How to Learn the British Accent: Received Pronunciation (Modern RP)

33,979 views ・ 2024-04-19

English Like A Native


Please double-click on the English subtitles below to play the video.

00:00
If you are interested in improving your English pronunciation and in particular
0
140
6360
00:06
acquiring a British accent then you are in the right place as I'm going
1
6810
5980
00:12
to be giving you some valuable tips to help you to acquire the British
2
12790
4839
00:17
accent and sound more natural and feel more confident when speaking English.
3
17629
5560
00:23
Many students ask me to help them to acquire a British accent.
4
23299
5016
00:28
But what they often mean is that they want to learn modern Received Pronunciation.
5
28685
6300
00:35
Often called RP, Received Pronunciation has a history of being an accent of class
6
35144
7610
00:43
rather than region, though it is widely accepted as the Southern English accent
7
43830
6560
00:50
and there are many RP speakers from all walks of life, not just the upper crust.
8
50440
7680
00:58
The useful thing about learning RP or modern RP is that it is the
9
58229
6801
01:05
form found in the dictionaries.
10
65030
2710
01:07
So if you ever need to know how a word is pronounced in RP, just head
11
67760
5560
01:13
to the Cambridge Online Dictionary.
12
73370
2169
01:16
Ok, that's enough of the introduction.
13
76369
2841
01:19
Let's get into the good stuff.
14
79390
1870
01:21
Oh yeah!
15
81380
610
01:22
Every student comes with their own unique accent.
16
82440
3959
01:26
So the sounds that you need to work on to acquire an RP accent will be
17
86544
5441
01:31
different to Dave's, just like how different bodies in a gym need different
18
91985
5550
01:37
exercises to achieve a muscular physique.
19
97555
3800
01:41
However, when I'm assessing my student's pronunciation, there are
20
101445
4680
01:46
a handful of features that seem to cause trouble time and time again.
21
106125
6370
01:52
Number one.
22
112695
800
01:53
The schwa sound.
23
113760
2340
01:56
The schwa.
24
116390
490
01:57
This is the most common sound in English and it sounds like this, uh, uh..
25
117050
8330
02:05
I call this the lazy sound because the oral posture, the set up
26
125616
5913
02:11
of everything in your mouth is relaxed and neutral, uh, uh, uh.
27
131569
7831
02:19
The lips are parted.
28
139820
1199
02:22
The jaw hangs loose and the tongue lies there completely disengaged
29
142135
6449
02:28
as you can see uh, uh, uh.
30
148714
4881
02:34
Now, the schwa is found in many words, usually in place of the weak
31
154175
6190
02:40
or unstressed vowel within a word.
32
160385
2570
02:43
For example, take the word 'for'.
33
163244
3441
02:46
Independently, it's pronounced /fɔː/.
34
166914
3680
02:51
But, within a sentence, this word often switches to its weak
35
171234
4841
02:56
form and becomes /fə/, /fə/.
36
176075
4099
03:00
Or is replaced with the schwa, uh, fuh, fuh.
37
180984
5940
03:07
Take this sentence.
38
187595
1179
03:08
"Tea for two please and two sugars for me."
39
188785
2799
03:12
Did you notice when I said 'for', both times they were weak,
40
192005
4890
03:17
"Tea for /fə/ two please and two sugars for /fə/ me."
41
197415
5079
03:23
"Tea for /fə/ two, sugars for /fə/ me."
42
203015
2509
03:25
"Tea for two please and two sugars for me."
43
205984
2961
03:29
You will hear the same thing happen with of, of.
44
209164
5241
03:34
It becomes /əv/, /əv/.
45
214614
3271
03:38
Listen to this.
46
218905
840
03:39
"A piece of cake can cause a lot of trouble."
47
219834
2821
03:43
Piece of /əv/ cake instead of piece of /ɒv/ cake.
48
223515
3699
03:47
Piece of cake.
49
227785
1500
03:49
Lot of /əv/, lot of /əv/ trouble.
50
229715
3510
03:54
"A piece of cake can cause a lot of trouble."
51
234385
2880
03:58
And it happens with was /wɒz/ which becomes /wəz/, /wəz/.
52
238405
7500
04:06
Listen to this.
53
246265
870
04:07
"I was thinking while he was /wəz/ working on a bridge that was /wəz/ really old."
54
247585
4660
04:13
"I was thinking while he was /wəz/ working on a bridge that was /wəz/ really old."
55
253815
6870
04:21
Now, the schwa replaces words that end with ER, like in the word water.
56
261015
6390
04:28
Water.
57
268735
750
04:29
So we may ask for a bottle of water, a bottle of water.
