English Listening Exercise – TV & Film Recommendations for Accents!

English Listening Exercise – TV & Film Recommendations for Accents!


[in Italian] Hi guys! My name is Evie. How are you all? Today, I want to talk about a subject that’s very close to my heart: TV and Film. Or “tee voo” and film [laughs]. In my opinion, when you’re learning a foreign language, it’s SO important to listen to the language at a natural speed with visual media, etcetera. This method is effective because it’s a fun way to INTEGRATE English in your daily life. Today, I’ll give you some resources to practice your comprehension of accents from: America, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and also England. I’ll concentrate on the UK because I know more about it and also because American accents are *generally* more prevalent in television and film. Remember that you can change the speed of this video on YouTube if it’s too slow, and if you like this video, gimme a ‘like’ and take a look at my channel! But for now… Let’s go! [in English] You’ve probably been studying English for a while now, and simply need some help keeping up with native speakers. Sometimes, a lot of work is required in this department. And that’s understandable. For example, somebody learning in “RP” (or a classic Southern English accent) might struggle to understand somebody from Bolton in the North of England, let alone other parts of the UK and different countries. But you can make this extra work fun by simply consuming regular doses of visual media. YouTube is great for this of course, but long-form mediums are even better for extended practice. So definitely delve into some of the examples from today if you have the time as it will make an immense difference. Anyway, without further ado, Here we go! First things first, I wanna give some examples for American English. It’s probably the form of English people are most used to, but I thought it was definitely worth mentioning. A show my boyfriend watched a lot in high school to perfect his English (which is very good) is Seinfeld. In fact, Irish actress Saoris Ronan used Seinfeld to perfect her American English with great results. If you’re not familiar with Seinfeld, definitely look it up. It stopped airing ten years ago, and it’s still funnier than most sitcoms today. It has a small cast that you’ll get to know really quickly and loads of humour you’ll understand without being completely fluent. Most importantly, the characters speak quickly but very deliberately. It’s set in New York, so the protagonists have a fast-flowing, emotive way of speaking that’s very dramatic and forces you to learn fast. Another show that’s great for practicing your American English comprehension is of course The Simpsons. The show is extensively dubbed in Italian, so you’re probably already familiar with lots of the characters and the plotlines, which gives you a head start. And with episodes only lasting twenty minutes, it’s so easy to fit this show into your day. It has a wide array of American accents, including General American, Californian, Appalachian, Bostonian, and New York. The show also contains accents from other places in the world, but these are sometimes… Questionable. I’d definitely recommend watching The Simpsons (particularly seasons 1-10) in English. However, remember to also watch a lot of live-action things too, for a more natural speaking style. If you already understand American accents fairly well, and you need a challenge, definitely check out Fargo. Fargo is a darkly comic murder mystery film by the Coen Brothers, and it’s set in Minnesota. Minnesotan is one of the most unique and interesting Accents in America, and the characters in this film are pretty unusual too. The female detective lead is really likeable, the script is strong, and there’s not a single weak performance in the film. If you watch the film and enjoy it, check out the spinoff TV series. The TV series was met with very high critical acclaim, and you’ll see why. Like the film, it has a lot of great black comedy throughout, and it stands alone as a great story. When it comes to British accents, one that people tend to struggle with is Scottish. Now, I’m told my accent is fairly easy to understand. But that’s because I barely have an accent at all! I made a video in fact about why this is, and I’ll link it in the description. But other people here often have very strong regional accents, and can sometimes speak in dialects that are difficult for the beginner to understand. The one that you’re most likely to come across is probably Glaswegian, because Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland. To keep up with this often fast-paced dialect, you better check out a show like Still Game. Still Game is about a group of Scottish pensioners living in Glasgow, and focuses on two best friends Jack and Victor, who are always taking the piss out of each other and the people around them. Watching this sitcom, you’ll get a good view of Scottish life in general, including the importance of Tunnox teacakes, pub culture, and some of our best insults. There are many shows set in Glasgow, but this one probably holds the largest appeal and is considered pretty authentic. For something a little bit more challenging and hard-hitting, check out the film Trainspotting. Trainspotting was actually subtitled when it first aired in America, because the actors speak with such thick Scottish accents. The character of Begbie, for example, played by Robert Carlysle, has a very distinct Glaswegian voice, and you should check out some interviews with this actor if you have the time, because he’s a really interesting guy. Another challenging option that I wanna quickly mention is Limmy’s Show. Limmy’s show is a sketch show, and it often takes a non-narrative, sort of experimental approach to the genre. Limmy’s Show is quite unique. It’s a bizarre but much-loved show, and it often sort of makes fun of various aspects of Scottish culture, so it will tell you something about what it’s like to actually live here. To experience a posh Scottish accent, look no further than the 1969 film The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Maggie Smith, who you might recognise from Harry Potter, plays an eccentric school teacher in this bizarre and very enjoyable film. It’s a stunning example of the posher side to Scottish speech. Particularly the Morningside accent from Edinburgh. Although obviously not everybody from Edinburgh is posh, this sort of “well-spoken” side to Scottish is often very associated with our capital city. A show that boasts a mixture of