IELTS Practice

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Sample Transcript and Language Analysis

Let’s look at Part 2 of Cynthia’s practice speaking test. She was asked to describe an interesting city that she had visited. She had to say:

and explain why she found it so interesting.

Transcript

Cynthia: Um, ok, the, the place where I was, er, last week was Dubai and I was there because I was visiting my best friend, so what I really like about Dubai was the fact that I was there visiting my friend and I found it very, a very great place, er, it’s not so far from Spain, first of all and erm, it has many contrasts, Dubai, because you have a lot of poor people, lot of er, rich people, there is no middle class there and the places you go it’s (bueno) it’s the typical Dubai places with too much gold and (bueno) much glamour and um, on the other hand you have the typical er places er it remind me Pakistan - I lived in Pakistan a couple of years of my life when I was young - it remind me Pakistan or Sri Lanka or (bueno) there are a lot of people from there, because I think in Dubai you have er 85% of the people living there are immigrants and you have a lot of people from Pakistan, from Sri Lanka, from Philippines. Erm, I think they need so much immigrants to build a city, that’s what they are doing there. One, one thing that it’s not, (bueno) I found it a problem, er, in Dubai was the fact that, there’s a lot, there are a lot of cranes everywhere so there are no buses, there are no er, subways, so you have to take the car for everything, going to the supermarket, taking the kids to school, erm, going to, to, to work so there are a lot of traffic everywhere. You can maybe, not so, so, so far away, but you spend one, an hour in a, in a car.

Examiner: Ok, thank you. Do you expect to go there again?

Cynthia: I hope so. I hope so. Now she will come to Spain and I, I hope to go again.

Analysis

Although Cynthia’s answer was very fluent and sounded very natural, there were four examples where she used the word ‘bueno’. This is from her 1st language, Spanish, meaning ‘well’.

The times when she used ‘bueno’ were when she paused for thought, which is of course a natural part of speech. It’s almost like an automatic utterance which, interestingly, Cynthia was completely unaware of using until she heard the recording.

So, in order to avoid using 1st language ‘fillers’ you need to learn some useful equivalents in English that you can also use readily and easily.

First, let’s look at the 4 instances where Cynthia used ‘bueno’ and replace them with ‘well’.

  1. there is no middle class there and the places you go it’s (well) it’s the typical Dubai places
  2. it’s the typical Dubai places with too much gold and (well) much glamour
  3. it remind me Pakistan or Sri Lanka or (well) there are a lot of people from there
  4. One, one thing that it’s not, (well) I found it a problem, er, in Dubai was the fact that, there’s a lot, there are a lot of cranes everywhere

This works ok, and would certainly be preferable to using ‘bueno’ but we could use other phrases instead of, or in conjunction with, ‘well’ to show a better command of English.

For example;

  1. there is no middle class there and the places you go it’s, (well) come to think of it, it’s the typical Dubai places
  2. it’s the typical Dubai places with too much gold and (well) you know, much glamour
  3. it remind me Pakistan or Sri Lanka or … (well) actually, there are a lot of people from there
  4. One, one thing that it’s not … (well) to be honest, I found it a problem, er, in Dubai was the fact that, there’s a lot, there are a lot of cranes everywhere

*In each case, ‘well’ is optional but you will often hear it used before a phrase like this.

We call these phrases ‘narrative linkers’ because they are used when we are telling a story or an anecdote.

They are also very useful in Part 2 of the IELTS Speaking Test when you have to speak on your own for 1-2 minutes.

Sample Exercises

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