Friday, 8 July 2022

Spoken English – Stress Timing: Saying every word clearly leads to poor spoken English! Good speech comes from stressing the right words – this is because English is a time-stressed language. Here's how: Spoken English focuses on specific stressed words while moving quickly over the other, non-stressed, words. Stressed words are usually important information words: nouns e.g. kitchen, Peter, verbs e.g. visit, stand, adjectives e.g. beautiful, interesting, adverbs e.g. often, carefully. Non-stressed words are usually grammar words: e.g. the, a, am, were, before, of, but, they, she. Read the following sentence aloud: The beautiful mountain stood alone in the distance. Read the following sentence aloud: He can come on Sunday if he doesn't have to do any homework in the evening. Even though the second sentence is approximately 30% longer than the first, the sentences take the same time to speak. This is because there are five stressed words in each sentence. Stressed words are spoken with a higher pitch and more slowly than non-stressed words. The vowel sounds in non-stressed words often change to /ə/. Listen to the vowel sound in "can" in "He can come on Sunday ...". Compare the vowel sound in "man" with "postman". When listening to native speakers, focus on how those speakers stress certain words and begin to copy this.
Image: Fragment, Grecian, Wikiart creative commons

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

How do IELTS examiners evaluate your Speaking?

Do you know the four criteria that examiners use for the IELTS Speaking Test?

They are Fluency and Coherence, Lexical Resource, Grammatical Range and Accuracy and Pronunciation.

For more details, go to
or ask your IELTS preparation teacher to explain.

With thanks to The British Council
Painting by Édouard Manet

Thursday, 13 May 2021

Friday, 7 May 2021

What happens in the IELTS Speaking Test?

The official IELTS website, , has published recordings and transcripts of a sample IELTS speaking test at .

Checking the information on this page is highly recommended if you're planning to take the IELTS test. The series of interviews published by IELTS Official is also extremely helpful. Here's a link to an interview with a speaaker at Band 7 level:
Painting: L"Art de la Conversation by Rene Magritte

How long does it take to become fluent in English?

Many, many students have asked their teachers how long it will take to master English. Many, many teachers have answered, "It depends on several factors...". A new BBC Channel 4 documentary - Why Don't You Speak English? - explores this topic, looking at four immigrants who have struggled with English since arriving in the UK a year ago. "Age is the most important factor in language acquisition, says Mila Vulchanova, professor of linguistics at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. "There is a sensitive period in language learning, which is biologically determined, with an onset at birth and a decline around puberty. So the younger the immigrant, the better. Since this decline is only gradual, teenagers are at an advantage over adults." Would you like more details? Read the rest of the article at"> .

Thursday, 6 May 2021

What NOT to do before or after the IELTS Speaking test

What you should NOT do before or after the IELTS Speaking Test Don’t give information about yourself before the test starts. The examiner will ask for your name and ID when ready. Don’t try to “chat” with the examiner before or after the test starts. Don’t compliment the examiner on the way they look (or the clarity of their speech, or anything else). Don’t tell the examiner about previous test attempts or results. Don’t ask the examiner your result after the test. Doing any of the above will not have a negative effect on your result but it won’t affect it positively, either!
Painting, "The Scream" by Edvard Munch #IELTS #speaking #test #tips

Monday, 17 April 2017

What are the benefits of learning other languages?

Learning other languages brings many benefits, such as helping open our minds to other ways of thinking.

Here is an excellent article with short video which explains the importance of exploring other languages and cultures. (Click on the link below to view the article and video.)

Can you suggest any more reasons for learning other languages?

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Friday, 11 November 2016

What do you see in the sky?

Is the dove of peace flying above the trees?

Today is November 11th, or Remembrance Day, when we remember all who have died in wars.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

A great opportunity! Free 5-week online course for IELTS preparation

A great opportunity! Register for a free 5-week online course from the experts who produce the test here at Cambridge English. The course involves 3 hours' work a week and learners can take part in their spare time.

Inside IELTS: Preparing for the Test with the Experts will give test takers a clearer idea of what and how to study, both to prepare for the IELTS test and to develop their academic English skills.

It is especially useful for learners who want to take IELTS Academic and go to university.

Over the 5-week course, participants will find out:
what skills are important for success in the IELTS Academic test
how IELTS examiners assess their level
what they need to do in order to improve their IELTS band score.

Participants can interact with experts and with other learners from around the world, and will also have the chance to try authentic IELTS practice tasks.

Monday, 27 June 2016

What's your favourite colour?

What's your favourite colour?

My favourite colour is green. I especially like emerald green and some bluish-greens like aquamarine. I've always loved green, in all its shades. Green is vibrant and represents life.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Free resource from Cambridge English: Learn, use & remember vocab for IELTS or academic study

A free resource from Cambridge English: Learn, use and remember vocabulary for your IELTS test or academic study on your computer, tablet or smartphone.

Improve your English through short, frequent activities every day.

Take a look!