“Accents & Dialects for Stage and Screen” eBook, richly enhanced with Paul Meier’s own recorded instruction and beautifully illustrated, collects 27 of his acclaimed accent-instruction series into this single publication in their entirety. This is the new and improved 2020 edition. It is the eBook version of his celebrated hard-copy book, used by actors worldwide since 2001, and this eBook gives you exactly the same content as the Deluxe Streaming edition of that hard-copy publication (and three more dialects than the original hard-copy publication with CDs). The more than 12 hours of recorded instruction are included in this eBook as conveniently embedded sound files, which are easily playable on Mac and Apple mobile devices.
The 27 accents/dialects Meier presents here are: Afrikaans (South Africa), American Southern, Australian, Birmingham (England), Cockney, (American) Deep South, Downeast New England, Estuary (the modern sound of southern England), French, General American, German, Hampshire, Indian, Irish, Italian, Jamaican, Liverpool, New York, Northern Ireland, Russian, Scottish, South Boston, Spanish (Castilian and Colonial), Standard British English (Received Pronunciation), Welsh, Yiddish, and Yorkshire.
Meier is one of the world’s most respected authorities on stage dialects, and is a successful dialect coach for theatre, film and voice-over. His accent and dialect instruction work is hugely popular with actors worldwide; he has coached film stars such as Tobey Maguire, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Wilkinson, Jim Caviezel, Simon Baker, Louise Fletcher, Bill Irwin, and many others. Professor Meier has trained actors at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), the North Carolina School of the Arts, and other prestigious conservatories both in his native London, and the United States, where he makes his home.
Meier is a leading “accent reduction” specialist too, consulting with Rosetta Stone and Global English, and coaching Fortune 500 company executives in both American English and British English.
He founded and directs the International Dialects of English Archive (IDEA), the leading online source for accent recordings of real-life speakers.
Meier’s system coaches the “signature sounds” of the accent/dialect and gives you fun word drills, sentences, and great audition monologues from plays and films. He even gives you access to recordings of native speakers and allows you to follow up with a Skype session or earn a Paul Meier Certificate of Proficiency.
Enjoy browsing the preview copy, and then get the most widely used, fun, successful, and easy-to-follow dialect-instruction system on the market today.
An Excellent Resource that Every Actor should Add to their Collection
Paul Meier has successfully brought his "Accents and Dialects for Stage and Screen" to the iBooks store. This title includes his exceptionally well-crafted breakdowns of 25 accents and dialects, including his most recent, and best to date, addition, Jamaican. The collection covers all the most commonly requested accents, and includes sections on British and Irish Dialects, Dialects of the United States, Other English-language Dialects, and Foreign-language Accents.
Meier’s “Seven-Step Method” clearly defines the salient features of each accent, and works in a gradual process, building your accent/dialect knowledge through carefully scaffolding skills one upon the other until you’ve got a successful, performance-ready skill set. The book’s text, and the accompanying, excellently produced, audio tracks are informative without being too formal. Meier’s approach is very detail-oriented, with narrow transcriptions of the accent into International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). Learners who have previous knowledge of the IPA will be at an advantage, here, though Meier also uses a numbering system, so that those who are less comfortable with IPA can manage. Because everything that you read is also read by Meier, you can hear exactly what the symbols mean! (This is extremely helpful in reinforcing the IPA skills of intermediate learners.) If I have any quibbles with the approach here it is this: though Meier does touch on Rhythm, Stress and Tone in Chapter Three of every accent breakdown, this area is less well established than other methods, with instruction in this aspect quite cursory. Meier builds up the learners skills through “Signature Sounds in Sentence Context,” isolating each signature sound with many examples in a single sentence.
For samples of native speakers, Meier relies on recordings that are available from the “International Dialects of English Archive” (IDEA), an online repository of accent samples that Meier created while he was a professor at the University of Kansas. This amazing resource features over 1,300 samples from over 120 countries and territories. However, perhaps due to copyright issues, the materials are not part of this eBook—in order to access the samples, you need to listen to them through your web browser. Annoyingly, the samples are not linked in the text: you cannot merely click on a link to access the sample’s page, but must visit the dialectsarchive.com website, and search out the sample for yourself. Meier’s book carefully discusses 2 or 3 samples for each accent in great detail, pointing out words to listen for that illustrate the “signature sounds” of the accent. Unfortunately, I suspect that, due to the lack of links within the text, far fewer readers will take advantage of this excellent resource.
Meier’s sixth step focuses on his “Coordination Exercises,” which feature quite complicated sentences; these allow you to apply your knowledge thus far by using carefully crafted material that challenges you to integrate and synthesize the signature sounds. Here you get to juggle a range of skills that start to put the accent together into a cohesive whole.
The final step includes a transcription of a monologue written for the accent, and Meier’s performance of it. For those unfamiliar with IPA, it probably is quite overwhelming to try to read something like [weɫ tə spik wɪð pɜfɪkt kændə sesɪlɪ aɪ wɪʃ ðɘt͡ʃu wə fʊlɪ fɔtɪ tu ænd mɔ ðən juʒəlɪ pleɪn fə jɔɹ eɪd͡ʒ]. Again, Meier’s use of numbers for his signature sounds does make the task possible for those who are new to the alphabet.
This iBooks edition of the Meier text is handsomely done. The audio, easily accessed throughout the book, is of very high quality, and performed with skill and ease by the author. (Women who use the book may find it a bit more challenging, as modeling one’s voice after a speaker of the other sex is sometimes cited as a problem for some, and Meier never offers examples of the monologue performances by anyone other than himself. )
A small niggle: The IPA characters in the book appear in a clear, readily visible font throughout, though the monologue passages are images of the text, rather than the kind of text used elsewhere. On high resolution (retina) screens, such as on a recent 5K iMac, an iPad or the newer MacBooks, these texts look slightly blurry, and don’t match the elegance of the text elsewhere.
Overall, this iBook version of Meier’s text is excellent. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in accents and dialects, and who would like a resource to have on hand to access at a moment’s notice.