When teaching the American accent, I always have my students choose a speech model at some point during our first session.
It gives us a clear goal to refer to when we need some inspiration, motivation, or listening practice.
A Good Speech Model Is:
Someone who is the student’s gender, approximate age, and has a style, image, and way of speaking that the student feels is representative of himself or herself.
I am often asked, “Who should I listen to and try to imitate if I want a good, neutral American Accent?”
Don’t go for broadcasters or politicians. They tend to sound robotic and rehearsed. Choose someone who sounds like a real person.
Here are some of my current favorites. These are all people with a very standard American accent, but who still sound real, likable, and relatable.
Younger Female (18-50): Emma Stone, Zoe Kravitz
Older Female (50+): Oprah Winfrey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Younger Male (18-30): John Krasinski, Michael Strahan (yes, even with the lisp. It’s doesn’t affect the clarity of his speech. He sounds sophisticated but still so likable!)
Older Male (50+): Alec Baldwin, Rob Riggle
I highly recommend choosing a speech model for yourself or for your students who are learning an accent. It helps you get clear and stay clear on how you want to sound.