58
269605
6240
04:36
Notice, I also replaced the ah with a schwa as well, a /ə/, a
59
276510
6360
04:42
bottle of water, a bottle of water.
60
282880
3480
04:46
A bottle of water please.
61
286640
1339
04:48
It doesn't just replace er endings, it can also replace or, ar, and many
62
288149
5820
04:53
other endings, like in the word doctor.
63
293970
2229
04:56
Doctor /ˈdɒktə/, rather than doctor, and mirror /ˈmɪrə/, rather than mirror.
64
296559
4476
05:01
Often students are caught out when the schwa sneaks in and replaces
65
301915
4489
05:06
the A or the E in words ending with consonant AL or consonant EL, like,
66
306404
8601
05:15
"He was sentimental about the animal on the highest level of medication."
67
315025
6150
05:21
"He was sentimental about the animal on the highest level of medication."
68
321845
9880
05:31
"He was sentimental about the animal on the highest level of medication."
69
331865
6339
05:38
And did you spot the word ending with T I O N?
70
338555
5189
05:44
The schwa is in there too!
71
344515
1930
05:47
/ʃən/, /ʃən/.
72
347105
2190
05:49
Medication.
73
349815
1400
05:51
Master the schwa sound and that will make a huge difference.
74
351695
5480
05:57
Okay, time for you to listen and repeat.
75
357385
3950
06:01
"Tea for two please and two sugars for me."
76
361465
3319
06:08
"A piece of cake can cause a lot of trouble."
77
368344
3081
06:16
"I was thinking, while he was working, on a bridge that was really old."
78
376540
4960
06:27
"A bottle of water."
79
387870
1500
06:33
"He was sentimental about the animal."
80
393159
2940
06:39
"I'm on a high level of medication."
81
399799
2461
06:46
Now learning an accent or improving your pronunciation can seem difficult,
82
406620
6230
06:53
perhaps impossible, but let me reassure you that it is absolutely possible.
83
413130
5910
06:59
And though it does take time, it can also be an enjoyable journey of discovery.
84
419679
5891
07:05
And if you'd like support and guidance on your journey to perfecting
85
425930
3960
07:09
your pronunciation, then click on the link in the description and
86
429890
3779
07:13
I'll tell you how I can help you.
87
433670
2380
07:16
So next I must talk about the R sound in RP.
88
436250
5140
07:21
British English is non-rhotic.
89
441520
3149
07:24
We don't pronounce the R when it follows a vowel.
90
444690
2940
07:27
This can cause pronunciation confusion as other popular varieties of English
91
447750
6329
07:34
are rhotic and do pronounce the R.
92
454130
2719
07:37
But this is not the case in RP.
93
457480
2900
07:40
The R is silent unless it begins the word or is followed by an audible vowel.
94
460569
7826
07:48
So, in words such as real, rock and roll, you will, of course, pronounce the R
95
468625
9780
07:58
just as you would in words like zero, and irate, and carrot, zero, irate, carrot.
96
478465
12685
08:11
In these words, the R is sandwiched between two vowel sounds, zero, EOR.
97
491320
8440
08:20
R in the middle.
98
500130
680
08:20
Zero.
99
500970
1500
08:22
IA in irate.
100
502905
3330
08:27
AR, RO in carrot.
101
507175
2811
08:31
I don't pronounce the R.
102
511040
1440
08:32
However, if it comes after a vowel and is followed by a consonant, so car for
103
512510
8010
08:40
example, we wouldn't pronounce the R.
104
520520
1880
08:43
But there would be an R if the following word began with a vowel sound.
105
523225
3740
08:47
But let's look at the words car wash.
106
527025
4050
08:51
Because the following sound is a consonant, wuh.
107
531224
3271
08:55
Car wash has no R sound.
108
535225
4360
09:00
Car wash.
109
540015
1139
09:01
Car wash.
110
541575
1290
09:03
"Going to the car wash."
111
543165
1940
09:07
Here's an example.
112
547265
1199
09:08
Part.
113
548944
1031
09:10
Part.
114
550824
1051
09:12
An important part.
115
552214
3026
09:16
We didn't pronounce the R in part.
116
556100
2070
09:18
Or important.
117
558210
2869
09:21
An important part.
118
561660
1530
09:23
But you'd probably drop the last T of important.
119
563290
3269
09:27
When you put it next to P of part, so you'd say, important part.
120
567175
5539
09:33
Important part.
121
573065
1180
09:34
An important part.
122
574335
1330
09:35
Try this.
123
575735
940
09:37
"The water jet is an important part of the car wash."
124
577415
5069
09:46
Now, with this lack of rhoticity, paw and poor sound exactly the
125
586004
7731
09:53
same, as do father and farther.
