Last Wednesday, our homework was to go to ‘The Listening Project’ in BBC iPlayer, listen to some conversations and choose an accent that is not similar to our own one (Suffolk/Outside London). By the end of this session is to present to everyone the accent we chose, show a recording of the accent, write down words that are pronounced differently and finally, try to speak a sentence from the segment to attempt. The aim is to be able to present my findings and practice my chosen accent: Aberystwyth (West Wales).
The main issue for me when finding an accent was finding one that had a clear difference from my own and being able to determine the location of that accent as that was part of the task. However, I was able to find a conversation between Lloyd (a retired primary school teacher) and Yvonne (currently a district nurse) where they discuss how technology has developed over the years and how Yvonne doesn’t want to move away so her patients can see a familiar face.
For the main words and sentences I caught, I wrote and spelt them in the manner that I heard them, including:
- “You wouldn’t…recegnize dat…de difference”- ‘Th’ words sounded like they were pronounced with a ‘D’ instead and all words had the ‘R’ rolled, what I noticed that the more times I spoke this sentence, my mouth would change shape and become wider. Other words/phrases which had this was “career” and “de are problems”.
- “How…simler”- I could not distinguish the other ‘I’ in “similar”, instead there was a beat where the letter should be.
- “Someting to doo”- There was no “Th” in this word and the “Do” was extended.
As I was practicing the sentence in the first bullet point, I found that because of the different pronunciations, I was only able to pronounce the words if I was reading them. However, the more I listened to it, the more I was able to memorise it and improve, but because I wanted to be as accurate as possible in the lesson, I fell back on my notes and read it. Overall I felt I was able to pronounce the sentence with some Welsh and could easily distinguish that from my own accent.
After I presented my findings, I then observed accents that everyone else in the lesson decided. Some examples that I was interested was Liverpool (Scouse) where the letter K is croaky and pronounced all in the throat when spoken, for example, in the word “like”. In Birmingham, they highly emphasise the ‘ng’ in words, for example, in “singing” and will add a ‘z’ sound after a word ending in ‘s’, such as “bus” (=busz).
In conclusion, this activity taught me to never guess an accent as there is no way it can be accurate, instead, listen to phrases, note down the differences and depending on how you prefer to speak it, record it or read from notes. I also learned the difference between accent (how you make words with your mouth) and dialect (the difference in words). In order to keep improving, I will continue to practice the phrases that I wrote down and over time, try to not rely on my notes.
The next session with Lynn will also be showing our findings on our chosen playwright which for me is Beaumont and Fletcher.