Accents American British

Front Vowel Sounds

Look in a mirror and say the sounds in these words: ” ea”(scream), “i” (flip), “e” (jet), “a” (tan). What do you notice about the jaw? It gets wider and wider for every word.

Look closely at your tongue and you can see for each word the tongue gets more deflated with every word (from scream to tan). The midline of the tongue actually deflates like a beachball on steroids when you transition from an “e” to an “a” sound.

JAW HEIGHT increases as the vowel sounds are made from scrEAm, flIp, jEt, tAn.
Accents British

How to do a RP British accent

Pay attention to the three pillars of oral posture:

  1. Jaw
  2. Lips
  3. Tongue

First of all, let us consider the default anatomical position of the jaw. In RP, the jaw is often raised up and this reflects the poshness and social status of those who practise RP.  So, if possible, try to keep your head up, expose your neck and demonstrate you are scared of absolutely nothing. 

Next, think about the lips. Pay attention to my lips when I say: “Sure”. I will  say it twice. First, with an American accent, the second with a British accent.  Pay attention to my lip corners. Are they stretched apart or do they move forward?  /ʃɔːr/   Clearly, the lip corners stretched back in an American accent.   /ʃʊr/  Here, the lip corners move forward and close together . So, to maintain a RP British accent, be aware of keeping your lips together and not showing so much teeth, as opposed to Americans. 

Lastly, the tongue. Is it in the front or the back of the mouth? Close your eyes  and say Roger lost his dog with an American accent. Now say it with an RP accent.  Do you feel the tongue position changes from the center of the mouth to the front of the mouth?  

Here is another classic example in RP when the tongue is in front of the mouth:   /ʃʊr/  as opposed to   /ʃɔːr/ where the tongue is rolled back in American English.