How to Do a Philadelphia Accent

Learn how to do a Philadelphia accent from voice and speech coach Andrea Caban in this Howcast video.

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Let's work on a general Philadelphia accent. My idea of a general Philadelphia accent probably has a little bit of an Atlantic City flavor in it. Because that's where my father's family is from. So we're going to give this a shot. So the oral posture of this accent is, the lip corners are really far forward. And that pretty much takes care of it. So, try this phrase out. The cost of the course was too high, I thought. The cost of the course was too high, I thought. So course, cost, and thought end up sort of having the same kind of sound. The cost of the course was too high, I thought. Hear that? This o sound is really interesting, because it turns into an o. Oh no, I don't think so. It's a really interesting kind of o sound. Try that one. Oh no, I don't think so. Animal, hairy, and married become animal. Hairy. Married. The sound ah sometimes turns into a. So glass, fast, sometimes become glass, fast. So there's two elements. Air. So because the lip corners are so far forward, sounds like ah in water become water. Water. My father would always offer me a glass of water. Not water. Water. The l happens in the back of the throat, and can become very loose. So Philadelphia. You're really just kind of bringing the back of the tongue up. Instead of Philadelphia with the front of the tongue, Philadelphia. Loose. So, what's the musicality of this accent? You know, it's got a lot of features of the New York accent. But it's more rounded. So more lips forward. And it's a little bit slower. It's a metropolitan, urban accent. But it's not as hard edged as your New York accents might be, so. But listen to some native Philadelphia speakers. Explore the accent for yourself. Crawl into it that way. I hope these tips were helpful.

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  • Andrea Caban

    Andrea is a voice and speech coach and an actor in New York City. She believes you can train your muscles of articulation, your ears, your eyes, your brain and your spirit to attain the accent(s) you want. Her passion for exploring accents lead her to creating multi-character solo plays. As an award-winning solo artist, she has performed across the US and abroad and is currently touring her play Questions My Mother Can’t Answer. Andrea studied voice and speech under master teachers Catherine Fitzmaurice, Dudley Knight and Phil Thompson. She holds an MFA in Acting from UC Irvine. Andrea coaches actors and non-actors from all walks of life on speech/accent work and is available for private coaching in person and via Skype.