Nightmare scenario: you have a huge gig on the horizon, and you need to have an accent down by tomorrow. How should you begin? Or maybe you have more time, and simply want to enjoy the spectacular nerd-world that is language, voice, accents, and linguistics. Never fear! Today, I take you through my 6 essential accent, dialect, voice, and linguistic links that have been saved in my bookmark bar for all of eternity.
1. IDEA International Dialects of English Archive: IDEA is an encyclopedia of all things dialect, created and maintained by Paul Meier. With the ability to search for dialects by region, country, state, and even city, IDEA presents real-life speakers from which to model. IDEA also contains special pages, such as an entire resource dedicated to Shakespeare's Original Pronunciation.
2. AudioEloquence: I realize that in recommending this page, I'm directing you to another website full of links, but AudioEloquence is an excellent collection for all your voice and dialect needs. Struggling to find an Irish language pronunciation? AudioEloquence has you covered. Needing a link to a Canadian First Nations language resource? Check on that too. It takes some searching around, but with a little work AudioEloquence probably holds the answer to all of your queries.
3. StoryCorps: StoryCorps is an amazing tapestry of American stories, spoken aloud by the storyteller. Not only is StoryCorps incredibly entertaining, but also a fascinating look into the voices and the lives of fellow Americans.
4. BBC Voices Recordings: BBC Voices is the ultimate collection of all things British accents, and is an invaluable resource for any dialect coach. Although the original website was archived a while back, you can still find all of the recordings, organized by counties, through this link. For a country where accents change based on which side of a river or hill you grew up, BBC Voices proves unmatched in bringing those voices to life.
5. Language Log: Only for the truly nerdy, Language Log is a blog run by linguist Mark Liberman about language, voice, and linguistics. With a laid-back writing style, Liberman becomes your linguistics-addiction enabler as he pulls you down the Language Log rabbit hole.
6. Lexicon Valley: Lexicon Valley is a podcast discussing linguistics, accents, language change, and the voice. Although originally hosted by NPR's Bob Garfield and sociologist Mike Vuolo, the podcast has since been taken over by linguist John McWhorter. Although I don't always agree with the hosts (listen to my upcoming talk with Alexander Drechsel on his podcast LangFM), Lexicon Valley is always engaging, and a new episode is often the highlight of my week.