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Contractions and Pronunciation in the IELTS Speaking Test

by PullingOne

Hello IELTS Buddy,

Academic IELTS questions:

1) Contractions:

My question is about contractions in speaking sections of academic IELTS. Is it good idea to use I'll, we'd, etc.?

What about words such as wanna, gonna, etc.?

Also, one native speaker said that in daily life some phrases are not pronounced as it is written in transcription, e.g. "Do you like..." can be pronounced jә/ju laik..., or "a cup of tea" – әkәpә ti:.

Is it not a good idea to pronounce them like that?

2) Pronunciation like Native Speaker

Does it affect my speaking section score, if I pronounce some sounds not like native speakers, but with different versions.

I mean, sometimes I pronounce the sound i like ә or e, e.g. the word "system": I've got used to pronounce it like sistem or sistәm (the last vowel sound).

Also, sometimes I mistakenly pronounce æ sound, instead a:.

Does this mispronunciations affects my score?

Best regards, PullingOne

Comments for Contractions and Pronunciation in the IELTS Speaking Test

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Jan 11, 2017
Getting it right
by: IELTS buddy

Hi PullingOne,


The examiner is looking for naturally sounding speaking, and in normal everyday speech we use contractions.

So yes, it is better to use them.

That includes everything such as "wanna, gonna" etc.

So that goes the same for what your friend said - yes we don't pronounce things exactly as they are written.


With pronunciation, there are certain ways that (most...) native speakers say things, which can be represented by phonemic script as you showed.

So of course the closer you are to those sounds, the closer you are to sounding like a 'native speaker', if you want to use that as a benchmark.

You are graded on your pronunciation, so it is possible it could affect your score if you are pronouncing things incorrectly.

But it is impossible to say to what extent, if at all, what you are actually doing is affecting your score.

You are marked over the whole test - a few errors might not make much different, more errors and more obvious ones will do, but it will vary for everyone.

Jan 21, 2017
Using Contractions and Pronunciation
by: DR HPSSandhu

IELTS is a test taken worldwide and obviously the accent and pronunciation differ from country to country, so it is not expected that the exam taker speaks only in British at American accent.

He / she is more comfortable in his own country's way of speaking. Its a question of how correct and comfortable you are in making the structures correctly and your dealing with the language comfortably, your body language and confidence when you speak.

You should not distort your natural accent, instead give synonyms, a wide range of vocabulary, and use simple and short sentences. It is a great misconception that high sounding or ornamental words can get you good bands.

Using contracted words beautify your language when you speak and enhance your performance so the beat mantra is when you write, expand and when you speak contract the words. Slang is not allowed.

Jan 25, 2017
sound changef at 10 km
by: Anonymous

Yes, being international language it is pronounced many ways. But IELTS/Tofel should avoid. In India it is said language sound is changing at every 10 km.

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Problems with Pronunciation

by Pink

I have trouble speaking words with 'S' and 'SH' sound, for eg. I pronounce SHERIDON as SERIDON.

This is something I have since birth and after trying a lot, I still can't discriminate.

Please suggest if I should tell the examiner about this problem prior to test or how should it be handled.

Comments for Problems with Pronunciation

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Jan 05, 2017
Pronunciation of Sh
by: IELTS buddy

Hi Pink,

Firstly you can't tell the examiner anything before you start, you just go in the room and he/she will start the test.

But even if you could, it would make no difference. You are graded on your pronunciation, so if you can't get it right then you may get a lower score for this. The fact that you have found it difficult to master since you were young does not make any difference.

The only solution is to try and sort it out and if you have been unable to do it alone then you have have to get a tutor, or there are some books/CDs that help with pronunciation.

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American Accent in IELTS Speaking

by Jane

Hi IELTS Buddy,

I am Jane from China. I am here to inquire some quesions about the speaking part of the exam.

Does it matter about the accent of the students? For me I speak English in American accent and I can speak fluently. But can this accent be accepted by the examiners? Or only the British accent is acceptable?

I appreciate your help,thank you!!

Comments for American Accent in IELTS Speaking

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Apr 27, 2017
American Accent in IELTS
by: IELTS buddy


Any accent is ok in IELTS, even accents that are not British or American.

Someone for example who grew up in France may be fluent in English but have a French accent. That is ok - it's usually impossible to completely get rid of an accent so you won't be penalised for it (unless of course it impacts on your pronunciation).

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