accents and actors

IF you’ve wandered onto this website you may be wondering if it really is possible to change your accent. To answer that question all you have to do is watch some television and movie actors. Many actors have been trained by a speech pathologist or a dialect coach.

Actors such as Russell Crowe (Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind, The Cinderella Man), Cate Blanchett (The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, How to Train your Dragon 2), and Christian Bale (The Dark Knight, American Hustle, 3:10 to Yuma) are from New Zealand, Australia and Wales, respectively. While they speak English, it is with their native accent not an American accent. You wouldn’t know that if you see them in a movie, but if you hear them interviewed you may not recognize them speaking with their native accent.

Antonio Banderas (Shrek, The Mask of Zorro, Spy Kids) is from Spain, so he speaks English as a second language. When you listen to him you hear his accent, but you can still understand him. Another famous actor and politician, Arnold Schwarzenegger (Terminator, True Lies, Expendables and former governor of California) is from Austria. Even after 40+ years in the United States you still hear his accent but he can be easily understood.

Sometimes an actor may be a native American speaker or foreign-born speaker, but they need to learn a regional accent. They might need the deep southern drawl or distinct sound of a speaker from Boston or New York City.

In all these cases the actors are learning how to shape their accent so they can be easily understood. They will spend time listening to the sounds they are trying to produce and practicing those new sounds until they become a habit.
Just like an actor you can shape your accent to be easily understood, and at least you don’t have to worry about memorizing lines too!

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