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IELTS strategies: tongue-twisters

Are there any particular sounds in the English language that you have difficulties pronouncing?

The difficult ones are usually those that don’t exist in your first language, so you never got used to using them when you were learning to speak.

For example, my first language is English, but I live in Spain and Spanish uses a sound spelled with ‘J’ that is called ‘Jota’. It is similar to the English ‘h’ but it is a much deeper sound that is produced from the back of the throat, almost like the start of a cough!

It was an alien sound to me and I had difficulty using it for a long time, but with practice it gradually became more familiar and I could pronounce words containing the ‘jota’ sound more naturally.

One way to practise difficult sounds is to repeat them in a fun non-sensical way by inventing a tongue-twister using lots of words with the same sound.

For example, if you have problems with the ‘r’ sound, make a list of words that contain that sound (either at the beginning or in the middle):

RABBIT - RACE - RUN - RIBBON - ROAD - RICH - BURROW - RED - BROWN - REALLY

And then try to put them in a silly sentence:

The really rich rabbit running with the red ribbon was racing down the road to reach his brown burrow

Now try saying it…...each time a little faster than the last. Ready .....steady….....go!!


Watch our video again for another example:


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COMPETITION!! Win a FREE 20-min IELTS speaking lesson on Skype with an iPass tutor!

To win, all you have to do is create your very own original tongue twister.

Follow the steps above to create a sentence using lots of words (max 12) with the same letter or same sound.

Remember it doesn’t have to make sense!

Send your entry to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with the subject heading: BLOG COMPETITION

competition closes 20th October 2017

By Jenny Bedwell on 2017 10 05

Here’s our competition winner!

Mary marries Marwin a marine maker and makes her marital life marvellous and moves to Maryland.

Congratulations to Neesha for sending us this brilliant tongue twister!

By Jenny Bedwell on 2017 11 21

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Marta - Spain

Marta - Spain

To me, it was great when I sent my first writing task to Jenny. I was very proud of it, but Jenny didn’t like it at all and she told me many points to be improved if I wanted to dream of a band 7 in IELTS. At last!! I had found someone who was able to assess my work in the same way as IELTS examiners do, keeping my writing band far away from that 7. Jenny’s feedbacks were really useful, so I learnt how to successfuly perform this task and I got my desired mark!
In terms of the Speaking, I realised about the difference between a simple conversation and an exam where you need to make sure that you show off all your communication, grammar and vocab skills.

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