Thursday, March 17, 2011

How To Do An Irish Accent

Hello, I am Gareth Jameson. I am an actor and a voice coach from
Here are some tips for working on your voice. The key to any accent is to isolate sound that is specific to that accent.

Now for me the most important one in an Irish accent is the "i" sound. The "i" that we get in "like" or "height", or even at the beginning of the word Irish. It becomes like an "oi", almost like the "oi" in oil.

So that is why you sometimes hear people say "oirish" and "oireland". It is not quite "oi" really, it is slightly less than that, it is "oii". So that we have "I will be fine with all this oil", there is a difference "I will be fine with all this oil, I will be fine".

That introduces another feature as well, the "th", "I will be fine with all this oil". The "th" is usually removed from Irish speakers, especially with more casual speakers so that you get more d's and t's instead. So have a listen to this.

"What do you think of this, what do you think of this?" That is "think" and "this". Our next feature is the letter "r". Now for most Irish speakers the "r" is always pronounced.

So, instead of saying words like "park", we will have "paark", with a "err". It is right at the front of the mouth, unless you are from Dublin where your right at the back of your mouth. You are right at the front, "park" and "garden".

Right at the front like that. Now we move onto a "l" sound. Now, for British English speakers we have two versions for the "l" sound.

We have one at the back of the mouth, like in "kettle", "bottle" and "pull", and one at the front in "lovely", "lemon" and "limned". For an Irish speaker, they are all at the front. In fact, it is quite helpful I like to think of the whole accent coming from the front of the mouth.

This phrase might help, "a little bubble at the front of your mouth, a little bubble at the front of your mouth". Finally, that introduces the "ou" sound in mouth. It becomes "ouw", like if starting on a "ou", if you start on "ou", "ouw", "mouth".

So try "how now brown cow, brown cow" with an "our" in it. "How now brown cow, a little bubble at the front of your mouth". Now we have not got time for more features today.

I am Gareth Jameson, thanks very much.

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