How To Have A Native Accent: 4 Tips with Dev Patel


What's up everyone? I'm Andrea, your RealLife English Fluency coach.

Now, in a recent lesson we analyzed Bollywood Star,

Deepika Padukone's accent, and in that lesson we saw how she's become

an exceptional English speaker while still keeping her accent.

In this lesson we'll take a look at English actor Dev Patel,

who is most famous for his roles in Slumdog Millionaire,

And Lion.

Now, Dev is different to Deepika given

that he is a native British English speaker.

So there's probably not much merit in talking about his English,

but what about his accent? Given that Dev has acted in a

range of films and he's had a lot of diverse

roles it means that characters that he has played

have had American, British, Indian and even Australian accents.

Actors who have had to learn a different accent for a role

can definitely offer some great advice for English learners.

In fact, in a way when you're speaking another language sometimes it does feel

like you can be acting. One thing that is for sure is

that you're definitely out of your comfort zone when doing so.

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So, as you'll see in this lesson, Dev Patel

offers four great insights that can really help

you along in your english language journey.

So let's take a look! So, our first insight is that you can leave a

hint of your native accent.

So, what does Dev Patel actually mean by this?

What he's saying is that when he was putting on his American accent

he actually left a little bit of his native British

accent there also. So he did this on purpose and whilst he mostly

sounded American there was still a hint of his British accent there too.

There's probably not a lot of English language learners that can completely

fool someone into thinking that they are native.

However if you do tend to keep a hint of your native accent, it tends to sound

a bit more exotic which is really nice as well.

So we've seen that some actors like Deepika Padukone,

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sofia Vergara proudly keep their native accent,

while still speaking exceptional English it's important to note that you want to

be able to communicate clearly and work on your pronunciation, but you

don't have to speak with a perfect American or British accent.

Now, number two is don't be afraid to exaggerate. So what Dev is saying here

is that when working on his accent he tends to exaggerate them

now while this might sound silly to begin with,

it can really help in perfecting your accent

and then as you work on it you can then start to tone it down,

so that it sounds more natural. Let's hear what he had to say about this.

As an English teacher i've found that this has actually really

helped me when learning Spanish. What I tend to do is I sometimes imitate

my students accent when speaking in English.

And that's really helped me when perfecting

my pronunciation in Spanish. I also do this sometimes with my favorite Spanish

actress Penelope Cruz and it really helps when working on pronunciation.

Although i'm sure people can tell that

I'm a foreigner when I speak in Spanish it has really helped to make my

pronunciation clearer. And although people know that i'm a

foreigner, they usually can't guess that I'm actually British.

So at first you might feel a little bit silly

when really putting on an exaggerated

American or British accent, but it's really going to help you later

on when you're having those conversations in English.

Sometimes just to have a bit of fun, I've even done it myself when putting on an

American accent just from growing up and watching so

many tv series and movies in American English with the accent and

everything, and even singing songs it can be really

really fun, and just a fun way of learning and practicing this.

Number three is drill again and again

Wouldn't you feel flattered if someone told you that your British

accent was "spot on"? Or what if they told you that you

"nailed" your American accent? These are both

words used to describe someone's adopted accent.

Well if you aspire to that kind of flattery, Dev makes it really clear here:

You have to drill. So drilling is another way to describe

practicing, only it can be more repetitive and monotonous.

Another way of describing it

is "deliberate practice", which is something that athletes do that sets

them apart from everybody else. If they want to improve on a

particular area they will drill and they will get better

at it over and over and over again with that deliberate practice,

which sets them apart from the rest and is something that amateurs don't do.

If you have patience, drilling ten words or ten sentences, for example

every day, is really going to get you closer to your goal.

The fourth insight is shadowing.

Now, while Dev did not use this word in his explanation he is talking about "shadowing".

So in this clip Dev is explaining about

a role that he played in the film The Second Best Exotic

Marigold Hotel, where he played a character with a

really strong Indian accent. Let's take a look.

Shadowing is another way of saying mimicking.

So, what you would do is when you're watching TV,

or when listening to a song,

or watching a movie you would actually copy or mimic what that person is saying

and the way that they are saying it. When you mimic someone or you shadow a

speaker, you don't only copy their words.

You would also copy their intonation, their pauses and their tones.

You might even have a look at the way their mouth moves when they articulate certain words

Shadowing is a form of speaking however because you are copying what the other

person is saying, you don't even have to think about the grammar at all.

So you're really focusing on your pronunciation

and your articulation, which is a great way to practice this.

It leaves all your mental power and focus

on the phonetics of the language. One technique that I would always recommend

to my students was to choose an English-speaking mother or father

So this isn't literally choosing a new parent,

it's choosing someone that you want to

emulate or imitate, all aspects of the way that they speak.

Just like a baby, learning how to speak from their mother and father

What Dev explains here is that he chose

one particular uncle. So the tip here is, for example

choosing one famous person that you really really love

and you can watch some interviews that they do,

and choose a specific part, watch it over and over again,

repeating or shadowing what they are saying and how they are saying it.

I also highly recommend that you record yourself

doing this, so that you can listen back to it, see if you make any errors and

also compare it to the original. That way you can practice it again and again,

perfecting it. I also recommend that you

really exaggerate it when you do it.

That way you're using all of the tips that we have spoken

about in this lesson.

So I hope you enjoyed this lesson, and if you do try out some of these tips make

sure you have fun with it because it can be very entertaining.

Also, if you haven't already, I highly recommend that you check out

our lesson with Deepika Padukone next, because

you'll find some great tips in there as well,

whether or not you want to keep or lose your accent.

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