Advanced British Pronunciation - Speak like a native in 5 sounds


This week, we're doing the five most difficult sounds to get perfect British pronunciation.

All you'll need for this lesson is something which can record your voice,

and some sweets,

like this.

So, go get those things, and I'll be here waiting when you come back.

So, first, I want you to get something which can record your voice,

and record yourself saying all of these words :

Pause the video, record yourself saying these words,

press play again once you're finished.

Have you done that?


Ok, let's look at the first sound!

To practice this, look at this photo :

Which sound did you make?

Was it something like "Awwwwww"?

Well, /ɑ:/ is the first sound we're going to practice.

And in phonetics, it's represented by this symbol.

When you're looking through a dictionnary, and you see those funny symbols, that's what these are.

Say it again : /ɑ:/

Now, put a /t/ sound at the end of it,

/ɑ:/ + /t/

together : /ɑ:t/

Repeat with me so you can compare pronunciations.

/ɑ:t/ : which word did you just say?

It's this one :

Now, in American English, it's rhotic, which means they pronounce the "r".

British English is non-rhotic.

So, for example, Americans would say :

British English, we'd say it :

What's the difference inside the mouth?


for American English,

when they pronounce the "r",

the tongue is rigid and it moves.

British English, it doesn't, it stays flat and down.

To practice this,

get your sweet,

Americans call it "candy",

put it at the back of your tongue,

imagine it's very heavy and it weighs the back of your tongue down.

This will keep the tongue flat and down,

and it won't move,

while you're pronouncing these words.

If your tongue moves,

then, you're pronouncing it wrong.

Make sure your tongue doesn't move, that's what this is for.

If you have problems saying Art /ɑ:t/ and notrt/,

pronouncing the "r",

put in on there,

imagine it's heavy,

If your tongue is down and flat, you'll pronounce it perfectly,

with a British accent.

Put a /h/ sound at the beginning,

/ɑ:/, then /t/ sound at the end.

All together : /hɑ:t/

Which word did you say?

This one :

Again, if you're having difficulty, sweet, tongue...

It just helps train your tongue to be in the correct position to pronounce these sounds.

Let's put a /k/ at the beginning :

/k/ + /ɑ:/

All together : /kɑ:/

American English : /kɑr/

British English : /kɑ:/

Again, that tongue, it's just flat, it doesn't move, that's the only difference.

It also helps to imagine that the back of the throat is a bit more open.

British English, you could see it as more lazy,

/ɑ:/, it's just an open back of the throat.

Car /kɑ:/

/d/ + /ɑ:/ + /k/


Which word is that?

/h/ + /ɑ:/ + /d/ :

The same sound in "class",





Next :

So, we've just done /ɑ:/

the /ɑ:/ sound, represented by this symbol :

Now, we're doing this symbol : /ɔ:/

So, we go from /ɑː/ when the mouth is open, /ɑ:/

the only thing that's going to change is the lips,

the lips are gonna form a


circle shape.

From /ɑː/,




You can see the shape, do the same, try to copy me.

Just alone,

/ɔ:/, well, that's this word.

Put a /m/ sound,

at the beginning,

/m/ + /ɔ:/


Which word did you say?

This one : more.

How about /w/ + /ɔ:/?


This word :

/f/ + /ɔ:/ = /fɔ:/

This word.

Put /h/, /ɔ:/, then a /s/ sound at the end

All together :


Say it with me : "horse"

Again, if you're having problems with this,

take the sweet, back of the tongue,

keep the tongue down : "horse".

the tongue will be in the same position.

Check the recording you did at the beginning of this lesson,

Does that sound the same as this?

Probably not.

You probably sounded like /hɔrs/

How would Americans say "horse"?

But, British English, again : /hɔ:s/

What's the difference? Well, the tongue is down, it doesn't move and the back of the mouth is more open.

So, it's just following the same technique of...

to press tongue,

not to press tongue,

but your tongue is down and it doesn't move.

The same sound appears in words like :





For this sound, you'll need to make a smile face,

and keep the mouth in a relatively flat position,

the tongue, again, flat, down, doesn't move.

Say it with me : /ɪə/

Just alone, that means :

Put a /b/, /ɪə/ : which drink makes you smile?

Put /b/, /ɪə/, /d/ :

Put /h/, /ɪə/ :

How about /d/ + /ɪə/?

Again, it might be easier for you to produce the sound by making a smile face and keeping the mouth flat.

Again, not /ɪər/,

it's more lazy.

From this sound /ɪə/, open your mouth a bit wider,

Repeat it with me :

You just made the sound which is represented by this symbol, in phonetics.

So, again, when you're looking through a dictionnary, and you see those funny symbols, that's what these are.

Again, /eə/, put /b/, /eə/


Which word did you say?

This one.


/k/ + /eə/ =


That's this word.

/ʃ/ + /eə/ = share

/f/ + /eə/ = fair

This sound also comes up in "there", "they're", "their",

"where", "wear",

And finally, get your mouth to go from this one, /eə/

to more of a this shape :

Again, inside the mouth, nothing's really changing,

only the lips and the jaw is changing.

This is /ɜ:/.

Say it with me :

Remember, the back of your mouth stays open and relaxed, the tongue stays down.

This one tends to be the most difficult for people, so, again, you might need a sweet,

put in at the back of your tongue, keep that tongue down, don't let it move.

So, let's try with some words :

Let's put a /w/ sound at the beginning and /ɜ:/,


Which word did you just say?

This one : "were".

Let's make it more interesting :

/w/ +/ɜ:/ + /k/ at the end :


Remember this sound, this was the /ɔ:/ sound,

Put /w/, /ɔ:/, /k/

That one : "Walk".

Comapre the two :



Say it with me :

Let's try /b/ + /ɜ:/ + /d/ :

Remember this sound /ɪə/, we had /b/ + /ɪə/ + /d/ :


Let's try another one :

/g/ + /ɜ:/ + /l/ :


/w/ + /ɜ:/ + /ld/ :


This one's a very difficult one for everyone to say,

no doubt you'll probably say "worlllld"

something like that.

Say it with me a few times : it will take practice.

Let's try one more :

/w/ + /ɜ:/ + /m/ :

"Worm" : that's the little that thing.

Now, I want you to look at these words again,

record yourself again saying the same words,

and compare your first recording with this recording.

How did you do?

Have oyou improved? Do you sound like a real British person now?

Ok, let's do a test, to see how well you learnt.

Let's try a few sentences :

And finally, for the big test,

there is an amazing song by Red Hot Chili Peppers, called "Thirty Dirty Birds",

These are the lyrics :

try to say them in a British accent.

In the song, obviously, he's American, so he'll sing it in American accent,

Thanks for watching!

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