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“Y’all come back now, ya hear?” Localisms, lingo, slang — whatever name it goes by, a dialect defines a region with its particular accents, emphasis and word choices that shape new variations on older languages. From the southern United States to England, dialects change rapidly, and it’s up to a Dialect Coach to help Actors and Actresses master the language so well that local people would never know they weren’t native speakers.
In this job as Dialect Coach, you’re like a Music Teacher holding daily sessions with different clients to help them learn an art form. Instead of creating music, though, you’re embracing cultural language and the ways it varies. A Stage Actor may need only a few weeks of training to brush up on an Australian accent for a play, while a Movie Star may need to learn the Spanish language and also pick up a Latin American accent.
The tape recorder is your clients’ best friend. Dialect Coaches record sessions and have them repeat drills over and over. First, it’s the alphabet, followed by reading from a movie script. Then you play the tape back, point out the spots that need work, and start again.
Eventually, something just clicks with your client and she finds herself slipping into an Italian accent effortlessly. When the movie’s over, she may need your help to switch back to her natural dialect!