African Accents: A Workbook for Actors, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

African Accents

A Workbook for Actors, 1st Edition

By Beth McGuire


382 pages | 70 B/W Illus.

Look Inside Companion Website
Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780415705929
pub: 2015-11-26
SAVE ~$7.59
Hardback: 9780415705912
pub: 2015-11-30
SAVE ~$30.00
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315850207
pub: 2016-02-05
from $18.98

FREE Standard Shipping!


This is a comprehensive workbook for actors, covering the key characteristics and profiles of a wide range of African accents of English. Its unique approach not only addresses the methods and processes by which to go about learning an accent, but also looks in detail at each example. This lets the reader plot their own route through the learning process and tailor not only their working methods but also their own personal idiolect.

Full breakdowns of each accent cover:

  • an introduction giving a brief history of the accent, its ethnic background, and its language of origin
  • preparatory warm-up exercises specific to each accent
  • a directory of research materials including documentaries, plays, films and online resources
  • key characteristics such as melody, stress, pace and pitch
  • descriptions of physical articulation in the tongue, lips, jaw, palate and pharynx
  • practice sentences, phoneme tables and worksheets for solo study.

African Accents is accompanied by a website at with an extensive online database of audio samples for each accent. The bookand audio resources guide actors to develop their own authentic accents, rather than simply to mimic native speakers. This process allows the actor to personalize an accent, and to integrate it into the creation of character rather than to play the accent on top of character.


"Beth’s book is an essential tool for approaching African accents. Her comprehensive research and integrated physical approach help to demystify the complexities of different ethnic and national sounds, and allow the actor to bring a level of specificity to characters that is seldom heard. This book is a first of its kind, and I’m proud to have worked with the woman behind it." - Lupita Nyong’o, Academy Award Winner

Table of Contents

1. How to Use the Workbook and Reference Materials 2. Uganda – (Luganda) 3. Kenya – (Dholuo) 4. Zimbabwe – (Shona) 5. South Africa – (Zulu) 6. South Africa – (Afrikaans) 7. Rwanda – (Kinyarwanda) 8. DR Congo – (Lingala) 9. Senegal – (Wolof) 10. Nigeria – (Igbo) 11. Ghana – (Akan: Twi & Fante) 12. Liberia Glossary Citations

About the Author

Beth McGuire is a professional dialect and vocal coach for theatre and film. She is Director of Speech and Dialects at Yale School of Drama.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PERFORMING ARTS / Acting & Auditioning