How to Improve Your Political English Speaking Skills

When discussing politics in English, pronunciation plays a key role in being able to be understood and leaving a positive impression with your conversation partner. If you have felt frustrated because you could not pronounce important English political terms correctly, then this pronunciation guide should help! By improving your pronunciation, you'll be able to be understood more clearly by native English speakers.

Study the pronunciation examples and exercises below. For extra practice, pronounce the words clearly, record yourself and listen to the recording to track your improvement.

Policy wonk — A person who takes an excessive interest in politics.

Pronunciation: [pol-uh-see]

Example: Washington, D.C. is full of policy wonks.

Language Specific Tips:

Gerrymandering — The manipulation of the boundaries of voting districts to favor one party.

Pronunciation: [jer-i-man-der, ger-]

Example: Gerrymandering is a strategy that is widely used to influence the outcome of elections.

Language Tips:

Caucus — The meeting of a legislative body consisting of the members of a particular political party to select a candidate or to decide policy

Pronunciation: [kaw-kuh s]

Example: The Democratic caucus is meeting this afternoon to select the party nominee.

Filibuster — abnormal or obtrusive tactics used by a legislative assembly member to block or force a decision against the majority will, typically delivered in the form of a speech.

Pronunciation: [fil-uh-buhs-ter]

Example 1: The senator read from the NYC yellow pages to filibuster the bill. Example 2: Her filibuster went long through dinnertime.

Hierarchy — A system of persons or things that are ranked one above the other.

Pronunciation: [hahy-uh-rahr-kee, hahy-rahr-]

Example: The junior senator had a hard time getting used to the hierarchy in the senate.

Language Tips:

Cloture — The only procedure by which the Senate can vote to place a time limit on consideration of a bill or other matter, and thereby overcome a filibuster. Under the cloture rule (Rule XXII), the Senate may limit consideration of a pending matter to 30 additional hours, but only by vote of three-fifths of the full Senate, normally 60 votes.

Pronunciation: [kloh-cher]

Example: The cloture procedure failed each time it was introduced over the last 10 years.

Partisan — Noun: Identifies someone as a supporter of a cause, group or political party who shows biased and emotional allegiance. Verb: defines a person as partial to a specific cause, person, or political party.

Pronunciation: [pahr-tuh-zuh n, -suh n; British pahr-tuh-zan]

Example: Partisan politics have made American politics very difficult.

Language Tips:

Veto — Noun: A constitutional right to reject a decision made by a legislative body. Verb: The act of rejecting a decision made by a legislative body.

Pronunciation: [vee-toh]

Example: The president vetoed the bill.

Language Tips:

  • Spanish and Russian Speakers: Pay attention to the pronunciation of the letter /v/. Place your upper teeth on your lower lip, produce the sound /v/. It should tickle a bit. Learn more about how to pronounce /v/.

Demagogue — A political leader who uses popular prejudice to appeal to the masses and gain power.

Pronunciation: [dem-uh-gog, -gawg]

Example: The demagogue surrounded himself with yes men and quietly suppressed those who were against him.

Language Tips:

  • Chinese speakers: see "gerrymandering" above.

Demagoguery — The practices and methods of a demagogue.

Pronunciation: [dem-uh-gog-uh-ree, -gaw-guh-]

Example: Demagoguery is common in authoritarian rulers.

Hegemony — social, cultural, ideological, economic and political influence exerted by one group over others.

Pronunciation: [hi-jem-uh-nee, hej-uh-moh-nee]

Example: The political hegemony of the elite has been questioned by multiple people.

Language Tips:

Plutocracy — Government that is ruled by the wealthy.

Pronunciation: [ploo-tok-ruh-see]

Example: Some countries are plutocracies.

Language Tips:

Nepotism — The practice among those in power to give important positions to their friends and family.

Pronunciation: [nep-uh-tiz-uh m]

Example: Nepotism is a serious issue in some countries.

Language Tips:

Kleptocracy — A government consisting of corrupt rulers that use their power to exploit their country to increase their personal wealth.

Pronunciation: [klep-tok-ruh-see]

Example: Some countries are kleptocracies.

Fascism — Nationalistic and authoritarian right-wing system of government and social organization.

Pronunciation: [fash-iz-uh m]

Example: Fascism is a certain type of rule and government.

By pronouncing these English words correctly in political English conversations, you’ll get better at bringing your point across. Practice these on your own with the exercises and videos, and you’ll quickly improve your English pronunciation!

And what about you? Are there any words you find hard to pronounce? Send me an email!

Marike Korn