Listen to this post: What Pronunciation Goals Should You Set Before Taking the TOEFL iBT
Before taking the TOEFL iBT, you should set some goals regarding your speaking and pronunciation abilities. Consider the following pronunciation proficiency continuum, a scale indicating your intelligibility or proficiency as a non-native speaker of English. The closer your score is to six, the closer you are to sounding like a native speaker and the better chance you have of scoring high on the TOEFL iBT. Before taking the TOEFL iBT, you should determine where you are on the scale and where you want to be before taking the TOEFL iBT. You may not be able to achieve near native pronunciation for the following reasons:
- It may not be desirable. Your accent is important because it identifies you with your native language and culture.
- It may not be necessary. You can speak American English and be fully understood, yet still retain aspects of your accent.
- It may not be possible. Most adult learners have great difficulty eliminating all traces of accent.
- A good goal is to score 4.0 on the scale. A great goal is to score 5.0 on the scale. Included below is an explanation of the pronunciation proficiency continuum:
Pronunciation Proficiency Continuum
6 Has barely detectable accent; pronunciation is almost like that of a native speaker; rare isolated mispronunciations, but no evident patterns of error.
5 Has obvious accent and pronunciation variations, but these do not interfere with understanding and rarely distract the listener.
4 Is intelligible to most native speakers; accent and pronunciation variations are somewhat distracting to the listener but usually do not prevent understanding.
3 Is somewhat intelligible to native speakers who are accustomed to conversing with non-native speakers; frequent pronunciation variations distract the listener and also prevent understanding.
2 Is very difficult for listener to understand, even one accustomed to conversing with non-native speakers; constant repetition needed.
1 Has minimal pronunciation proficiency; listener understands only occasional words.
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