Accent in IELTS Speaking
Is Accent Crucial in The IELTS Speaking Test?
Pronunciation is the key to ace speaking skills in communication. It is a part of getting a high score in your IELTS Speaking test. So, it is quite natural for candidates to worry about their accents. However, one thing that you must note here is that pronunciation and accent are not the same.
Every word of English has a specific way it is pronounced. But the accent is something that is a result of the part of the world you stay in. Here, we have some considerations about how accent plays a role in effective Speaking and how it can affect your IELTS band score.
How you deliver your words using stress, intonation and rhythm can all be influenced by your accent. So today we will take a closer look at some tips to help you speak more clearly and ensure that the examiner can understand you.
English is a stress-timed language. We use stress when we speak to help communicate and express our opinions. In the Speaking test, you are assessed on your ability to communicate in English and a key part of intelligibility in speaking is to use your voice to communicate meaning.
Stress can be used to emphasise important words or to compare and contrast something you are talking about. For example, ‘I used to love watching TV, but now I hate it. I only use the TV to watch Net flix’.
Your accent can impact how you deliver individual sounds and words. Individual words need to be stressed correctly so meaning is not confused. If we stress the wrong syllable in a word, it can change the meaning from a verb ‘record’ to a noun ‘record’.
If the examiner has trouble understanding you because words are mispronounced and have unusual stress patterns, you will probably get a lower score as meaning is unclear. So, stress is very important.
When we talk about intonation, we mean the rise and fall of your voice when you speak. So, make sure you use your voice to help communicate meaning.
When we ask a question, we usually have a rising inflection, meaning our voice goes up at the end of the sentence. It’s like punctuation in writing. When we finish a statement, our voice falls, which helps with communication because we know a speaker, is ending a sentence. If you speak in a monotone, you will sound flat and expressionless, making it hard for examiners to follow what you are trying to say.
English is a stress-timed language, using rhythm to communicate at the correct speed. For example, if you sing a song, you use phrasing, rhythm, and stress to express yourself. This is the same when speaking English.
While preparing for the IELTS Speaking test, focus on the features of pronunciation that can lead to a higher score.
Don’t stress too much over your accent. If you clearly communicate your ideas with the examiner and put the tips above into action, you’ll be on your way to getting the Speaking score you need.
Remember, that we all, including examiners, speak with a variety of accents. Try and expose yourself to a range of accents by watching English news programs, movies, TV shows, and listening to podcasts or English radio. And if you still feel nervous on test day, imagine yourself sitting and speaking with a friend in a coffee shop.
Your speaking skills in communication, however excellent, are effective only when the other person understands you. Thus, a significant part of your speaking grade constitutes the fact that you are being understood. Make sure that you use your voice to communicate meaning in the IELTS Speaking test.
Thus, even if you have a strong accent, you will score high if the examiner gets what you speak. Avoid mispronouncing words and having unusual stress patterns in your speech. It will lead you to lose marks. So, the only thing that you must worry about is effective Speaking and successful communication. Do not worry about sounding like you are from London or New York.
As a beginner, you may find preparing for your IELTS Speaking test quite challenging. And it is natural to worry about your accent. But while you learn, you will realize that effective Speaking is the one that is understood easily. A lot of practice is the secret to ace this module and get your desired IELTS band score.