English Pronunciation fluency -training lesson

IELTS flu­en­cy Train­ing les­son

A major ele­ment for great IELTS results is Eng­lish pro­nun­ci­a­tion flu­en­cy.  You need to be able to hear and use the Eng­lish weak and strong forms in words of more than one syl­la­ble. I have writ­ten about this before, but this time I want to actu­al­ly train you to attune your ear to be able to hear which syllable/s are said strong­ly (stressed) and which are said weak­ly (unstressed).

Why is this impor­tant for your IELTS results?

  • First­ly, if you can’t hear or dis­tin­guish if a syl­la­ble is stressed (strong form) or de-stressed (weak form), then you can’t say it prop­er­ly.  You end up miss pro­nounc­ing long Eng­lish words! This makes you dif­fi­cult to under­stand.
  • Sec­ond­ly, stress­ing the right syl­la­bles in longer words in Eng­lish makes your Eng­lish speech sound more flu­ent and flow­ing when you speak. It makes you sound more like a native speak­er which is what you need  to get to lev­els 8 and 9 in your IELTS exam.
  • Get­ting Eng­lish pro­nun­ci­a­tion flu­en­cy, means you are get­ting and using Eng­lish rhythm and stress pat­terns prop­er­ly. These are ele­ments that make a dif­fer­ence for IELTS exams at the high­er lev­els.

Bet­ter IELTS Results-Eng­lish Pro­nun­ci­a­tion Flu­en­cy

Lots of peo­ple under­stand that cer­tain syl­la­bles are stressed and oth­ers are not in words of more than one syl­la­ble in Eng­lish, but they may have dif­fi­cul­ty hear­ing which is the weak and which the strong form when a native Eng­lish speak­er is speak­ing. If you can’t hear it, you can’t repro­duce it in your own Eng­lish pro­nun­ci­a­tion.  It takes a bit of prac­tise to hear it, and also in some 2 syl­la­ble words both syl­la­bles are stressed more or less equal­ly. In the fol­low­ing audio les­son, I will train you to begin to attune your ear to the weak and strong form in longer words so you can hear it. When you can hear it, you can repro­duce it in your own speech, which means bet­ter IELTS results.

 

 

IELTS Flu­en­cy train­ing- text for Audio les­son

2 syl­la­ble words with equal stress on both syl­la­bles

Very –we hear the ‘e’ clear­ly in  ‘ve’ and the ‘ee’ clear­ly in ‘ry’ The ‘y’ con­so­nant can act as a con­so­nant and vow­el.  Both vow­els are clear so both are stressed syl­la­bles giv­ing an even rhythm. Da Da

The same with many- me- ny-both vow­els clear (the ‘a’ says ‘e’ but the ‘e’ is still a clear ‘e’ and not an ə vow­el –oth­er­wise it would be məny.)

In upturn the ‘u’ and ‘er’ are said as ‘u’ and ‘er’, as they should be. In the word plat­form, you hear the vow­els in both syl­la­bles clear­ly ‘a’ and ‘or’. The rhythm is DADA. The same applies for undone, con­tact and men­tor. There are more words that fol­low this pat­tern. Lis­ten out for them.

2 syl­la­ble words with unequal stress on both syl­la­bles

One syl­la­ble is the strong form or stressed syl­la­ble, and one is the weak form or unstressed syl­la­ble. If you come from a lan­guage back­ground that doesn’t have words with unstressed syl­la­bles, then you may need to learn to active­ly de-stress vow­els and say them as a schwa or / ə / vow­el. This takes prac­tise. You can prac­tise say­ing the de-stressed syl­la­ble a few times for your mouth and jaw to get used to the rhythm.

You will know if the syl­la­ble is the strong form because you can hear the vow­el is said clear­ly such as o, i, a, ay, ow etc.

