Author Robert Blumenfeld, drawing on his experience as an actor and dialect coach, provides a detailed and extensive guide for actors and linguists who are interested in the distinctions between the accents of the British Isles and how to reproduce them.
Blumenfeld organizes each chapter into the various regions of the British Isles. These chapters are further subdivided into sections that explain Intonations and Stress, Practice Exercise and offers Monologues (and sometimes extra scenes) for practice.
The explanation within each chapter is comprehensive but succinctly explains the difference between pronunciations of words in the accents. This includes how to modulate pitch, intonation and stress and how emphasis on various words in a sentence or syllable of a word affect the accent. Also included are numerous and varied practice pieces, from practice exercises to exercises in teaching yourself any accent, and questions to ask yourself when listening to an accent. The text explanations are complemented by the audible examples of the accompanying CD, in which the author demonstrates pronunciations of phonetic symbols used in the book plus examples of various accents taught and the readings of excerpts provided in the book and comparisons between accents.
Not only does the book teach English, Irish and Scottish accents, but this handbook also includes a vast range of regional dialects for each of these areas—for example, London’s upper and middle-class British accents and London’s Cockney as well as Provincial accents that include the Midlands and Yorkshire. Blumenfeld also educates readers on the geographical regions and offers pop culture trivia connections. Examples of the latter include examples of celebrities with accents discussed, i.e. The Beatles’ Liverpool accents or Anthony Hopkins’ hint of Welsh accent, or numerous reference to classic works of literature from Shakespeare to Lewis Carroll to Harold Pinter and movies such as The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill But Came Down A Mountain.
Teach Yourself Accents: The British Isles offers a plethora of both instruction and information: strategy, advice and cultural tidbits for actors, linguists and Anglophiles interested in learning how to reproduce or distinguish accents of the British Isles. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.