - in my twenties) would very much like to adopt it (i see it as just another way to improve myself, like dressing better, etc). i figured out that if there's a will there's a way..... if anyone can point out anyone or any group in london that can help that will be great. general advice/thoughts are welcomed as well. i also need to develop a deeper more authoritative voice.

in my opinion, voice is probably the 2nd most important thing after physical appearence, and cannot be discounted. especially if you would like to sound credible and learned when giving your views and forecasts on the market to institutional investors.

p.s. a few weeks ago i was paying one of my utility bills via the phone and the lady on the other line complimented me on my accent out of the blue.... which i found quite strange.
post #8 of 63
If you honestly adopt false accents soley to impress people. You definately qualify as a pretentious tool.
post #9 of 63
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by smw356
If you honestly adopt false accents soley to impress people. You definately qualify as a pretentious tool.

we all change ourselves for the better (we work out, we buy nice fitting clothes) and to impress people. i don't see how this is different. all immigrants to one extent or another want to assimilate to the country they have moved to. there is nothing wrong with this at all. your attitude about this is not positive and not healthy at all.

i am always wary of people who discourage others from striving to improve themselves ("don't forget your roots", "don't be who you are not"). these people like where they are (at the bottom) and can't stand others trying to reach a higher level. i am secure enough to want to improve my life and myself. if everyone thought like you there would be no progress in this world and there will be no human "civilization" to speak of.
post #10 of 63
^ good show! tut-tut.
post #11 of 63
kinda off subject but sometimes I like to talk to people I dont know in a kinda WASP/Ivy League/Pretentious accent. Its funny. On a serious note how bad is your local accent? How about your American accent? I say just go with it, people will find out you are from else where eventually. Now thinking about it I could understand if you were speaking another language than your "first language" that you might change your accent to fit in/be better understood. When I speak other accents I try to pronounce words as close to the national or major dialect as possible to be better understood. For instance: I Speak Tokyo Japanese rather than Kansai or Osaka Japanese.
post #12 of 63
I fail to see how adopting a false accent to hide where you are from is improving yourself in any way shape or form. To me its a pretty telltale sign of shame of some sort of form that you're compensating for. By all means improve yourself by any means you can. Improve your body. Improve your mind. Improve your social standing. However do not cross the line into trying to be someone you aren't. Embrace your heritage while improving yourself. Even if you dislike your heritage it has made you what you are. Do not be ashamed of it and try to hide it. If you're are American. Be a god damn American. Don't start down some pattern of self-hate and forcing yourself to become someone that you are not.
post #13 of 63
I can certainly understand the need to blend in a little more. A slight foreign accent can be charming, a heavy one a hindrance at times in business. As to accents within the same language, I think over time, one naturally develop a new accent depending on where one lives, unless intent on keeping the original accent. I once traveled in the UK with an American, and he was often made fun of because of his accent. Likewise for a friend of mine, American but British-raised, when he came back to the States. When I moved to the US, although French-born, I had a British accent (many hours spent at the Sorbonne language labs), and now I would term my accent as heavily American, with a few ruins left of my British accent, tinged with a bit of French. I don't sound foreign to most people, but I do get asked to do voice-overs because my accent is "undefinable". I do not intend to take lessons to erase traces of my past. Maybe that's the advice I would have: give yourself some time to grow into whatever accent you will inevitably acquire by being in close proximity with those you wish to emulate.
post #14 of 63
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by smw356
I fail to see how adopting a false accent to hide where you are from is improving yourself in any way shape or form. To me its a pretty telltale sign of shame of some sort of form that you're compensating for.

By all means improve yourself by any means you can. Improve your body. Improve your mind. Improve your social standing. However do not cross the line into trying to be someone you aren't. Embrace your heritage while improving yourself. Even if you dislike your heritage it has made you what you are. Do not be ashamed of it and try to hide it. If you're are American. Be a god damn American. Don't start down some pattern of self-hate and forcing yourself to become someone that you are not.

I really disagree with you. I don't "hate" myself or "hate" my culture. I do want to speak good English, and in my personal opinion, I define good English as English as spoken by the well-educated Britons. (You may have a different opinion and that's fine.) In fact, if you mix with the local average population in the third world, they will readily concede that the english that they speak are bastardized. This is a fact that even politicians lament. There's no shame in admitting this at all. When I was younger, I attended classes offered by the British Council, but despite this, due to social pressures (i.e. the need to fit in with everyone else and not been seen as uppity), I had to continue to speak a bastardized form of English. Now, even though I speak with an American accent, I am very sensitive about how I am perceived whenever I am in Asia so I make a deliberate attempt to "bastardize" my speech so as to be closer to the people there. There is nothing wrong with my accent right now, which is American. However, I live in London and probably want to remain here for the considerable future so it is to my advantage to speak English in a way that Britons consider to be the right/superior way. This *IS* self-improvement in the context of the society I am living in.

There is no such thing as a fake accent. Given practice and determination, you adopt it. This is what happens to all immigrants in America and their children. So given your line of reasoning I would suppose if you prefered that they did not learn English if they arrived in the US without knowing the language? None of us were born clothed in Kiton suits and Borrelli shirts, but we learn about these things, we aspire to them and we achieve them and at some point you put them on every morning without second thought.

You fashion your life based PURELY on your aspirations. As JPS said, existence before essence. You should never be hindered by where you came from or your cultural heritage.
post #15 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by sloaney
There is no such thing as a fake accent. Given practice and determination, you adopt it.
i disagree with you on this point. i dated an american girl w/ a fake british accent that she adopted after a semester in england------she kept it up for a good year but reverted to her native "joisey" tongue out of sheer exhaustion. oh, and exhibit b: madonna fake can be just as good, but still... fake.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
Styleforum › Forums › Culture › Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel › improving voice