Dialect Coaching is training your voice so you feel comfortable using an accent or dialect other than your own. It is a service primarily sought by actors who need to play a character from a different country or region.
Practically speaking, the two words are frequently used interchangeably – and this practice has become increasingly acceptable. Technically, however, there is an important distinction. We refer to an “accent” as a speaker’s efforts at a second language that still indicate their geographical origin. For example, if a native Spanish speaker learns English, they will often pronounce English sounds with a “Spanish accent.” A dialect refers most often to variations in vocabulary and ways to pronounce sounds within a language. For example, in the United States, one might speak American English with a “Southern dialect” or a “Midwestern dialect.”
According to the depth of specificity required, the length of time to master a new dialect varies. A competency with an accent can be gained relatively quickly, to become fully fluent with the sounds may take weeks or months.
In most cases, an actor is given sides or a script. For an audition, one need not “master” the dialect, rather, just display competency with the audition sides. If cast in a role, you will want to become fluent in the sounds, rhythm, and intonation which can take a number of weeks or months.
We feel comfortable training in most dialects that you would need for audition or performance purposes. If you have a question about a particularly obscure one (e.g. Northeast Kuwait circa 1650), please inquire.
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