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Accents and Dialects

TheatreBooks carries two major series of accent instruction recordings: Acting With An Accent produced by David Alan Stern, and Dialect Accents produced by Gillian Lane Plescia. Each series offers a booklet and recording package per accent/dialect.

Acting with an Accent
David Alan Stern has created 26 individual accent packages which retail for $25.95 Canadian (unless otherwise noted). Each package includes one booklet (about 20 pages long) and one cassette tape, one hour in length. The recording covers six to ten lessons on pitch characteristics, stress patterns and musculature work. Stern demonstrates the vowel sounds and speech lilts in his own voice, following exercises recorded in the booklet. The last lesson consists of a monologue, printed in the booklet with indications to stresses and pronounciation, to be practised in repetition. The accent packages available are:

American Accents
For British Actors ($72.95)
American Accents
For Canadian Actors
Midwest Farm & Ranch
American Southern New York City
Arabic Norweigan & Swedish
Australian Polish
Boston Russian
British North Country Scottish
Chicago Spanish
Cockney Standard British
Down-East New England Texas
Farsi/Persian Upper-Class Massechusetts (Kennedy-esque)
French West-Indian/Black African
German Yiddish

In conjunction with Roger Karshner, another US-based voice coach, Stern has created two sampler recordings of accents called Dialect Monologues Volumes 1 and 2.

Each features a collection of one to three minute monologues covering all vowel sounds. The monologues are printed in a booklet accompanying the recording.

Volume One includes Texas, Irish, British, French, NYC, Boston, Mountain Southern, Chicago, German, Yiddish, Spanish, Cockney & Italian.

Volume Two includes: Black African, Northern Irish, English South African, Welsh, Cajun, Canadian, Afrikaans, Liverpudlian, Asian Indian, Hebrew, Down East New England, Austrailan, Russian & Scottish.

Volume One is available in either tape ($32.95) or CD ($41.95) format; Volume Two is currently only available in tape format ($32.95)

Stern has also created several other accent-related recordings. These include:

The Sound & Style of American English -- a full course in American accent work contained in two cassette tapes and a booklet. $49.95.

The Speaker's Voice -- a course in diction, breath control and resonance contained in two cassette tapes and a booklet. $49.95.

Speaking Without An Accent -- a course in accent reduction in the regular 20-page booklet and tape package. $25.95.

Tapes on Speaking Without a Boston Accent and Speaking Without a Chicago Accent are also available. $25.95 each.

Gillian Lane-Plescia has created 13 accent packages, which also include a booklet (about 25 pages) and a hour-long cassette tape, each available from TheatreBooks for $24.95. She originally focused only on dialects of English, but due to enormous popularity, has begun to branch out into accent work as well (German/Dutch). Her packages consist of three sections:

1) Sound Changes -- common vowel sounds

2) Rhythm & Melody -- discussion of lilt

3) examples of accents (monologues used in this section are also printed in the booklet).

For the third section she uses both her own voice and the recorded voices of native speakers (male and female). Lane-Plescia is careful to include a wide variety of accent variations; for example, in Accents of The American South: Volume 1, she records 19 different native speakers from 14 different locations in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Missippi.

Her accent packages include:

  • Accents For Black Actors
  • American Southern (Vol. 1 & 2)
  • Australia/New Zealand
  • British North Country
  • Cockney
  • German/Dutch
  • Irish (Vol. 1 & 2)
  • Russian & Other Slavic Accents
  • Scots
  • South African
  • Standard British
  • Welsh

With the exception of Accents for Black Actors, Accents of The American South (Volumes One and Two), Australian and New Zealand Accents, and South African Dialect, all of the Lane-Plescia packages are available in either a cassette tape/booklet package ($24.95) or a CD/booklet package ($32.95). We expect that the five listed above will also be available on CD shortly.

Other voice work recordings available through TheatreBooks include:

Stage Dialects
Jerry Blunt
An accent instruction series available in either cassette tapes or book format sold separately. Includes Japanese, Brooklyn, American Southern, Standard British, Cockney, Irish, Scottish, French, Italian, German and Russian. Book, $32.95; set of 3 cassette tapes, $58.95.

More Stage Dialects
Jerry Blunt
Features 56 dialects from all over the world (see Stage Dialects for more information). Book, $32.95; set of 2 tapes, $39.95.

Canajun, Eh: Canadian Dialects For Actors
David Ferry
A fabulous CD covering accents from coast to coast, presented as a series of monologues. $25.00

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Accents: A Manual for Actors
Accents: A Manual for Actors
Robert Blumenfeld
is without a doubt the most useful and complete guide to accents available. Inside you'll find clear instructions on how to speak more than 100 dialects which represent a comprehensive selection from around the globe. Also included, to help you learn, are two CDs on which the author performs several of the exercises from the book. Softcover, 424 pp. $49.50.

Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary
Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary
Daniel Jones
This 16th edition of Daniel Jones' classic pronounciation guide includes over 80,000 entries, 215,000 pronounciations, full coverage of British and North American pronounciation, useful information on key pronounciation issues, and much more. Softcover 606 pp. $42.99.


The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language
The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language
David Crystal
By offering a rare experience of the English language -- exploring its past, present and future -- this wonderous text has established itself as one of the major publications of recent times. Author David Crystal systematically explains the history, structure, variety and range of uses of English worldwide, employing a rich apparatus of text, pictures, tables, maps, and graphics. Softcover, 499 pp. $52.99.

TheatreBooks, 11 St. Thomas St., Toronto (416) 922-7175, 1-800-361-3414, fax (416) 922-0739

Last modified December 14, 2003 .
Please note that all prices are in Canadian dollars. All prices are subject to change without notice.