Accents & languages

“Can you do an Irish accent? What about Geordie, or South African?”

I’ve always been obsessed by accents. I’ve spent years learning them, copying them and performing them in front of friends, family and total strangers!

At school, I was a linguist. Not only did languages come naturally to me, but they were also a brilliant way of avoiding the things that I was really bad at. Like Science … and above all MATHS!

My mother grew up in France and spoke French before she learnt English. My family background is a crazy hybrid of French, Russian, Danish, Irish and English. That’s why “a world of possibilities” reflects not just who I am, but also what I do.

This has been a great help to me in my voiceover career, particularly in audiobook narration, animation and gaming.

International, Global, Mid-Atlantic or Neutral?

I’ve been seeing more and more voiceover auditions asking for International English, Global English, Mid-Atlantic English and (even) Universal English. The problem with most of these accents is that they are manufactured constructs, and therefore different agents or producers can have completely different ideas of what those accents really are. Here’s a short video I made, with a few options of what International English might sound like. Enjoy!

As well as an understanding of how languages work...

,…you need a good ear to reproduce those sounds in speech. I’m very lucky that this comes completely naturally to me.

I can distinguish by ear the particular sounds of a language or dialect. And it is a source of endless fascination, particularly here in the UK, where regional accents have such distinctive properties. I often wonder:

How people who live in cities less than 30 miles apart can speak in a completely different way?

What influence historically did certain parts of the UK and Ireland have over the accents in the United States?

How come, when people try and speak in a Welsh accent, it often sounds Indian, and vice versa?!

One for Christmas!

You may call him Santa Claus, or Father Christmas, But what does he actually sound like?

The luck o' the Irish!

A video I made to celebrate the one day of the year when everyone thinks they can do an Irish accent!