I am going to be performing a monologue which will mostly be in a southern accent, but there is one brief part, where I quote a British person, and would like to give it a general British accent. Is there a way to phoneticize (phoneticise) English so that reading it would make it sound British? Or give a close approximation (that's all I need).

I realize that there is not a universal "British accent" any more than there is a single "[American] southern accent" - but just something that's close enough is good enough for me. If specifics are needed, the person being quoted is the Prince of Wales around 1880 or 1890.

Specifically, the quote is,

Nice to meet you again, Mr. Twain...Why, yes, don't you remember? You were on the top of a bus and I was marching at the head of a temperance procession, and you had on that gray coat with flap pockets?

e.g., a general idea of what I mean might be:

Noys to maet you a-gayn, Mr. Twain...Why, yes, don't you remember? You were on the tawp of a bus and I was marching at the head of a temperance pro-cession, and you had on that gry coat with flap pawkets?

...but I suss there are people here who could make a much better go of it than I can.

closed as primarily opinion-based by cobaltduck, Edwin Ashworth, Drew, Helmar, Chenmunka Sep 23 '16 at 8:34

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    If this is notes for you and for you only, why not just write it in red ink, which will trigger you to remember it's supposed to be in an accent? – Azor Ahai Sep 22 '16 at 20:28
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    I've had many IPAs; one is brewed near where I live (Lagunitas). Are you saying if I get drunk, I will be able to speak with a British accent? – B. Clay Shannon Sep 22 '16 at 21:14
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    Ha. No, the International Phonetic Alphabet. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Phonetic_Alphabet Although in retrospect, that was probably a stupid question, since if you did, you wouldn't need to ask this. – Azor Ahai Sep 22 '16 at 21:16
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    I would certainly use the word grey instead of gray if you want to make it more British :) – BladorthinTheGrey Sep 22 '16 at 21:19
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    @B.ClayShannon - couldn't resist having a stab at a Spanish-English... Nais tu mit yu əguein, mistə Tuain...uayi, ies, dount iyu rimembə? Iyu uer on z top ov ə bas and ayi uas martxing at z hed ov ə tempərans prosexən, and iyu had on zat grei cout wiz flap pocuets. Unavoidable use of Basque tx for ch, Catalan x for sh, and the schwa (ə). – Dan Sep 22 '16 at 22:02

If this is something you're going to do regularly, I suggest you learn the International Phonetic Alphabet, which was designed to precisely replicate what a word sounds like, no matter the language (or accent) of the speaker or listener.

For example, the word again is given two pronunciations on Wiktionary:

(UK) IPA: /əˈɡeɪn/, /əˈɡɛn/

(US) IPA: /əˈɡɛn/

But what might be more helpful to you, since this is for your eyes only, is to go to a pronunciation website, like Forvo and simply listen to how people form different countries pronounce each word you're looking for, which you can then transcribe any way you like.

For example, their page for the word nice has pronunciation from the U.S., U.K, Australia, and Canada, and both females and males.

In this situation, any system you devise will serve you better than trying to learn a systematic one. Unless your monologue isn't for another year and you have time to learn IPA systematically and read it by eye. I study linguistics and it's sometimes slow going...

  • @B.ClayShannon Good luck! – Azor Ahai Sep 22 '16 at 21:33
  • If you happen to be in Mokelumne Hill, California, then, stop on by the Town Hall at 2! – B. Clay Shannon Sep 22 '16 at 21:41
  • IPA solves the literal problem you have, to write out a British (or separately American) accent so that if you read it literally, it sounds Britsh (resp American). But IPA, despite being based on the Roman alphabet, is not easy to read fluently. In addition to all the advice given, two primary differences: drop 'r's at the ends of words ('cah' for 'car'), and a few long a's like 'baaaath' and 'caaaan't'. – Mitch Sep 22 '16 at 21:48
  • I used the "forvo" site, and entered one word after another, listening to the "UK" pronunciations where they were (usually) available. This definitely helped, although the British accent is far more challenging (to me, anyway) than the "southern" accent in which I will be speaking most of the time. Of course, being a native Californian, I've heard a lot of southern accents all my life (LOTS of California residents are originally from Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, etc., including my mother's family, from Missouri and Arkansas) – B. Clay Shannon Sep 27 '16 at 15:15

You may get some inspiration from Irvine Welsh's book Trainspotting which is set in Edinburgh, Scotland.

John Mullan in the The Guardian newspaper writes regarding

the diverse uses of dialect in Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting [...]

For Welsh's characters do not only speak in dialect, they narrate in it too. "The sweat was lashing oafay Sick Boy; he wis trembling," the book begins.
"Thuv goat tae dae it aw fir thumsells." Only the "it" is standard English, but it is a phonetic representation of a perfectly ordinary clause ("they've got to do it all for themselves").

EDIT: The suggestion here, is not to reuse Welsh's 'Scottish-English' words, but rather to look at his approach for writing in accents as inspiration, sort of 'phonetically', but not in official IPA - while still understandable to the layperson.

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    This is very Scottish though and might not fit the bill for a generic British – BladorthinTheGrey Sep 23 '16 at 5:53

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