The problem is that I’ve just finished learning the 44 sounds of English and now I’m concerned about words that I know I may have pronounced wrong before I learned all 44 English sounds. Will this affect my score much, and if it does, how do I improve and fix this?

  • Knowing the phonemes is a great start but it's not enough to sound like a native speaker. Ask a teacher or a native speaker to evaluate your speaking because we don't know how well you speak in English. For the IELTS speaking exam, good pronunciation, knowing where the stress lies and intonation all help to making you succeed.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 20 at 8:35
  • I originally voted to close this question on EL&U as opinion-based, and I still think it is.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 20 at 9:00
  • This link shows the original text before many grammatical issues were fixed.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 20 at 9:03
  • You may be surprised to learn that "I'm concerning about" is not grammatical in English. You need the past participle there not the present participle: I’m concerned about.
    – tchrist
    Sep 20 at 13:14
  • 2
    @Juliana And the different criteria are considered when awarding a final score. The OP appears to believe that speech is governed by knowing the 44 sounds, it isn't. How can we say what the OP needs to improve or work on if we can't hear their speaking? P.S Please refer back to my very first comment. Please note that the OP has not once responded in the comments or attempted to clarify their question.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 20 at 13:43

It affects partially your scoring - you can have an accent or occasionally mispronounce things (particularly common with words you only saw written and never heard them pronounced) and still achieve a high score as long as you score high on the other 3 criteria and your accent doesn't impact intelligibility

According to the public IELTS Speaking Band descriptors, these are the scores you can expect with a mild accent and occasional mispronunciation (assuming that you have good fluency, lexical resource and grammar):

8 - Is easy to understand throughout; L1 accent has minimal effect on intelligibility

7 - shows all the positive features of Band 6 and some, but not all, of the positive features of Band 8

For CEFR comparison, this puts you solidly into C1-B2 level

If your accent causes some clarity problems but you still have good articulation and grammar, your score gets reduced to the following:

6 - can generally be understood throughout, though mispronunciation of individual words or sounds reduces clarity at times

5 - shows all the positive features of Band 4 and some, but not all, of the positive features of Band 6

For CEFR, this score places you at B2-B1

If you have a very strong accent and the examiner has to ask you to repeat yourself quite a few times because they didn't understand you, even if you spoke grammatically correct English:

4 - mispronunciations are frequent and cause some difficulty for the listener

For CEFR, this will place you at A2

If you want a quick assessment, I can recommend EnglishScore, which is a free app* made by the British Council (which is one of the owners of IELTS).

*Testing is free, official traceable certificates are paid

For pronunciation improvement, the best thing is exposure. Hear native speakers talking often. One thing you can do by yourself is get a stretch of audio by a native speaker and the written transcript (e.g. audiobook + book, movie + script, etc.) and try to copy the way the native speaker says the words. If possible, record yourself and listen back to understand where you need to improve.

Another thing is to get feedback from a native speaker or an English teacher - be intentional about what you want to achieve, and let them know, so you can make the most out of your session

  • 1
    The question is not right. Learning individual sounds guarantees nothing at all about accent. The OP says s/he has "learned the sounds". Sounds are made in words, and therefore, without hearing words in context, one really can't say anything about pronunciation., much less a person's accent.
    – Lambie
    Sep 20 at 13:39
  • @Lambie I'll make it more obvious that there are other more important criteria Sep 20 at 13:50

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