Is Accent Important in the IELTS Speaking Test?
Have you ever wondered if an accent is needed for the IELTS Speaking test? Well, you are not alone. There are many IELTS aspirants who ask whether accent will affect their IELTS band score.
The answer to this question is an absolute no. Your pronunciation, not your accent, determines your IELTS Speaking test score. Moreover, using an unnecessary and unnatural accent in the IELTS Speaking test will negatively affect your score.
Your performance on the IELTS Speaking test is assessed on the basis of 4 parameters.
- Fluency: How fluently you can convey your thoughts and ideas.
- Grammar and Accuracy: How grammatically correct your answers are.
- Lexical Resources: How wisely you choose the correct vocabulary to express your ideas.
- Pronunciation: How well you pronounce the words.
One of the essential marking criteria is pronunciation. It contributes 25% to your test performance, and aspirants often confuse pronunciation with the accent.
So, let’s first understand the difference between pronunciation and accent.
Pronunciation is your ability to speak a word accurately with the correct sound. IELTS Speaking test marks you on your ability to pronounce the word correctly.
On the other hand, an accent is a distinctive way of speaking a language, especially one associated with a particular country, area or social class.
Instead of attempting to impress the examiner with an accent, you should focus on improving your pronunciation skills, which will help you achieve a good band score in the IELTS Speaking test.
Here are some tips to help you improve your pronunciation skills:
- The same words are pronounced differently in English. Americans have a unique way of pronouncing terms that British people do not. E.g., in American pronunciation, car is pronounced ‘ka:r,’ whereas in British pronunciation, it is pronounced ‘ka.’ So, do not get confused when you hear different pronunciations. Instead, adhere to the English language pronunciation that you’ve been taught since childhood.
- Watch movies or series of the corresponding country to ameliorate your pronunciation and concentrate on how the actors say the words. Try to mimic the pronunciation rather than the accent.
- Every day, practise a few simple sounds from the English language. Start with a few sounds. Split the words down into syllables to make them easier to pronounce. After practising speaking syllables, try to speak the entire word and then practise using it in a sentence. This will assist you in improving your pronunciation without difficulty.
- While holding a conversation with other people, pay attention to the pronunciation of the words. It will help you learn pronunciations easily and quickly. Additionally, try to spot the wrong pronunciation used by people. It will help you brush up on your pronunciation skills.
- Pronunciation problems often persist because aspirants are afraid of making mistakes. Hence they avoid some words as much as possible. Remember, practice is the key to success. Do not fear how you are pronouncing the words, rather practise until you get it right.
- It’s essential to recognize where you’re making mistakes and where you need to improve. The best way to do that is by recording your answers and listening carefully to your pronunciation and comparing your pronunciation with an expert English speaker, and actively work on improving your pronunciations.
- To improve your pronunciation, you must receive feedback from someone knowledgeable. Other people will easily be able to spot the mistakes that you aren’t aware of. Hold a conversation with experts or show your recording to experts so that he/she may help you identify your pronunciation mistakes and advise you on how to pronounce them correctly.
- Speak clearly and at a natural pace and use meaningful words. Don’t stress too much on accent. Your pronunciation can impact how you deliver an individual sound and words. While communicating, emphasize correct pronunciation so that the examiner does not get confused between similar sounding words.
There are various ways you can ameliorate your English pronunciation. The tips mentioned above can help you identify ways to improve your pronunciation skills. However, the most important tip is to keep practising. Become familiar with various English words, learn how to pronounce them correctly and use them regularly.