How You Can Apply the Modern BBC accent to YOUR Speaking
Good morning, good afternoon or good evening - today I’m going to let you into some secrets on what the modern BBC accent is and how you can apply it to your speaking to sound perfectly powerful. Because, let’s face it, the modern BBC accent is one of the most desired accents out there, and today I’ll show you why.
Plus, at the end of the video I’ll give you a fantastic top tip on where you can check out some BBC accents. Are you ready? Then let’s go.
Hello, It’s Jon your pronunciation and accents coach and right here you can get a better British accent.
So firstly ‘modern’ or ‘classic’ BBC accent - what’s the difference?
Well, . The BBC accent has had a long and proud history. We can divide the accent into two categories: what I call the ‘classic’ BBC accent and the ‘modern’ BBC accent. The classic you could say is much more connected with conservative RP (received pronunciation) and it was most popular in the early to mid 20th century right up to the 1970s. If you watch news reports from this time you will get the idea - I’ll show you where a bit later. Or you can watch my video on the classic BBC accent, the link is in the description. The moral is that the classic BBC accent is a bit old-fashioned.
Now as RP has evolved over the years, so has the modern BBC accent. The modern BBC accent is much more like mainstream RP (in other words fairly neutral) and this is what I am speaking right now. Not only that but there are now BBC presenters and newsreaders with non-RP or near RP accents. Today though, we will try to be as neutral as possible. So, throughout the video, I’ll be speaking just like this, although I might have to change it a little in order to speak in ‘modern newsreader speak’ shall we say.
I want to show you that by taking the principles of the modern BBC accent you can apply them to your accent and improve your speaking in general. Whether you are giving a presentation or maybe even a speech, you are free to use the following tips and tricks. Now I don’t want to get too technical today so here are some dos and don’ts for speaking in a modern BBC accent:
Let's start with the dos:
Number one is DO speak clearly. This is very important as reporting on the news is all about getting the message across as clearly as possible. This was why RP or received pronunciation was chosen by the BBC many years ago, so that most people could understand the accent as much as possible. So, not too fast and not too slow, and it also means don’t drop key sounds. Bottle and not ‘bo’’le water and not ‘wa’er alright? Clarity is king.
Number two is DO check your pronunciation of difficult or problematic words or names of people or places. Now in my other BBC video I did point out that there used to be a pronunciation handbook for newsreaders at the BBC. Well now there is a pronunciation unit at the BBC and they monitor difficult and problematic words and tell the news readers how to say these words. If you are giving a presentation, you need to do your research on things like names of people and places, brand names and other words that could be problematic. Here are some words that have more than one way of saying them:
British English /lɛfˈtɛnənt/ or lef-TEN-uhnt
US: /luːˈtɛnənt/ loo-TEN-uhnt
So here we have ‘lieutenant’ in British English and ‘lieutenant’ in American English.
I imagine the BBC go along with the British version but of course both are accepted in English as a whole.
2.Kilometre: UK /ˈkɪl.əˌmiː.tər/ /kɪˈlɒm.ɪ.tər KIL-uh-mee-tuhr or kil-OM-uh-tuhr?
So is it kilometre or kilometre? Hmm, tricky one this one. Traditionally, the stress was on the first syllable (like the first one) but it has started becoming more common to say the second version. I would say the first one but as I say, both now are acceptable. In fact I was just watching a documentary where the female British narrator with a modern RP accent said kiLOMetres (the second one)!
If you have any words that you want to know the proper British pronunciation of then put them in the comments below. Be sure to hit the like button as well.
Alright Tip Number 3 is do use some dramatic effect in your tone of voice but don’t get too emotional when reading the news!
Now the don’ts.
Number 1 So obviously don’t mumble, or speak unclearly as you are reading the news.
Number 2 on a similar note, don’t use these now pretentious features that BBC newsreaders and reporters used to use. I would say the biggest one is don’t roll your r’s with modern BBC English. Keep it simple. OK?
Today’s top tip:
The brilliant BBC archive is a treasure trove of classic and modern BBC accents. If you join their Facebook page then you will get frequent postings of videos in their archives on all different subjects so it’s a really great way of listening to how the BBC accent has developed from the classic to the modern.
And finally, here is a list of current newsreaders and presenters to look out for:Tim Wilcox, Dan Walker, Sophie Raworth, Charlie Stayt and Ros Atkins. They all speak with very pleasant RP or near-RP accents so check them out to watch or listen to them.
So, I hope you enjoyed today’s video and remember to check out the links in the description and also I hope it helps you to get a better British accent.
I’m Jon signing off and all I have to do now is to say see you later and stay connected. Bye, bye!
hi! it's jon.
Welcome to my blog of free tutorials explaining different British accents and areas of pronunciation. It's a complement to my video channel with video scripts, lessons and sometimes extra info not included in some videos. Click on the image to go to the video.