Kansas Male

Aged 35 | Born 1980

Full Kit

The Accent Kit contains the following five elements.
Need more guidance? Tap the question mark on the top right of each section

Free Speech

The speaker telling a 1-3 minute story of personal interest


Listen to the speaker telling a 2/3 minute story in their natural ‘connected speech’
Pause the recording after small chunks and ‘echo’ what you hear
Notice if some sounds change in connected speech, compared to their formal ‘reading’ style
Listen out for vowels from the WORD LIST
Listen out for the 6 CONSONANTS

Notice the natural rhythm, tune and energy of their speech
Hum along to the tunes they use
Do they step or slide from note to note?
Does it sound ‘major’ or ‘minor’? Is the pace rapid or slow?
Beat out the rhythm, and feel it in your body
Feel the energy and dynamics in your mouth
In this ‘Free Speech’ element, we asked your speaker to tell us a 1-3 minute story of personal interest. The content helps to elicit the ‘groove’ of an accent. You can hear the natural energy, tune and rhythm of the speaker. Their informal delivery allows you to hear how some sounds change when they link word and thought together.


The SETTING, ZONE and TONE of the accent


These are the anchor for your accent. Build your foundations well, hold them in place, and the structure of your accent will be solid.

There are three elements to your foundations:

1. SETTING - FEEL IT: Listen to the hesitation sound. It is the sound you make when you are thinking out loud. This is the neutral, relaxed setting of the vocal tract (lips, jaw, tongue, soft palate etc) in the accent. Feel what you need to change in your vocal tract to find this new ‘neutral’ setting; thinner lips? tighter jaw? smaller space? Make this new setting ‘home’ as you speak.

2. ZONE - SEE IT: Look at the diagram and see where the sound vibrates in the vocal tract for the new accent. Visualise aiming for this zone as you speak.

3. TONE - HEAR IT: Listen to the speaker counting to 10. Listen to the tone of the accent without listening to the words. How could you describe it? Perhaps a colour, an instrument or mood. Mimic this tone and sustain it as you speak.

Put the three together and you have your accent foundations. You can start with whichever works best for you!
In the same way that foundations anchor and support a building, they anchor and support and accent too. These are your three anchors for your accent’s foundations.


Listen to the hesitation sound. This is the neutral relaxed setting of the vocal tract (jaw, lips, cheeks etc.) in the accent. Look in the mirror, see and feel the new shapes, maintain this setting for the new accent.


Focus the sound into a specific area in your mouth.


Listen to the hesitation sound with numbers. Hear and mimic the tonal quality (noise) of the speaker.

Vowels: Words & Sentences

The vowel sounds you need for the shape of your accent


Each sentence gives you a repetition of the vowel sound in a word from the WORD LIST.
Mimic the speaker and practice the shape of the vowels in each sentence.
Use the sentences to practice the shape in words with different spellings.
Use the sentences to practice your most challenging new vowel shapes.

The word list will show you all the vowel shapes an accent uses.
Each key word (KIT etc) acts like a label on a box. All the words in that box will share the same vowel shape as the key word (KIT LISTED BUSY etc)
* Listen to the speaker reading the word list.
* Mimic the speaker and notice differences in SHAPE, LENGTH and MOVEMENT of the vowels compared to your own accent.

NB: Accents are in constant states of flux. The BATH and PALM sets are especially unpredictable and may not follow as uniform a pattern as other sets!

Now practice!
* Identify the key areas of difference and focus your practice on these sets and shapes.
* Use the vowel sentences to expand your practice and to focus on the most challenging shapes.

The Word List was originally devised by the phonetician J.C. Wells
KIT: The ship listed as busy women built a pretty bridge in the dim mid-winter
DRESS: In a sweat, Jeff edged his head into the Thames (‘temz’) in an effort to save his best friend from the treacherous bell of death
STRUT: The dull young monks rushed in a flood to hunt the buds of the lovely buttercup
FOOT: The woman shouldn’t put the full pudding onto the butcher’s hook
GOOSE: Two beautiful youths moved through a few smooth, juicy, rude grooves in feudal confusion
FLEECE: The police had reason to believe that Peter, Keith and the anaemic Sheila could be in league to illegally deceive people
NURSE: Pearl urged Myrtle’s attorney to rehearse a certain circus turn before the courteous worm turned
TRAP: The cat dashed to catch the ham that dangled from the bag
BATH: ‘Francis the calf can’t dance’, laughed Sandra the giraffe, aghast, as the calf pranced disastrously
PALM: Brahms sonata kept father calm in the spa
START: Sergeant Charles was the star of the party with his hearty aria ('AHreeya')
LOT: Tom honestly acknowledged how top notch the swan was to dodge the yacht
CLOTH: Ross often frothed the coffee and washed the long sausages in Boston
THOUGHT: Paul applauded all the naughty daughters who yawned when taught with chalk and talk
NORTH: George cavorted with Thor to fortify his short torso for the war in York
FORCE: ‘Of course I adore Nora’, roared the porter through the door to the four divorced boarders
FACE: April felt faint as she campaigned to rein in the wasteful ladies to change their ways and obey
GOAT: Joan coaxed her beau ('boh') Owen to grow bolder, though she loathed over-controlling soldiers
GOAL: The soul of the lonely mole evolved from the stony hole
PRICE: Friday is the right night to arrive by bicycle in Cyprus to buy a fine eiderdown ('EYEderdown')
CHOICE: The boy employed a joist to hoist the moist oysters into the boiling oil
MOUTH: The loud crowd from south of the county wanted to oust the clown out of town, but they were all mouth
NEAR: Maria was sincere in her weird career, but feared the fierce bearded cashier
SQUARE: Where the pears are scarce, the bears share theirs fairly
TOUR: Muriel assured the poor tourists that the insurance was sure to cover Europe
HAPPY LETTER COMMA: Lucy was happy to receive a letter from Rebecca who lived in the city. The letter had no commas but she loved reading it

Consonant Sentences

The six key consonant sounds that can make or break your accent

Here are six consonant patterns that can make or break your accent.

