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IELTS Pronunciation Guide
IELTS Pronunciation Guide

IELTS Pronunciation Guide

Pronunciation is the art of uttering a word. It has two facets. They are:

  • You should pronounce correctly for the other person to understand
  • You should be able understand other person’s pronunciation

In the IELTS speaking test, the role of pronunciation is explicit. It carries 25% of the marks. But in IELTS Listening, it is hidden. You have to understand the pronunciation of native speakers in order to identify the correct answers.

Analysis of sounds in English:

English language consists of 26 letters ( a – z). Out of these 26 letters, [ a, e, i, o, u] are vowels. The remaining are called consonants.

How do you learn pronunciation?

It is by making use of syllables and phonemes.

Syllable

The dictionary defines syllable as a unit of pronunciation which has one vowel sound with or without surrounding consonants, forming the whole or a part of a word

For example,

    • The word wreck has one syllable : wreck
    • The word water has two syllables : wa-ter
  • The word beautiful has three syllables : beau-ti-ful
  • The word championship has four syllables: cham-pi-on-ship

Phoneme:

A phoneme is the sound of the spoken language. The dictionary defines it as the smallest unit of sound that distinguishes one word from another.

Let’s take the same examples wreck and water

Wreck has three phonemes – /r/e/k/

Water has four phonemes – w/a/t/er

NOTE: Not every syllable has a corresponding phoneme.

Graphemes:

Dictionary defines it as the smallest meaningful contrastive unit in a writing system. They can be simply called as the written equivalent of phonemes.

Phonemic chart:

Englishclub.com

Click here for an interactive phonemic chart by the British Council.

Stress:

When we say something , we tend to utter certain words or syllables with a force ( stress). There are two types of stress. They are:

  • Word stress
  • Sentence stress

Word stress:

If you don’t stress the right syllable, you may be confusing the person listening to you.

For example:

Word : Present

Syllables: 2

Now stress the word in the following manner and see how it changes into a noun and a verb.

PRESent – Noun

preSENT – verb

Sentence stress:

There are two types of words. They are:

  • Content words – nouns, verbs, adverbs,
  • Function words – prepositions, pronouns, articles

In most cases, the content words are given stress. The meaning of the sentence changes depending on the words stressed.

He was inside – It was him and not anyone else

He was inside – Lays stress on where he was; Inside and not anywhere else

Shifting stress:

“I fear when I don’t understand music lessons”

We usually stress the verb “fear”. But when we change/ shift the stress, the meaning changes accordingly.

I fear when I don’t understand music lessons”

When do you fear? When you don’t understand something.

I fear when I don’t understand music lessons”

You clearly say that you fear when you don’t understand lessons on music and not on any other subject.

Intonations:

The rise and fall of tone is called intonation.

There are five ways in which our tone can change. They are:

  • flat (no change)
  • fall
  • rise
  • fall-rise
  • rise-fall

Example:

It’s hot outside – You could use the same sentence with variations in tone to mean:

  • How happy that it’s hot outside
  • How irritating that it is hot outside

Also check :

Written By

Sowmya is a content writer and is passionate about her job. She currently works on editing and writing engaging content for IELTS Material. She also has experience in the Software Testing Industry and has worked with Wipro for five and a half years.

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