Basic guidance on pronunciation:
- Does pronunciation frequently interfere with understanding?
This may indicate a tendency towards a level 3 in this area.
- Does the first language influence sometimes interfere with understanding?
This may indicate a level 4 in this area.
- Does the first language rarely interfere with understanding?
This may indicate a level 5 in this area.
- Is there no interference with understanding despite influence of first language?
This may indicate a level 6 in this area.
Assessors are not judging pronunciation with reference to native speaker norms; ICAO doc 9835 specifically points out that “speakers whose speech patterns clearly identify them as non-native speakers (having a so-called ‘accent’) may demonstrate Expert Level 6 proficiency as long as this meets the criterion of ‘almost never’ interfering with ease of understanding”. Indeed, in an international English context, some authentic native speaker pronunciation may in fact inhibit communication to such an extent that a level 6 may not be awarded in this category.
Assessors having a high level of understanding and experience of the candidate’s native language should be alert to the possibility of being influenced by their greater ease of understanding.