Well I got to do something really fun on Monday night, our High School play this year is a Sherlock Holmes skit and they nearly all have to speak with a British accent. So when I was asked to help the students get the accent, I was delighted to help out.
It's not easy trying to help someone sound British, especially when you don't really 'hear' your own accent. So I concentrated on the difference in vowel pronunciations, speaking slower, more clearly and enunciating every letter.
It was a real giggle for all of us, I took them in small groups and read through the lines with them. I got them to watch my mouth closely as I spoke as apparently Brits do not open their mouths as wide as Americans when they speak and we repeated problem words until they improved.
At first they were typical self-conscious teenagers, but then we started to have fun and they relaxed and got better. It was amazing how speaking slower and saying the whole word clearly actually made them sound more British.
I felt most sorry for the young lad playing Jeeves. He was the first one told he needed to spend time with me and I hated to tell him Jeeves was an iconic character who spoke very 'posh'. We persevered and he did improve but it was a real struggle for him.
I did have a success with one of the young girls though. Her teacher commented during the rehearsal afterards that she now really sounded British and was too timid to even try before my intervention. Overall I think they all went away with an understanding of how to sound more British and there was definite improvement.
I also left them with the perfect warm-up word before they go on stage - Water, pronouned war-terr by Brits, rather than the American wadda.
I can't wait to see how they do in November.