How to Learn a Dialect (Without Losing Your Mind)
The one thing that you never want to be is burned out!
Dialects are complex things.
A word of warning.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re first learning a dialect. Trying to identify each sound change, making adjustments, and keeping it believable can be really tough without a knowledgeable coach.
How do you do it?
Learning a dialect is a BIG undertaking.
If a dialect were an animal, it would be an elephant. A really friendly and nice elephant that you’d want to hang out with.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
What I’m saying is this:
Do NOT try to do every sound change in a dialect right off the bat. That’s only going to buy you a headache
First, focus on the resonance (what part of your mouth the sound lives in). That’s 90% of any dialect. Become very comfortable with changing from your natural resonance to the resonance of the dialect at will.
Next, decide which two sound changes are most important. In other words, which two sound changes give the dialect its distinct sound? Study those sound changes. Become a master of just those two. Don’t worry about anything else with regards to the dialect.
When you have mastered the resonance and the two sound changes, you’ll notice something magical happening. The other sound changes will begin to naturally creep into your speech creating a full, round, and believable dialect.
Donald The Dialect Coach