Perhaps you've been watching James Bond and admired his British accent as he saves the world and gets the girl. Or maybe you're a fan of Hugh Grant's comedies and want to learn the quirky humour in British TV shows and movies? Whatever your reasons for studying British English, there are many solutions to any study woes you might have. If you've looked in the mirror and said out loud 'I want to learn British English', then you're one of many who are about to start a fun and profitable journey.
Crumpets And Cockneys
In learning how to speak like a British person, it is important to look at how you want to progress. For starters, don't worry about Cockney rhyming slang, regional accents, and how to have expert knowledge of British cuisine. Start slow, and consider the building blocks of learning any language:
- Nouns and verbs
- Speaking practice
First make yourself a large cup of English breakfast tea and toast two crumpets. Then grab a pad and pen, and think about how you use your own language everyday. Consider all the verbal exchanges you have in a day: paying for a train ticket, ordering a coffee, talking to your boss, and then chatting to a friend after work. Consider how many words you use in some of these exchanges. Some day to day conversations will make you realise that you didn't use that many words. In terms of speaking like a Brit, getting started is easier than you might think.
Please And Thank You
Don't be frightened about how you may come across if you visit England. True to the movies, British people are still very polite. In England: a smile, a please and a thank you will immediately put you in the good books of British people. Here are three English sentences to get you started:
- May I please have a return train ticket to London?
- Thank you for the coffee, it was delicious.
- Thank you, Blofeld. But could you please turn off the industrial laser cutter?
Many books and smartphone apps will tell you how to speak good British English, but the first thing to learn is that good manners and a sense of humour is the first step to speaking like a native Brit.
One of the easiest mistakes to make in learning British English is to overlook the use of syllables. If you want to learn British English pronunciation then the study of syllables will pay off handsomely. All you need to buy is an English dictionary. First choose a word such as: require
This word is made up of two syllables: 're' and 'quire'.
A syllable is most easily understood as an uninterrupted sound in speech. The trick to pronouncing English words like a Brit is to understand syllables and how British people use them. As an example, take the actual word: British
'British' is composed of two syllables: 'Brit' and 'ish'. In England the syllable 'Brit' is stressed more than the syllable 'ish'. If we put this word partly in bold as British. You can see a British English speaker would place greater emphasis (or stress) on the syllable 'Brit' when pronouncing the word. In France, French speakers would emphasise both syllables equally: 'Brit' and 'ish' = British.
This is what gives the British accent its distinctive sound. But the only way to learn British English pronunciation is to converse with native speakers or learn from a professional British English teacher.
Supply And Demand
Not all language schools can supply native British English teachers but American English teachers are often plentiful. Another place to look for a suitable teacher is online. By conversing with a native British English speaker you'll be able to ask how to speak proper British English. Video call technology has meant that British English lessons are now widely available and at a time which suits you. If you've been wondering how to learn British English online, then we suggest the following steps:
- Try a free or reduced price online British English lesson.
- Tell the teacher what you would like to achieve with your lessons.
- Ask the teacher for homework, and a list of useful English vocabulary you can learn in your spare time.
By learning new words with your British English teacher, you'll understand the correct pronunciation for a whole host of useful vocabulary. If you already have an understanding of how syllables work, then together with your lessons you'll be able to leave native English speakers stirred but not shaken.