British accents would be Fresh Meat. Fresh Meat is a modern comedy drama about British kids experiencing their first year at university. It’s essentially an accurate coming-of-age story, so it was very popular with young adults (including myself) in the 2010s. Accents used by the main cast include: London, Glasgow, and Wales. And it’s fantastic that a main protagonist in this show has a Welsh accent. The beautiful and lyrical Welsh voice is pretty underrepresented in media, even less than the Scottish one. For more practice in understanding the Welsh accent, watch Gavin and Stacey. Gavin and Stacey is a little older than Fresh Meat, but people here still love it, and it has a small cast that you’ll get to know quickly. Many of the accents you’ll hear in this show are specifically from South Wales, and Nessa (my favourite character) has a distinct Cardiff accent which is just a joy to listen to. Rob Brydon plays another really beloved character on this show. Again, like Robert Carlisle, definitely check out some interviews. If you, like many people, happen not to have a lot of experience with the Welsh accent, look up some clips on YouTube. It’s a lovely type of voice. Or “lush”, as they say in Wales. Another British accent that definitely deserves to be looked into is Irish. And the most beloved Irish sitcom, which contains some great voices, is Father Ted. Father Ted is about three priests and their landlady living on a small rural island off the coast of Ireland. The premise is simple, making it easy to understand from the get go, and it’s written really well. Specifically, a lot of the accents you’ll hear on this show are from the West of Ireland, and understanding this accent will help you get to grips with Irish in general. If you give this show a chance, you’ll grow to love all of its strange and eccentric characters who will always have a place in my heart. The films of Neil Jordan are also great for practicing your Irish listening skills. Some that I would recommend include: The Crying Game, Breakfast on Pluto, and The Butcher Boy. They’re all pretty suspenseful and exciting, with great scripts, and his use of music is fantastic too. The Crying Game is probably his most famous though. It won a very well deserved Oscar in 1993 and contains a very good contrast between the London accent and the Irish accent There are a lot of socio-political themes going on, but you don’t have to understand all of these to enjoy it. For a taste of the more twangy Northern Irish accent in a film, check out In The Name of The Father by Irish writer and director Jim Sherridan. The plot of this film is very emotive and gripping, so you’ll find yourself getting lost in it. It’s a true story about four people falsely accused of a terrorist attack, and it’s essentially a courtroom-drama. This might sound niche, but it’s very widely beloved, and it’s earned it’s place as one of the best Irish films of all time. And it has really stellar performances. So if you’re a cinephile, it’s a must-see. When practicing your comprehension of accents specifically from England, you might be tempted to binge-watch Downton Abbey or The Crown. However, it’s really important to practice listening to some less-televised accents too. Billy Elliot – one of the best and simultaneously most beloved – British films of all time, is set in Durham in the North of England. This film has a really, really killer soundtrack and a touching story. In case you don’t know, it’s about a young boy from a working-class background who wants to be a ballet dancer. He faces a lot of opposition from his traditionally-minded father played by Gary Lewis, who is an absolute treasure of an actor. Again, there’s a lot of social and political themes going on in the background, but you don’t have to understand all of them as the basic story is very touching and striking on its own. If crime and mystery are more your thing, check out the modern police drama Happy Valley. The acting in this show is brilliant, even if its not the most light-hearted choice, and it will give you some practice in listening to the Yorkshire accent. [in a Yorkshire accent] Yoakshire… It’s a very friendly accent. And again, if you’re not familiar with it, look up some clips on YouTube. Or for something a bit more fun and simple, you can check out The IT Crowd. This show was very popular in the 2000s for its trademark British humour and loveable characters. It’s about a small group of people working in the isolated IT department in a London office, making it a sort of “underdog comedy”. Most of the characters in this show are English but one of them is Irish, played by an Irish actor, so you’ll get some practice in listening to different types of voices. Finally, a show that has a mix of British accents (and in particular a wide array of accents from England) would be The Apprentice. In this show, budding entrepreneurs and businessmen and women bid for the chance to have a business deal with billionaire Sir Allen Sugar. The contestants work in teams to design, buy and sell various products and services. This might sound a little bit niche, but the show has been extremely popular since 2005, which is really impressive. It always plays in the leadup to Christmas so it’s something people associate with just relaxing and watching something fun. As well as being pretty funny, the show has a stellar example of the Cockney accent. Sir Allen Sugar is from the East End of London, and has one of the most distinct Cockney voices in the world. And you’ll get to see this accent in contrast to the variety of other accents in the show. You’ll see contestants largely from England, but also from Scotland, Wales and Ireland too. TV is a huge part of British culture, and has been since the birth of television itself. So no matter what you’re into, there will be something there for you. Just type in a genre you like, and then ‘British TV show’ or ‘American TV show’ and seeing what’s out there. Of course, you can do this for films too on a site like IMDB. I’d recommend finding an actor or actress that you enjoy, and then searching them on IMDB so see what else they’ve been in. What’s your favourite English language TV program or movie? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll see you soon. Baci baci! Bye bye!

One thought on “English Listening Exercise – TV & Film Recommendations for Accents!

  1. I've found out a lot of things thanks to this video. The site you raccomend is awasome and you quote a huge amount of sources, for every type of accent. Best video so far!

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