Video: The Core Components that Make your Speech Sound More Natural

Julia Vasileva TOEFL: About Private Lessons, TOEFL: Advice for Studying Comments

A high TOEFL speaking score means that you sound almost like a native speaker, your accent is clear, and your speech is smooth and flowing.

In this video, our teacher Sherlen Tanner explains some of the key elements needed to make your accent sound more natural. You’ll learn about the most common speaking mistakes TOEFL students make and the ways Sherlen helps her students develop native English pronunciation to achieve a speaking score of 26.

My name is Sherlen Tanner and I’m a TOEFL iBT teacher. Many of my students need a speaking score of 26. Some of them took the TOEFL iBT test maybe 10 times and still weren’t able to get the required speaking scores before coming to work with me. Naturally, they all feel very upset and frustrated. I wanted to make this video to share some tips about how to get prepared for a speaking score of 26 so the struggle and frustration end once and for all.

First, I ask my students to record the 6 speaking tasks. I listen to the recordings many times and diagnose the problems that prevent them from getting high scores in speaking. I see that most of the second language learners are not aware of the components of the natural speech: stress patterns, intonation, linking and weak sounds. Their intonation patterns don’t have the natural English language rhythm. They all try articulating every sound of every word separately, pausing and waiting between each word. This is a very common mistake and a major issue among TOEFL iBT students.

As a result, they all sound very unnatural and their speeches don’t flow naturally and smoothly with the rhythm of English, making it hard to understand and creating problems for the listeners.

My students work hard for weeks doing homework and assignments I give them with TOEFL style sentences and tasks. I create a very systematic and customized approach with consistent practice, feedback for each of my students. First, they start to notice the patterns, linking sounds and weak sounds in the listening audios by hearing how native speakers really speak. Then, we practice 6 speaking tasks with the right intonation, stress patterns, linking and weak sounds. With consistent practice and feedback every single day, they start to sound more natural and clear as the days go by. Feelings of frustration and sadness transform into more confidence and joy in speaking the English language. Remember, if you want to guarantee a high speaking score, you must sound almost like a native and speak naturally and clearly.

Click here to learn more about lessons with Sherlen

Note: Sherlen is available evenings (EST) and weekends for private lessons. For coordinated lesson packages, please apply here.