How to Improve English Pronunciation for IELTS?

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How to Improve your Pronunciation

Are you planning to undertake the IELTS exam? Taking an English proficiency test can be unnerving with its detailed emphasis on every single intricacy of the language. No matter well you are prepared, the pressure of the test might make it seem futile. Never fear because the key to doing well on any test is to be conversant with all the concepts it evaluates. One important component of the IELTS speaking section is pronunciation and fluency. Pronunciation is the way words are enunciated in a language and having a thorough knowledge of this topic is imperative to demonstrate one’s command over the language. Mentioned below are some of the best tips for how to improve English pronunciation. 

How to Improve English Pronunciation for IELTS?

Exercises To Improve Pronunciation

To improve your pronunciation, you can do various speaking exercises from practicing the sounds and intonations to understanding how to fluently speak English. Some of the best exercises to improve pronunciation are:

  • Tongue Twisters
  • Minimal Pairs
  • Sounds of English
  • Similar Sentences

Let’s understand how you can practice these English exercises to improve pronunciation and fluency:

Tongue Twisters
Tongue twisters are a great way of improving your English pronunciation and fluency. They also help in improving accents by using alliteration. The best thing about tongue twisters is they don’t feel like an exercise and are actually fun to do.
Practice this: how many berries could a bare berry carry, if a bare berry could carry berries.

Minimal Pairs
In this exercise, you need to have a sheet of pairs of similar words. After that you’ll be made to listen to words and you have to mark the word you hear. This helps in understanding English more clearly eventually resulting in more fluency in your spoken English.

Sounds of English
This exercise helps you in understanding how to place your tongue while speaking a syllable. Understanding the difference between the placement of the tongue in different sounds will surely boost your fluency in English.

Similar Sentences
This exercise is a lot similar to minimal pair exercise except in this exercise, you need to hear a sentence and then decide what you heard from a pair of sentences extremely similar in nature.

How to Practice English Pronunciation?

Speak Slowly
It is a misconception that in order to speak fluently you need to speak fast. Speaking fast only makes the speaker sound nervous and indecisive. So, you need to practice to speak slowly on a day-to-day basis. Speaking slowly will give you time to think about what you want to say next and eventually make you sound more fluent than before.

Observe Yourself
The best way to improve your pronunciation is to observe yourself and see what you’re doing wrong in terms of pronunciation each aspect of the word and sentences together. Stand in front of a mirror and observe the movement of your lips, mouth and tongue and then try out difficult sounds to see what you’re doing wrong.

Sing English Songs
Singing is the perfect way of relaxing your mind, but it also helps with your rhythm and your intonation. Once you develop a habit of singing English songs, you’ll notice an improvement in your fluency over time.

Converse with Native Speakers
Listen to the native speakers as much as you can. Sometimes too much practice is also harmful. So, just sit down and observe how native speakers speak and what you are missing when you compared your pronunciation with their natural speaking style.

Best Apps to Practice English Pronunciation

If you are a beginner in learning Spoken English and are worried that you cannot improve it on your own, you need not worry as there are several apps designed specifically for the purpose of helping students like you. However, it might be a little difficult to decide which app is the best. Here are the top English learning apps to master pronunciation:

  • FluentU
  • ELSA Speak: English Accent Coach
  • Say it: English Pronunciation
  • Learn English Daily
  • Sounds: Pronunciation App
  • Pronunroid- IPA Pronunciation
  • English Pronunciation
  • Duolingo

Tips to Improve English Pronunciation

Here some expert tips to improve your pronunciation and fluency.

Word Stress

An important aspect of pronunciation is word stress. When it comes to a vast and complex language like English, the stress on each syllable of a word isn’t the same. One syllable of the word is accentuated and spoken more distinctly while the other syllables are spoken relatively softer. One word can only have one stress and it is important to be aware of it to pronounciate the word correctly. To speak fluently in English listening to the words and focusing on the stressed syllables will surely help you improve English pronunciation. 

Sentence Stress

Each language has a beat and rhythm of its own and so does English which comes from the concept of sentence stress. Similar to word stress, sentence stress involves accentuating and emphasizing on certain words in a sentence. It is a key trick to remember when one is thinking about how to improve English pronunciation. Each sentence is formed of two types of words, i.e. content words which are the words integral to the sentence and structure words which are smaller, simpler words that help in lending meaning to the entire sentence. It is imperative to accentuate the content words to better one’s pronunciation and fluency of the language.

Clarity

This is one of the most vital aspects of pronunciation. Clarity refers to pronouncing words clearly for the listener’s understanding. For those wondering how to improve English pronunciation, the first step you need to take is to start working on the clarity of words. Mumbling words or speaking too fast reduces the clarity of the verbal message and can thus create a negative impression on the listener or examiner. Speaking slowly and clearly, distinctly pronouncing each word can increase the overall clarity of the speech.

Individual Sounds

The first step towards conversing fluently in English is to master all the individual sounds in the phonemic chart. In order to converse fluently, you need to be able to pronounce each and every sound correctly before moving on to the whole sentence. There are two types of sounds i.e. vowel sounds and consonant sounds. Every word in the world is made up of these sounds. After mastering these sounds, it becomes a lot easier for you to pronounce words more clearly and fluently.

Intonation 

Intonation is a feature of pronunciation which refers to the variation of the pitch while speaking. Changing the intonation can have a deep impact on the meaning of the sentence being said. It portrays the attitude of the person speaking and makes the conversation more animated and full of emotions. Working on intonation can also assist you to improve English pronunciation and help you furnish your fluency akin to a native speaker with strong control over the language.

Linking Sounds

You must have noticed native English speakers speaking way too fast. It is probably because of linking sounds. It basically means linking two words together in order to sound more fluent. While speaking you can link the last sound and first sound of some words. For eg., “it’s a bit of an issue”. You can link the last sound of the consonant ‘it’s’ and the first sound of the vowel ‘a’ in order to create a sound of its-a.

Chunking

Chunking is an important practice of dividing a sentence into a group of words to make the sentence more legible and to convey its meaning more clearly. The chunks are divided by pauses which allow the listeners to understand the sentence more vividly. Working on this aspect of the language, you can effectively work on the question of how to improve English pronunciation. To get an idea about chunking, the best way is to listen to native speakers and follow their speech pattern and remember it when speaking in English. Without chunking, a speech would sound bland and not convey any message clearly.

Weak Sounds

We learnt above that we need to stress some words in a sentence by saying them strongly more than the others but you also need to learn that there are some words that we don’t stress. Such words are called weak sounds. It basically means putting less emphasis on function words that don’t carry much meaning. For eg. ‘I want to go’ becomes ‘I wanna go’. This exercise helps in speaking smoothly, thus resulting in improved fluency.

Also Read: Grammar for IELTS

Listening, Recording and Continuously Practicing

The last and most important thing to keep in mind about how to improve English pronunciation is to practice relentlessly by listening to native speakers and follow their speech pattern and try to inculcate it in your speech. Listening continuously improves one’s pronunciation by enhancing their stress and syllables understanding. Recording helps in understanding one’s flaws and allows one the space to improve their pronunciation skills. 

We hope this blog has given enough tips on to how to improve English pronunciation and ace the IELTS speaking section. Worried about how to prepare for IELTS and crack it successfully? Leverage Live offers exclusive online classes and study materials crafted by best industry experts to guide towards attaining your dream IELTS score! Sign up for a free demo session with us today!

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