Pronouncing consonant clusters in IELTS Speaking

Although many IELTS candidates are good speakers, some may have problems pronouncing sounds to make themselves understood. Of course, examiners do not expect candidates to speak like the Queen (whose 89th birthday is today, by the way) or talk like James Bond!

What you should aim for is to speak clearly so that a shop assistant in New Zealand, for example, can understand what it is you want to buy from his shop. You need to speak clearly so that a police officer in South Africa can understand where it is you want to go if you’re lost. You need to speak clearly so that a taxi driver in London can understand where it is you want to go: Earl’s Court, for example, not Ascot!

So to do this, candidates need to produce sounds clearly so that they can be understood in IELTS Speaking. This is a requirement in your IELTS pronunciation assessment.

I had an enjoyable lesson the other day with a student who has been having difficulty with consonant clusters (consonants that are pronounced together) such as /sn/. For instance, “snip” would be pronounced as “slip”. This may affect understanding for the listener in sentences like:

He snipped the credit card secretly …
He slipped the credit card secretly …

Here is a little ditty that you can sing along to and practise the sounds at the same time. I hope you’ll enjoy it and find it helpful.

Here are several online materials for you to practise consonant clusters:

Until next time!

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