Do people often misunderstand what you say? Are you asked to repeat yourself a lot? This could be because of a lack of clarity in your speech and not because of a lack of knowledge.
Indians are exposed to so many languages right from childhood that once they start learning English, it messes with their knowledge of their native or mother language. Plus it is a proven fact that language acquisition happens till the age of 5. But the English language learning for Indians begins to post that. Therefore the learning and acquisition don’t happen naturally.
This is a major reason Indians struggle in IELTS speaking. Over and above this, there are other factors (related to this only)
Where do Indians Struggle in the IELTS Speaking Test?
The IELTS speaking test evaluates your general English proficiency skills based on four criteria, one of which is the pronunciation test. It carries a 25% weighting, making it extremely significant.
Assume the examiner is unable to understand you during the speaking round because you are unable to correctly pronounce words, use appropriate stress patterns, or respond to the various speaking questions. In that case, you’ll almost certainly receive a lower grade.
People in India are exposed to a variety of regional languages from an early age. As a result, once they begin learning, their learning is disrupted. It’s also true that most Indians begin learning English after they turn five years old. It makes learning and mastering the English language feel unnatural.
What are the Problems?
All of the aforementioned factors are reasons why Indians struggle in the IELTS exam. Indians’ ability to perform well in the IELTS exam is also hampered by a number of other factors.
This article discusses some of these factors and answers the question, “Can My Indian Accent Affect My IELTS Speaking Score?” that every Indian candidate preparing for the IELTS test may have. So, let’s get started.
The Accent and Dialect
India is a country of varied religions and almost every religion has its own language too. Within each language, the dialects change as per the region, for example, a person residing in Mumbai would speak Hindi differently than a person who lives in Delhi.
This becomes a hindrance in the way the English language is spoken too. Their regional accent and dialect reflect in their spoken English too which makes it unclear and sometimes incomprehensible.
Indians have an issue with fluency in their English speaking as well. Because of so many other languages being spoken around them and a multitude of other reasons, the fluency factor affects the spoken English skills of almost every Indian, irrespective of his knowledge.
Unlike children in the USA, UK or any other English speaking nation, Indians are not exposed to English as much. The primary language of communication here is the mother tongue or the regional language.
They are so comfortable using this that they lack the knowledge and even if they have the knowledge, they avoid using the English language in their everyday conversations.
Use of Idioms
Idioms and their use in day to day conversations come only with knowledge and ease of using the language. Even an Indian who has good knowledge of the language and is fluent in it is not able to use idioms because he/ she is not habituated to using these idioms in everyday conversations.
This becomes a major hindrance in the IELTS speaking task because the use of idioms is an important parameter for scoring in this skill.
Influence of Mother Tongue
The children in India grow up listening to their mother tongue. It becomes their first language naturally because it is the first language they hear.
This interferes with them even if they start learning English or have a good hold over the English language because their thought process happens in their mother tongue and even when they are reading, writing, listening or speaking in English, they will always try to translate it to their mother tongue and then understand or analyze it.
Because of the lack of exposure and limited knowledge, the vocabulary range of Indians in the English language is limited too. The kind of words used and the range of vocabulary used in the IELTS speaking plays a major role.
Indians have a habit of writing a language in the way that it is spoken and vice versa. The English language, in particular, has a different context and meaning with each tense and punctuation mark. This can only be mastered with practice and ease of usage.
As Indians are not exposed to the language they lack the grammatical know-how too. This too, therefore, becomes a struggling area for them in the IELTS speaking.
How to Overcome the Struggles?
Now that we have seen the problems let us also learn how to get rid of these problems via the following solutions:
Think in English
When you think in English you will be able to construct your sentences better and your fluency will improve too. So make this a habit and your fluency issues are sure to get curbed.
Use English in Daily Conversations
Talk in English to everyone and anyone possible. You can even ask them to give you feedback and correct your mistakes. This will help increase your confidence and will make you habituated to speaking in the English language as well.
Read as much as Possible
Reading will not only help improve your knowledge but it will improve your vocabulary and fluency as well. Your fluency will improve because you will read the text in your mind and your vocabulary will improve because you will come across a lot of new words and phrases.
Enhance Your Vocabulary
Take up activities like word of the day, phrase of the day and so on. Try to use these in your conversations. This will help you amass knowledge on the same and will also help you recall these appropriate words and phrases when you actually sit for the IELTS speaking task.
Teaching others will not only help increase your confidence but will also ensure that it remains in your memory. So do this activity regularly too.
How to Enhance Your Score for Speaking Test?
When you take the IELTS Speaking test, your examiner is more than likely to have a better command of the English language than you do. As a result, practising with someone who speaks English at a higher level is a great idea. This will allow you to put your speaking skills to the test.
Just make sure you’re not paired with someone whose English proficiency is significantly higher than yours, as this can lead to discouragement and self-doubt.
It’s a Conversation, Not Questionnaire
Although the Speaking test is described by IELTS as a conversation between you and the examiner, this is not the case. Another way to look at it is that you are the interviewee. The examiner’s job is to ask you a question and listen carefully to your response.
Think of it as a Story
Consider the following scenario: When you’re taking the IELTS Speaking test, you’re asked, “What musical instrument do you enjoy playing?” The problem is that you don’t know how to play a musical instrument! How can you speak about something you’ve never done before?
While it’s beneficial to draw on your own experiences in your response, there’s no requirement that you tell the truth. You’re simply being asked to use language to tell a story. Make something up and use complex vocabulary and grammar in the process.
Your Knowledge is Not Being Tested
The fact that you won’t know the topics ahead of time is one of the most difficult aspects of the IELTS Speaking test. While it is true that you can prepare for common topics, you will not know the exact questions until you hear them from your examiner.
There’s a chance you’ll be asked a question about something you don’t know much about or have no experience with. While this isn’t a pleasant situation to be in, the good news is that what you know about a particular topic has little bearing on your IELTS Speaking score.
Examiners are more concerned with how you respond to a question than with what you know. Why? Because it demonstrates that you are resourceful and can come up with an answer even if you are unfamiliar with the subject.
Don’t Use Flowery Language
This point builds on the previous one about how important it is to speak clearly during the test. Even if you know everything there is to know about a topic, if you only use simple language in your answer, you will not receive a high score.
In general, the more abstract nouns and ideas you use in your answer, the better your chances of getting a high score are. Examiners expect you to use sophisticated vocabulary, so use it!
English is a global language. It is highly unlikely that the situation will change in a globalised economy in the future. Being proficient in the language must, therefore, be looked upon as a necessary skill not only for achieving a good IELTS band and creating a good career path for yourself but also as a skill that will help you progress in the future as well.