It's finally here. Today is official Publication Day for Collins' Work on Your Accent- the book that I wrote with Sarah Shepherd this year. I couldn't be more excited if I tried!
Here's what the book is, and what the book isn't:
What it is:
It's designed to be a practical guide to help you work on your English pronunciation if you speak English as a Second, or an Other language. We have approached the subject in the same way that we do with our private clients- attempting to demystify the subject as much as possible to make change achievable and tangible. We have worked hard to keep the book as physical and practical as possible, with lots of photographs, and illustrations, and even an accompanying DVD. There are lots of practice exercises, to really help solidify patterns, and build muscle memory.
We have 12 years' experience between us of teaching British accents to non-native speakers of English, and have worked with speakers or many language from all around the world. We have seen the methods used in this book achieve good results, and we are so excited about the new, wider audience that this book will be able to reach.
What it isn't:
This isn't a book about Received Pronunciation designed for actors. If you want one of those, you should be looking for Jan Haydn Rowles and Edda Sharpe's fantastic How To Do Standard English Accents. If you're an actor whose first language isn't English, you'll find our book useful, but you'll want to graduate to Jan and Edda's book to get to grips with the subtleties of different varieties of RP!
This isn't an elocution book. We haven't written it because we have any problem with a multiplicity of accents existing, or because we believe in upholding some imaginary form of 'proper english' . Sarah and I are dialect coaches, so we work with accents- all accents- on a daily basis, and are more than happy with English pronunciation evolving, as any living language should. We teach people to speak in any way that they like- however they feel is appropriate for the task at hand. This book exists because such a large number of non-native speakers ask us to teach them a contemporary brand of Received Pronunciation. Simple!
This isn't a phonetic text book- we've used some simplified phonemics in the book, where we thought readers would find them helpful. But overall, the book is designed to be practical, pragmatic and usable by people who aren't at all familiar with the International Phonetic Alphabet, and who aren't interested in learning it. For an advanced, academic, phonetic discussion of English accents try this, or this instead.