You can hear if the syl­la­ble is the de-stressed or weak form, if it’s not clear what the vow­el is. That is the vow­el has been replaced by a total­ly dif­fer­ent vow­el the schwa vow­el, the / ə /, and doesn’t sound like it is meant to. When­ev­er you hear the / ə/ schwa vow­el replace the vow­el in a syl­la­ble, you know you have found the de-stressed or weak form syl­la­ble.

Words:-

Con­stant  

That’s right you can hear the ‘o’ clear­ly so ‘con’ is the stressed syl­la­ble. The ‘a’ in ‘tant’ becomes a schwa vow­el -st ənt- and so ‘tant’ is the de-stressed syl­la­ble. I don’t say con stant but con­st ənt. So the rhythm is DA da not DA DA.

Con­tain

The ‘o’ is the schwa and the weak form ‘cən’, and the ‘ai’ is the strong form ‘tain’.  The rhythm this time is da DA

Sug­gest 

Yes, the ‘u’ is de-stressed ‘səg’ , and the ‘e’ is the stressed syl­la­ble ‘gest’.

And said more quick­ly:  sug­gest (x2)   I don’t say suggest but sug­gest.      So the rhythm is da DA

Strong and weak syl­la­bles in words of 3 or more syl­la­bles.

Ter­ri­ble

The first ‘e’ is stressed ‘te’, and the ‘i’ becomes de-stressed ‘ri’, and the ‘ble’ has a very quick schwa between the b and l ‘bl’. It’s not bull, but bl.  The rhythm is DA da da

Accoun­tant

Both ‘a’ vow­els are de-stressed ‘əc’ and ‘tənt’, and the ‘ou’ is the clear vow­el, and so the stressed syl­la­ble.

Account­abil­i­ty 

Yes, the two ‘a’ vow­els are de –stressed ‘əc’ and ‘tə’, and also the 2nd ‘i’ is also said as the weak form. The ‘ou’ is a clear vow­el ‘coun’ as are the first ‘i ‘ and the ‘y’.      The rhythm of this word is da DA da DA da DA

 Incom­pre­hen­si­ble 

The stressed syl­la­bles are ‘in’, ‘com’ and ‘hen’. The ‘prə’, ‘sə’ and ‘ble’ ( there’s a very quick schwa between the b and l) are the weak syl­la­bles.   The rhythm is DADAdaDAda­da

Organ­i­sa­tion

The ‘or’, ‘i’, and ‘sa’ are the stressed syl­la­bles –you can hear the vow­els clear­ly, and the ‘gən’ and ‘tion’ syl­la­bles are the de-stressed syl­la­ble.  The rhythm is DAdaDADA­da

Words where a syl­la­ble is omit­ted

For exam­ple, com­fort­able becomes ‘comftable’ not com for table, but comf table.  The ‘or’ syl­la­ble is dropped com­plete­ly and you go straight from the ‘f’ to the ‘t’ in table. To do this you need to hold the ‘f’ on slight­ly longer to get ready for the ‘t’. comftable –also note the ‘a’ in table becomes a schwa vow­el ‘təble’.

Anoth­er exam­ple is inter­est. It isn’t in ter est, but ‘intrest’. You leave out the ‘er’ vow­el. ‘intrest’.

The last exam­ple is specif­i­cal­ly. The ‘al’ part of the word is omit­ted. So it’s not spe­cif­ically, but ‘speci­ficly’ Straight from the ‘k’ sound to the ‘l’ sound.  The ‘ci’ and ‘ly’ syl­la­bles are stressed and the ‘spe’ and ‘fi’ are de-stressed.

Anoth­er way to fig­ure out which are the stressed and de stressed syl­la­bles in longer words is to say the word sev­er­al times stress­ing dif­fer­ent syl­la­bles in turn. Notice which way sounds right.

Once you train your ear you can lis­ten to those around you, and then be more aware of  how they pro­nounce longer words.

Best wish­es, Esther

Choose the Accent you want to speak more clear­ly in …

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