Neutralize Your First Language Accent

Today you’ll learn about how to neutralize your first language accent before your IELTS Speaking Exam.

neutralize first language accent

Firstly, is it necessary to completely eradicate your accent in English?

No!

The fact is, you can still get an 8 for pronunciation with a hint of your first language accent.

This is because English is an international language, with thousands, if not millions, of ‘accents’!

However, having said that, if you feel your accent is impeding your ability to communicate, then you should actively try to improve your pronunciation.

You’ll know if your accent makes it hard for people to understand you if they often have to stop and say, “What?”.

Step #1: Identification

You know which sounds are hard for you in English– maybe it’s the /r/ /l/ differentiation, or the ‘th’ sounds, or perhaps nailing the long/short vowel sounds.

Write each sound that is difficult for you. Learn their IPA symbols for clear identification.

Find videos online by native speakers (British or American) that show you how we form these sounds, the exact positioning of our tongue, lips, teeth, and the use of voice.

Step #2: Drilled mimicry

Watch videos of native speakers.

 

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Try to copy their sounds and tones exactly. Look in the mirror to make sure your mouth is in the correct position.

With pronunciation practice, it’s all about repetition, which is called ‘drilling‘. So, watch the same clip and repeat again and again.

Step #3: Supported repetition

After practicing each sound repeatedly, get a page of text.

Underline the sounds in the text that you want to enunciate clearly.

Read the text out loud a few times.

Remember, though, that your intonation and stress are even more important to your Pronunciation score than your accent!

What English sounds are challenging for you?

Share your challenges and solutions in the comments section below!