Group of people speaking around a table
Speaking
How to improve your pronunciation for IELTS: putting it all together

In the first blog post of this series, we began with two questions:  What does it mean to have ‘good’ pronunciation?   Why is ‘good’ pronunciation important?  We saw that ‘good’ pronunciation in the IELTS Speaking test means both pronouncing words and sounds correctly, and using a range of pronunciation features effectively.  We then suggested that rather than worrying about ‘good’ pronunciation and making your pronunciation ‘better’, you should instead focus on: Pronouncing the words and sounds of English correctly so that they are easy to understand. Using a range of pronunciation features effectively to make your message clear. Further blog posts focused on how you can achieve these two goals: The second blog post in the series looked at how you can use syllable stress and the correct pronunciation of individual sounds to ensure that the words that you say are clear.  The blog posts that came after looked at how you can use a range of pronunciation features – words stress, intonation, and rhythm and chunking – to make your message clear and your speech more natural.   Clear and effective pronunciation in the IELTS Speaking test Putting all this together, we can summarise the meaning of clear and effective pronunciation in the IELTS Speaking test as follows: (Click image to enlarge) It’s important to note that it hasn’t been possible to cover all aspects of clear and effective pronunciation in this series. For example, stress and intonation can be used in many different ways to change the message we are communicating. We hope to cover these other uses of pronunciation features in future. Closing thoughts By now, you hopefully have a much better understanding of what ‘good’ pronunciation means, and why it is important. You hopefully also have an idea of how clear and effective your pronunciation is, and the steps you can take to improve it. However, I want to finish this series with perhaps the most important advice of all for improving your pronunciation:   In the past, it was simply impossible for many IELTS candidates to do this because they didn't live in a country where English is widely used, and they didn't know anyone else who spoke English well. However, thanks to the internet, social media, and language exchange platforms like Speaky, it’s now possible for anyone with an internet connection to use English for real communication, wherever they are in the world. Doing this as often as possible, and using English because you have a real message that you want to communicate – not just because you have some IELTS Speaking test questions you need to answer – is the single best way to make your pronunciation clearer, more effective and more natural. (Click image to enlarge)     

Paul Dixon

15 December, 2021

How to improve your pronunciation for IELTS: putting it all together

Group of people speaking around a table

In the first blog post of this series, we began with two questions:

  1.  What does it mean to have ‘good’ pronunciation?
  2.  Why is ‘good’ pronunciation important?

We saw that ‘good’ pronunciation in the IELTS Speaking test means both pronouncing words and sounds correctly, and using a range of pronunciation features effectively.

We then suggested that rather than worrying about ‘good’ pronunciation and making your pronunciation ‘better’, you should instead focus on:

  1. Pronouncing the words and sounds of English correctly so that they are easy to understand.
  2. Using a range of pronunciation features effectively to make your message clear.

Further blog posts focused on how you can achieve these two goals:

  • The second blog post in the series looked at how you can use syllable stress and the correct pronunciation of individual sounds to ensure that the words that you say are clear.
  • The blog posts that came after looked at how you can use a range of pronunciation features – words stress, intonation, and rhythm and chunking – to make your message clear and your speech more natural.

Clear and effective pronunciation in the IELTS Speaking test

Putting all this together, we can summarise the meaning of clear and effective pronunciation in the IELTS Speaking test as follows:

Pronunication in the IELTS Speaking test

(Click image to enlarge)

It’s important to note that it hasn’t been possible to cover all aspects of clear and effective pronunciation in this series. For example, stress and intonation can be used in many different ways to change the message we are communicating. We hope to cover these other uses of pronunciation features in future.

Closing thoughts

By now, you hopefully have a much better understanding of what ‘good’ pronunciation means, and why it is important. You hopefully also have an idea of how clear and effective your pronunciation is, and the steps you can take to improve it.

However, I want to finish this series with perhaps the most important advice of all for improving your pronunciation:

the candidates who get the highest scores for pronunciation in the IELTS Speaking test are those who use English every day to communicate real messages.

 

In the past, it was simply impossible for many IELTS candidates to do this because they didn't live in a country where English is widely used, and they didn't know anyone else who spoke English well.

However, thanks to the internet, social media, and language exchange platforms like Speaky, it’s now possible for anyone with an internet connection to use English for real communication, wherever they are in the world. Doing this as often as possible, and using English because you have a real message that you want to communicate – not just because you have some IELTS Speaking test questions you need to answer – is the single best way to make your pronunciation clearer, more effective and more natural.

In short, to get a higher score for pronunciation in the IELTS Speaking test, focus less on preparing for the test, and focus more on becoming a clearer and more effective communicator in English in real-life situations. This is by far the best way to find out if your pronunciation is clear and effective, as well as the best source of motivation to improve it.

(Click image to enlarge)

 

Paul Dixon

Originally from the UK but now living in New Zealand, Paul has been helping people prepare for the IELTS test since 2005. His main teaching interests are helping learners improve their pronunciation and develop their reading skills.

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