Notice the patterns the speaker is using.

R - Do they say every R or only before a vowel? What kind of R is it?
L - Are they light, dark, a W substitute or a combination?
TH - Do they change to F-V, T-D or S-Z?
NG - Are they smilen, smilin, smilín, smiling or smilink?!
H - Do they drop or not?
PTK - Do any disappear and become a glottal stop?

Speak the sentences. Mimic the speaker and compare how similar or different they sound and feel to your own. Practice the new patterns.

NB: Be sure to listen for these patterns in the FREE SPEECH recording. Speakers often give away more patterns when they are being less formal!
R: Margaret, Linda and Gerry asked Peter if Roland started with ‘R’
L: Larry the lamb slept peacefully in the field until hailstones fell
H: Harry Hobson had a holiday in Hawaii
NG: The smiling singer was singing with the King
TH: That’s my brother with a thermos of Matthew’s broth
PTK: He put the butter in paper and gave it to the biker

Practice Text

The speaker reading a set text, combining all the speech sounds of the accent for you to practice


It is essential to have a practice text other than your script.

* Listen and mimic chunk by chunk.

* What differences do you hear? What differences do you feel going on in your mouth? How does the tune and rhythm differ from your own? What do the setting, zone and tone feel like (see FOUNDATIONS)?

* Read the new accent. Listen, compare, and be your own judge. Go back and work on the bits that are wobbly!

Arthur the rat was originally developed in 1890 by the phonetician Henry Sweet. It has all the combined sounds of spoken English. It exists in many online versions: this is ours.

Once you can speak this whole text in the accent you know you are good to go!
There was once a young rat named Arthur who could never take the trouble to make up his mind. Whenever his friends asked him if he would like to go out with them, he would only answer, ‘I don’t know.’ He wouldn’t say ‘yes’ and he wouldn’t say ‘no’ either. He could never learn to make a choice. His aunt Helen said to him, ‘No one will ever care for you if you carry on like this. You have no more mind than a blade of grass.’ Arthur looked wise, but stupidly said nothing.

One rainy day, the rats heard a great noise in the loft where they lived. The pine rafters were all rotten in the middle, and at last one of the joists had given way and fallen to the ground. The walls shook and all the rats’ hair stood on end with fear and horror. ‘This won’t do,’ said the old rat who was chief, ‘I’ll send out scouts to search for a new home.’

Three hours later the seven tired scouts came back and said, ‘We have found a stone house, which is just what we wanted; there is room and good food for us all. There is a kindly horse named Nelly, a cow, a calf, and a garden with flowers and an elm tree.’

Just then the old rat caught sight of young Arthur. ‘Are you coming with us?’ he asked. ‘I don’t know,’ Arthur sighed. ‘The roof may not come down just yet.’ ‘Well,’ said the old rat angrily, ‘we can’t wait all day for you to make up your mind. Right about face! March!’ And they went straight off.

Arthur stood and watched the other little rats hurry away. The idea of an immediate decision was too much for him. ‘I’m going back to my hole for a bit,’ he said to himself dreamily, ‘just to make up my mind.’

That Tuesday night there was a great crash that shook the earth and down came the whole roof. Next day some men rode up and looked at the ruins. One of them moved a board and hidden under it they saw a young rat lying on his side, quite dead, half in and half out of his hole.

Encourage your muscle memory with PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE, until you can get through the whole phrase fluently. If you stumble, try again. Once you are confident, connect to the emotional drive of the line.

About the Speaker

"I grew up ... in Kansas it would be upper middle class cos you can buy a lot for two hundred dollars in Kansas! You get outside of that and your class drops pretty drastically. You know, a farm is where I kinda grew up ... my family is really small town people, white Caucasian. ... The lineage of my family started in the South and goes way way back to Scotland ... Described as a mid western accent"

About the Location

Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansa Native American tribe which inhabited the area. For thousands of years, what is now Kansas was home to numerous and diverse Native American tribes. Kansas was first settled by European Americans in the 1830s, but the pace of settlement accelerated in the 1850s.

When it was officially opened to settlement by the U.S. government in 1854, abolitionist Free-Staters from New England and pro-slavery settlers from neighbouring Missouri rushed to the territory to determine whether Kansas would become a free state or a slave state. Thus, the area was a hotbed of violence and chaos in its early days as these forces collided, and was known as Bleeding Kansas. The abolitionists eventually prevailed and on January 29, 1861, Kansas entered the Union as a free state.

After the Civil War, the population of Kansas grew rapidly when waves of immigrants turned the prairie into farmland. Today, Kansas is one of the most productive agricultural states, producing high yields of wheat, corn, sorghum, and soybeans. Kansas is the 15th most extensive and the 34th most populous of the 50 United States.

In 2004 the ten largest reported ancestry groups, which account for over 85% of the population, in the state were: German – 33.75%, Irish – 14.4%, English – 14.1%, American – 7.5%, French – 4.4%, Scottish – 4.2%, Dutch – 2.5%, Swedish – 2.4%, Italian – 1.8%, and Polish – 1.5%.

(Wikipedia 2015)