126
593735
4480
09:58
Also note that E R E can be pronounced as /eə/ in words
127
598895
6299
10:05
like where /weə/, there /ðeə/.
128
605205
3510
10:09
Or it could be pronounced as /ɪə/ in hear, near, sincere.
129
609465
6770
10:17
I R E can be pronounced as /aɪə/, /aɪə/ in words like fire, higher and wire.
130
617155
10430
10:28
A R E is often pronounced as /eə/ again in words like care, share and bear.
131
628555
9380
10:37
But we do not pronounce the R in any of those examples.
132
637935
5640
10:43
So that's the important bit to hold on to.
133
643595
2370
10:46
Is your head spinning yet?
134
646375
2290
10:48
Trying to learn all these rules can be daunting.
135
648835
2770
10:51
Often, it's best to just let your brain work out the patterns itself by giving
136
651725
5519
10:57
it lots and lots of input, regularly listening, active listening and shadowing.
137
657244
7931
11:05
It can go a long way.
138
665255
1620
11:06
So go and find a great podcast.
139
666905
2610
11:10
The English Like a Native Podcast offers daily podcasts for you to
140
670285
3609
11:13
listen to and they easily fit into your daily life because they're
141
673895
3620
11:17
quite short, but not too short.
142
677515
2269
11:19
So be sure to find it on your preferred streaming platform.
143
679794
4461
11:24
Now repeat after me.
144
684415
2180
11:27
"Carrots are rolling but where are the rocks?"
145
687694
4831
11:36
"Rita is irate."
146
696955
2590
11:42
"Get car hire here."
147
702185
3090
11:49
"Share and care, sharing and caring."
148
709634
5111
11:59
"It's an important part of the car wash."
149
719674
3891
12:08
Okay, moving on to a tricky little short vowel.
150
728545
4210
12:13
The short /ʌ/ vowel.
151
733154
2721
12:15
As a northerner myself, I was surprised to learn all those years ago that RP had a
152
735954
6961
12:22
short vowel which I had never used before.
153
742915
3659
12:26
The /ʌ/ vowel.
154
746964
2000
12:29
This means that the vowel sound in put and good sound different to
155
749135
6380
12:35
the vowel sound in cut and strut.
156
755515
3430
12:39
It also means that the phrase good luck is very tricky for me to pronounce without
157
759334
5770
12:45
slipping back into my northern accent, which would be good luck, good luck,
158
765105
5989
12:51
but in RP it's good luck, not good luck.
159
771155
5459
12:57
Good luck.
160
777405
730
12:58
This sound we can find it by starting in the lazy schwa position.
161
778605
5810
13:04
Uh, uh, uh.
162
784725
2540
13:07
Then we drop the lower jaw slightly, lift the back of the tongue slightly
163
787625
6830
13:14
to produce an /ʌ/, /ʌ/, /ʌ/, /ʌ/.
164
794654
5425
13:20
It's not as far as an ah sound, which goes a little further with
165
800489
6226
13:26
the dropped jaw and raised tongue.
166
806715
2150
13:29
Listen to the difference between these three sounds.
167
809035
2820
13:31
/ə/, /ə/, /ʌ/, /ʌ/, /æ/, /æ/, /ə/ /ʌ/, /æ/.
168
811945
11060
13:43
You may notice that it makes me smile as I move from the lazy
169
823544
4520
13:48
schwa, /ə/, through to an /æ/.
170
828124
2830
13:51
/ə/, /ʌ/, /æ/.
171
831824
2211
13:55
Repeat these phrases.
172
835045
1360
13:56
"Come up trumps."
173
836645
1740
13:59
"Come up trumps."
174
839380
2330
14:02
"Lump sums of money."
175
842910
2390
14:07
"Lump sums of money."
176
847819
1571
14:11
"Some love, others lust."
177
851370
3300
14:18
Let's move from short to long and discuss the confusion around the /ɑː/ vowel.
178
858939
8770
14:27
You may have noticed earlier I said car with a long open vowel.
179
867959
4851
14:33
Car.
180
873240
1463
14:35
In RP the same vowel is used in words like bath.
181
875020
5183
14:41
Pass.
182
881083
860
14:42
Last.
183
882369
1000
14:43
And laugh.
184
883369
1220
14:45
Now, in many regional UK accents and in American, the vowel in
185
885619
6730
14:52
these words is a short /æ/.
186
892349
2361
14:54
Bath.
187
894959
630
14:56
Pass.
188
896219
671
14:57
Last.
189
897499
770
14:58
Laugh.
190
898959
680
14:59
So, keep this in mind when you're working on RP.
191
899869
3710
15:04
Bath, passed, last and laugh.
192
904176
5184
15:09
Practice the RP version with me now.
