Accents are something we often only see in terms of region or a way of speaking. We don’t connect the ways in which they reflect on the cultures they serve or the people who speak them. In reality, where one lives, dictates how they speak and the words they use more than just about anything else.
Becoming familiar with a true native accent doesn’t just change the way you communicate with other people, it connects you to an entirely different culture, even if you can’t visit that place in the here and now. Whether you’re reading a book written by a British author or enjoying a song from the deep South region of the US, understanding an accent matters and connects in ways most people don’t even see.
But how can we learn an accent or even understand a dialect that is not native to us? Well, technology can most certainly help.
Learning Accents: How Can It Be Done?
Many of us would love to learn accents and inflections, if for no other reason than to enjoy cultural TV shows, books, songs, and even jokes from those regions of the world. The question is: how can you learn the accent of a place in which you don’t live? Start with the basics and go from there.
Listen and Learn
The best way to truly learn an accent is to listen. means opening your ears to the exact rhythm and inflection. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have the opportunity to chat in person with a true speaker to study how syllables sing or words are pronounced in real-time. This is where the text to speech software can help. By simply inputting text into an online text to speech generator, you can choose from any number of accents with which to have that text read aloud back to you.
Let’s say you’re really looking into becoming familiar with Cockney British. Simply input some text and a British text to speech generator will read the text aloud in that particular accent. Try in both male and female voices or choose from given regions of a certain country. This is a great way to familiarize yourself with how an accent sounds in terms of rhythm, without having to track down an actual British citizen!
Sing A Little Song
Really want to get intimate with an accent? Don’t just speak the words out loud, warble them out in a beautiful song. Studies show that simply singing in a disparate accent can be a key way to learn the innate diction and inflection of a certain language. Elect a song in the accent or language you are looking to learn. Examine the lyrics and sing them out loud until you feel as if they are being stressed perfectly. Generally, this can be done with most musical categories, so long as you can plainly make out the lyrics and effectively sing them out loud.
Learn the International Phonetic Alphabet
Really feeling serious about connecting to a new accent? Start by familiarizing yourself with the International Phonetic Alphabet. Each letter of this unique alphabet effectively represents a tone and style of making that accent. When you’re studying a new accent or language, becoming conversant with vowel and consonant sounds can prove an overwhelming and uphill battle.
By learning the phonetic alphabet, you’re studying distinctive tongue and lip positions. Eventually, you’ll learn how to mix those positions into unique ways to take on different accents. When you’re learning any type of accent, don’t give headfirst into a very difficult accent or language. Start with something like a British accent and then move on to a French accent or something similar.
Why Connection Matters?
Why does connection matter in the first place? Well, the world is a pretty big and vast place. It is easy to forget that your story isn’t the only tale being spun in the current time. Connecting to different accents and cultures expands your little world, making it bigger and brighter. Not only can this leave you feeling more open and connected to your fellow humans, but it expands your understanding of the human experience and why different cultures matter.
Learning an accent connects us to the world at large and opens doors even traveling can’t unlock. Whether you learn an accent via British text to speech or simply learn the International Phonetic Alphabet, you can open yourself up and feel different about your fellow humans.