Tarbet-Telfer Language & Accent Benchmarks

The Tarbet-Telfer Language & Accent Benchmarks are a series of qualifications which demonstrate competence in the pronunciation of foreign languages and in accents of English. They provide proof that a language student or actor has reached a specific level of mastery. For each language or accent, there are four benchmarks:

  • Sounds and Symbols
  • Articulation and Intonation
  • Rhythm and Variants
  • Performance

These four benchmarks are currently offered in two accents of English, RP ('Received Pronunciation') and General American.

To achieve a benchmark, the student needs to pass an examination, which also gives a certificate. The pass mark is 65percent, and the mark for 'with merit' is 80percent. You must have the 'Sounds and Symbols' certificate for a given language or accent before you can sit any other benchmark in that language or accent, and you need to have all the other certificates in the language or accent before you can attempt the 'Performance' benchmark. Candidates can attempt any benchmark as many times as they wish, with no upper or lower limit on the time elapsed since their last test. Testing for the certificate is at the moment free, but charges will be introduced later.

Benchmarks are open to all comers, whether private or at an institution, and whether taught or not.

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