If you are wondering how to talk like a Guido, there are a few things to consider. If your current speaking voice contains an accent, it would be best to practice speaking a generic Mid-Western, news reporter-style English accent first. It is easiest to add an accent from a clean slate, in a sense, then to try to cover up a current accent while adopting a new one.
To talk like a Guido, you will need:
- Goodfellas (DVD)
- Raging Bull (DVD)
- The Sopranos TV Series (DVD)
- Digital Voice Recorder (optional)
How to Talk like a Guido:
- In order to sound like a Guido, it helps to know what a Guido sounds like. Watch movies such as "Raging Bul"l and "Goodfellas," and TV shows such as "The Sopranos." A "Guido" is typically an Italian-American that has maintained some connection to his Italian heritage.
- While watching the movies and episodes, take notes on consistent phrases, language use including profanity, and also mannerisms. About 40% of talking like a Guido is going to be in body language, facial expression, and attitude. These are things that must be learned from mimicking others which is why TV and movies will be very useful.
- Make note of seemingly-odd pronunciations that are typical of Guidos. Examples include, "re-goatt" or "re-goattuh" instead of "Ricotta" or "mow-tsuh-RELL-uh" instead of "Mozzarella." Practice saying these and similar words with the new accent. Use the voice recorder to hear the playback of each pronunciation, which allows perfection without seeking a helper.
- Over-exaggerate typical hand movements while talking, and try to mimic those in the TV shows and movies. Use a mirror to watch the movements and body language. Practice until the movements seem natural, and they can be performed without conscious thought. In other words, make them habitual.
- Practice facial expressions seen on the movies and shows as well. This includes eyebrow movements, head tilts, exaggerated shrugging, and anything else observed in the shows and movies that seems "typical" of the Guido persona. Use a mirror to practice these as well, until they have been perfected and habitualized.
- Take the Guido persona for a test drive. Try using the behaviors, mannerisms, vocabulary, facial expressions, and attitude in a social setting to get feedback from others. Asking friends to critique the persona and the new ability to talk like a Guido can be difficult at first, but the feedback will help in perfecting the characterization.
- Be careful not to approach real Italian-Americans to test out the Guido persona on. This can be considered stereotyping, offensive, or even racist behavior and could result in severe physical harm to the impersonator if used inappropriately.
- Consider Italian-American comedians as a source of material as well. Many Italian-American stand-up comics, male and female, over-exaggerate the Guido stereotype to increase the humor in their performances. This can be another great source of reference material.
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