By Stephanie Ciccarelli
July 29, 2010
Can you be coached to lose a regional accent like Eliza Doolittle in George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion?
What does it take to shake off ingrained regionalisms and project a more "national" sound?
Many of the voices you have heard over the years have undergone training to help give them a more polished sound.
Just as actors in film are coached on set to help them get more into character, such training is available on an individual basis for voice over professionals.
Find out how some coaching can help and get links to some neat resources here in today's VOX Daily.
Did you know that you can learn how to change the way you speak?
Let's take George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion which is based upon the ancient Greek legend of Pygmalion and Galatea. You might know this story better in the context of the Broadway musical My Fair Lady or the 1964 film of the same name starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison.
The plot revolves around a Cockney flower girl called Eliza Doolittle and a phoneticist named Professor Henry Higgins. Higgins' task is to transform Doolittle from her humble origins to that of a fair lady of distinction, success is primarily achieved through phonetic instruction.
Just as Eliza was able to overcome her accent and became a grand lady, you can also increase your opportunities voicing spots for national campaigns, narrating documentaries, audiobooks and more through voice and speech training.
As a professional voice talent, you need the facility to perform a number of accents and dialects for various roles... even if you feel you don't need any help losing an accent, the following resources are also designed to help you gain accents and more phonetic versatility.
Take this Quiz to identify your regional accent (USA)
The International Dialects of English Archive (IDEA)
IDEA Dialect Map
Tips on Modifying your Regional Accent
How to Learn a Dialect
Accents and Dialects: Accuracy VS Authenticity (podcast)
Accents and Dialects (podcast)
Helping Hispanic Voice Talent Speak Unaccented English (podcast)
Sounding Clean While Speaking Naturally (podcast)
Interview with 21 Accents Star Amy Walker (Article and Video)
If you are looking for a private tutor or dialect coach, there are many people you can study with, some of whom are members of the Voice Over Experts faculty. A great resource to find coaches of these kinds is the Voice and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA).
Do you know of any wonderful accent and dialect coaches? How about a coach who specializes in accent reduction? Your comments are welcome and I look forward to hearing from you.
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