193
909449
2291
15:11
"The last car drove past."
194
911839
2431
15:14
Past!
195
914270
290
15:14
Oops typo:)
196
914660
490
15:17
" Who had the last laugh?"
197
917480
2400
15:22
"My father's in the bath."
198
922479
2681
15:28
"Up the garden path."
199
928210
1130
15:32
Sticking with long vowels, of all the vowels, I would say that most of my
200
932650
5740
15:38
students struggle the most with the oral posture of /ɔː/, found in words
201
938390
7130
15:45
such as sure /ʃɔː/, more and law.
202
945530
4400
15:50
And /ɜː/ found in words such as shirt and work.
203
950530
7259
15:58
In most cases, learners are confused by the non-rhotic R,
204
958260
5139
16:03
which we spoke about earlier.
205
963979
2140
16:06
So with the /ɔː/ sound, you need to drop the lower jaw a long way to make a big
206
966199
6915
16:13
space inside the mouth and round the lips.
207
973114
2468
16:16
/ɔː/ /ɔː/.
208
976132
3441
16:19
Repeat these phrases.
209
979880
2170
16:22
"For your door."
210
982240
2500
16:27
"For more paws."
211
987250
2240
16:31
"He yawns and scores."
212
991739
2771
16:37
With that first example, "For your door," I want you to remember what we
213
997130
4790
16:41
talked about regarding the of the R.
214
1001920
3380
16:45
So, rather than, "For your door," in RP, you wouldn't pronounce the R in
215
1005550
7809
16:53
any of these words, "For your door."
216
1013439
3831
16:57
You will just hear the repeat of /ɔː/, /ɔː/, /ɔː/, /ɔː/ with a few
217
1017839
7410
17:05
extra letters, "For your door."
218
1025250
3599
17:09
Now when looking at the long /ɜː/ sound, the letter R usually
219
1029260
6249
17:15
causes an issue for students.
220
1035559
1570
17:17
Take a look at the words, word, work, shirt.
221
1037549
5060
17:22
The temptation is to pronounce the R word, work, shirt, but in RP you
222
1042790
8580
17:31
would ignore the R and instead use the long, /ɜː/ word, work, shirt.
223
1051375
8695
17:40
Repeat these phrases,
224
1060820
1650
17:42
"Bert preferred birds."
225
1062470
2790
17:48
"I walk to work."
226
1068330
2010
17:53
"The world of words."
227
1073330
2410
17:57
"He heard her burp."
228
1077980
2000
18:03
Is this useful so far?
229
1083330
1560
18:04
It's a lonely existence standing in front of a camera alone
230
1084980
4179
18:09
in a room talking to myself.
231
1089200
2099
18:11
So if you are still with me, let me know by hitting the like
232
1091299
3870
18:15
button and comment below telling me why you're watching this video.
233
1095170
4870
18:20
I look forward to learning more about you.
234
1100510
1710
18:22
Now.
235
1102330
450
18:23
I have to mention the TH.
236
1103195
2655
18:26
This is probably the most awkward oral posture to master if you're unfamiliar
237
1106055
5480
18:31
with this sound /θ/, /θ/, / /ð/.
238
1111585
5100
18:39
Yes, I'm sticking my tongue out, well not all the way out, /θ/, but it's placed
239
1119314
6571
18:45
between my teeth with just a slither of space for the air to pass through.
240
1125885
4810
18:50
This It's simple to demonstrate, but it's one of the hardest adjustments to make.
241
1130825
5590
18:56
But as with all things, practice equals progress.
242
1136605
3230
18:59
There are two versions of the TH, voiceless TH, as in thank,
243
1139924
5991
19:06
think, path, and voiced TH.
244
1146345
4359
19:10
The, that, whether, them.
245
1150705
4600
19:15
Repeat these phrases.
246
1155465
1960
19:17
"These three ran farther."
247
1157575
2730
19:24
"The thief threw it."
248
1164195
1599
19:29
"These thoughts are threatening."
249
1169014
2731
19:35
As I mentioned earlier, it is possible to transform your voice
250
1175125
4829
19:40
just as I did many years ago.
251
1180305
2430
19:42
To learn the strategies that I used to transform, come along
252
1182765
4159
19:46
to my Pronunciation Masterclass.
253
1186925
1799
19:49
The link is in the description.
254
1189235
1700
About this website

This site will introduce you to YouTube videos that are useful for learning English. You will see English lessons taught by top-notch teachers from around the world. Double-click on the English subtitles displayed on each video page to play the video from there. The subtitles scroll in sync with the video playback. If you have any comments or requests, please contact us using this contact form.

https://forms.gle/WvT1wiN1qDtmnspy7