Here is a fundamental overview of my approach during the early stages of helping students attain a native-like British RP accent. The techniques I employ are the result of years of experience, involving trial and error in teaching hundreds of students from diverse linguistic backgrounds.

While the initial lessons may pose challenges, they are crucial for grasping the foundational elements that pave the way for advanced stages in achieving native-like pronunciation. These foundational elements encompass understanding how to articulate sounds without overcompensating, recognizing the nuances in facial muscle use and tongue positioning across the vowel sound chart, and appreciating the intricate relationship between various consonant and vowel sounds, along with the significance of trapping air.

Aspiration from the Front of the Mouth

Our journey begins by delving into the mechanisms that enable us to aspirate sounds in a manner characteristic of native speakers. While phonetics literature often discusses the positioning of articulators like the mouth, lips, and tongue, insufficient attention is given to the specifics of aspirating sounds. In Received Pronunciation, sounds typically emanate from the front of the mouth. Developing awareness of the differences between sounds in one's native language and those in the target accent is essential. The student must comprehend the interplay between the lungs and articulators, facilitated through a series of guided exercises.

Neutral Sounds

British English involves a combination of stressed and unstressed syllables, but what exactly does this entail? Is it a matter of certain syllables being louder than others? Exploring the vowel sound chart and grouping vowels based on the applied "stress" to the mouth provides insight. In British English pronunciation, articulators exhibit a wide range of motions, from substantial to subtle movements. We'll focus on the more neutral sounds, often in proximity to schwa sounds, as students frequently tend to overemphasize them. Exercises will concentrate on helping students articulate these neutral sounds in a relaxed, native-like manner.

Aspiration through Airflow Restriction

Examining plosives and fricatives, we encounter a crucial aspect of British English pronunciation: the restriction of airflow during the enunciation of consonant sounds. Plosive sounds involve stops, a subtle buildup of pressure before releasing the articulators. Fricative sounds result from a partial occlusion of airflow, allowing some air through while restricting it. Understanding pressure buildup is key to articulating natural-sounding fricative sounds. Our focus will be on combining various consonant sounds with the schwa sound and mastering the art of airflow restriction.

Once these foundational elements are mastered, we can progress to more advanced stages.