The 1,000 Word Challenge #1: Throw, Know, Show

British Accent Training: The 1,000 Word Challenge

Welcome to the 1,000 word challenge! We know at British Accent Training that you want to get as fluent with the Received Pronunciation accent as quickly as possible. So why bother on words you’ll never use? Our podcast will look at the 1,000 most commonly used words in English, and show you how to pronounce them. We’ll look them through the lens of vowels and consonants, using techniques to figure them out and make sure we know how to say them in every word. So let’s get started!

British Accent Training: The ‘Oh’ Vowel

Each of these words has an ‘ow’ combination of letters. And in these words, that indicates that there’s an ‘oh’ vowel that needs to be brought in. This ‘oh’ is a diphthong, meaning that it’s actually two vowels in one. It starts out as an ‘uh’, and ends in an ‘ooh’. Try that now – ‘uh-ooh’.

Most people get this wrong by saying a pure ‘oh’ sound instead. In other words, it becomes too short. If this happens, try to extend the length of the sound and move the lips more as you say it.

You can also make too much of the sound, doing too much work with the lips. If this happens and it sounds a little too posh, move the lips a little less. But there is a fine line here – drop Matt an email at to work out if you’re getting it right.

British Accent Training: Exceptions

So we’ve established that when you see a ‘ow’ combination, you do a ‘oh’ diphthong. But this is sadly not always the case. For instance, in ‘shower’, the ‘ow’ becomes an ‘ah-ooh’ instead of an ‘uh-ooh’. The same is true in ‘brown’, ‘allow’, ‘down’, ‘eyebrow’. You see there’s lots of work to do here!

If you feel brave enough to take the 1,000-word challenge, subscribe at the iTunes link below!


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