colleagues (2 syllables: /kɒliːgz/) – the people we work with
Whoever you are, and wherever you are, you’re extremely unlikely to go out with your colleges! What you mean is:
I’m very busy during the week, but at weekends I go out with my colleagues.
But even here there’s a problem. English native speakers are unlikely to refer to the people they study with as colleagues. If the context is education, then a native speaker is more likely to use the following:
I go out with my classmates.
I go out with people from my class.
I go out with fellow students.
If you go out with colleagues, you are going out with the people you work with, and not the people you study with! If you are hanging out with college colleagues then you are probably a teacher or professor hanging out with fellow teachers or professors!
Note! I’m still working on the algorithm and I’d very much appreciate your feedback on how it’s working so far!
Indonesian students are used to separating – when they speak Indonesian – every single syllable, and therefore every single word, so that the boundaries between words are always easy to identify. Unfortunately, native English speakers try where possible to join words together in speech, making the boundaries between words less obvious.
Indonesians are aware that they can still communicate well in English without linking words the way English native speakers do. However, forcing yourself to link words has at least two important advantages:
Identifying word boundaries (when listening) becomes much easier if you are able to produce – in speaking – word boundaries!
Linking – or connecting – words gets you a higher score for pronunciation in IELTS Speaking!
‘Trump’ is a little bit tricky for Indonesians for two reasons:
It contains the phoneme /ʌ/, which is extremely rare in Bahasa Indonesia.
It ends with a ‘consonant cluster’ (/mp/) – also rare in Bahasa Indonesia.
Indonesians will use sounds that are close enough for the sake of communication, and when they say ‘Donald Tram’, we know they mean ‘Donald Trump’. But if you’re taking IELTS you can easily score points for pronunciation by producing the correct sounds:
The phoneme /ʌ/ is very common in spoken English: up, under, mother, thorough, etc.
Finding spoken examples of ‘Trump‘ should be easy – just switch on CNN! (And remember to switch on your ears, too!)
Customer: Hi. I’ve come to collect one of the free iPhones.
Shopkeeper: Sorry, we told you to come on Tuesday. Today is Thursday. The phones are all taken!
Indonesians (and maybe you, too?) find it difficult to hear the difference between ‘Tuesday’ and ‘Thursday’ as spoken by native speakers. That’s because Indonesians do not say these words very well, and if you cannot say it clearly then you cannot hear it clearly.
‘Tuesday’ is easy
‘Choose’ + ‘Day’ = Chooseday = Tuesday
‘Thursday’ is more challenging
Try saying ‘Sir’, but change the ‘s’ sound by pressing your tongue against the back of your upper teeth. Keep your tongue pressed against your teeth and just try to blow air between your tongue and your teeth. Keep your tongue in position so that it almost – but not quite – stops the air from getting out.
As you blow air past your teeth, try not to make any sound in your throat, like when the doctor asks you to say ‘Aaaaaaaaa’. Don’t do that – just blow!
You should be able to blow out for several seconds, and so you should be able to make a ‘th’ sound for several seconds.
Now add ‘Th’ to ‘Sir’, substituting ‘Th’ for ‘S’ (= ‘Thir!’). And then, as you say ‘ir’, you can add sound in your throat:
‘Th…….’ (lots of breath, no throat sound)… + ‘ir’ (less breath, added throat sound )…
Finally you can complete the word with ‘..sday’:
‘Th……….’ + ‘ir…..’ + ‘sday’
Now listen to two students and a teacher pronouncing the words Tuesday and Thursday!
Indonesians hate to add ‘s‘ to plurals, possessives and third person verbs. In Bahasa Indonesia these grammatical features are produced in other ways.
It’s also extremely unusual in Bahasa Indonesia to see two or more consonants together, which is often what happens when you add ‘s’ to the end of a word:
Mike’s (possessive, 2 consonants together)
expands (third person, 3 consonants together)
texts (plural, 4 consonants together!)
Pronouncing this final ‘s‘ is difficult for Indonesians and for some reason embarrassing, rather like when English people attempt to pronounce the French ‘r‘.
But if you want to communicate well, and if you want a good score for pronunciation in IELTS speaking, then you had better start producing the ‘s’ at word endings!
In this video, former student George does his best to put ‘s‘ in all the right places. I’ve added a scoring feature to help you follow his ‘performance’!
A good way to practice ‘s‘ is to record yourself, and then listen back following a tapescript. Focus on the ‘s‘ in particular. Exaggerate it. Make it longer and louder. In the IELTS test make sure the examiner can hear it!