IELTS Speaking: Pronunciation & Accent

In the IELTS speaking test, a quarter of your score is for pronunciation. Many students confuse 'pronunciation' with 'accent'. These are not the same thing!

Nobody expects you to speak with a perfect British/American/Australian English accents. In fact, the examiner will not judge your accent at all. So stop worrying about your accent, and focus on speaking clearly, which is one the things that your pronunciation score is based on. One of the techniques is pronounce the vowels clearly and accurately.

Here are some videos about how to pronounce vowels from BBC learning English.

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IELTS speaking: pronunciation and accents

As we all know that pronunciation is a very important criteria in the speaking part of your IELTS test. Here is the marking guide for pronunciation in band 6, 7, and 8

Band Pronunciation
  • uses a wide range of pronunciation features
  • sustains flexible use of features, with only occasional lapses
  • is easy to understand throughout; L1 accent has minimal effect on intelligibility
  • shows all the positive features of Band 6 and some, but not all, of the positive features of Band 8
  • uses a range of pronunciation features with mixed control
  • shows some effective use of features but this is not sustained
  • can generally be understood throughout, though mispronunciation of individual words or sounds reduces clarity at times

Accent, everybody has their own accent when they speak English, and accent is not the marking guide, however, it would definitely affect your score.

NOTE: L1 (first language) accent is not a barrier to you being understood when you're speaking English, hence the part "having minimal effect on intelligibility". Your L1 accent may be noticeable, but its effect is "minimal". It probably means that you're pretty close to sounding like a native speaker, or at least well on the way to it.

IELTS Speaking: Pronunciation

During the class, I find many students have pronunciation problems. The mispronunciation really confuses me, therefore, I have no ideas what are they talking about. The funnest thing is when they start talking those name brand products, likes Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Gucci, etc, it sounds really funny.

Then how to practice your pronunciation, have a look at my previous post here.

And here is a video clip from Youtube about the pronunciation of some brands.