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  • Well hello! I'm Emma from mmmEnglish!

  • Now I have to admit that I'm a huge fan of adjectives.

  • I mean, I probably overuse adjectives

  • if I'm being completely honest with you,

  • but they are such a beautiful part of any language.

  • They allow you to go into detail, to add colour, flavour

  • and personality to all of your thoughts and your ideas.

  • One of the most noticeable differences between

  • intermediate level English speakers and advanced ones

  • is their use of adjectives.

  • Because yes, you can add meaning to your sentences

  • by using simple adjectives

  • like 'happy' or 'sad' or 'nice' or 'bored'

  • but life can be so much more

  • spectacular than that, can't it?

  • Your English can be much more colourful than that,

  • right?

  • Using a wider range of adjectives will help you to

  • be more expressive, to show emotions and feelings

  • and to sound more interesting when you use English.

  • So if you need to refresh your memory about

  • how to use adjectives in English sentences,

  • then check out that lesson up there.

  • But right now, I've got ten adjectives for you

  • and I've specifically chosen them

  • because they're adjectives that English learners

  • often mispronounce.

  • They're all a little tricky.

  • There's a few silent letters, some strange vowel sounds,

  • different pronunciation of the same letter

  • in the same word.

  • But don't worry!

  • By the end of this lesson, you're going to have

  • all of these adjectives completely down!

  • You're going to be saying them much more confidently

  • and more often.

  • Let's start with...

  • Now if you haven't heard this word pronounced before,

  • it looks a little tricky.

  • There's two C's and two S's.

  • Of course, you know that in English, a C can sometimes

  • be pronounced in the same way as an S.

  • Many of my students,

  • they look at this word and take a guess and say

  • "sussessful"

  • which is a nice try, I can see why

  • you would pronounce it that way but actually,

  • each C in this word is pronounced differently

  • and that's made clear

  • when you look at the phonemic script.

  • The first C is pronounced as a /k/ sound

  • at the end of the first syllable

  • and the second C is pronounced as a

  • /s/ sound at the start of the second syllable.

  • Now the second syllable is the stressed

  • syllable in this word and that's why you hear it

  • pronounced more strongly

  • while the first syllable is short and lower in pitch.

  • The final syllable is also unstressed.

  • Successful.

  • The pronunciation is the same

  • throughout the word family. Success, successful,

  • successfully.

  • And as frustrating as it is, that the same letter

  • is pronounced differently in the same word,

  • just accept it, practise it, remember it.

  • Successful.

  • So 'successful' is used when someone achieves

  • the result that they want.

  • They're really happy and they're satisfied with the result.

  • He's a successful businessman.

  • We've had quite a successful year so far.

  • Anxious. Are you anxious looking at this one?

  • It's a little tricky!

  • There are three consonant sounds here together

  • which makes it quite challenging.

  • In the first syllable, the stressed syllable,

  • the strong vowel sound A

  • is followed by the /ŋ/ consonant.

  • And that consonant sound is usually made by the letters

  • -ng like in 'song'.

  • So my mouth is open slightly when I make this sound

  • and the back of my tongue is right up at the soft palate

  • in the back of my mouth.

  • For the second syllable, you'll hear the /k/

  • and the /ʃ/ consonant sounds.

  • So you're pushing that air through your mouth

  • to make the sound /kʃ/

  • Make sure you exaggerate this sound

  • while you're practising.

  • Pretend you're like a superhero fighting a monster.

  • And the following vowel sound will be unstressed,

  • the weak schwa sound /ə/

  • Anxious.

  • So this adjective is usually used to describe a person

  • and it's to do with their emotions or their feelings.

  • An anxious person is worried or nervous because

  • they think that something bad might happen.

  • I'm feeling really anxious about my interview tomorrow.

  • My friend doesn't like flying so he's always

  • quite anxious when we go travelling.

  • Valuable.

  • Over the years as an English teacher,

  • I've heard this word pronounced in several

  • different ways and all of the problems coming from

  • those two vowel letters in the middle.

  • The first common mistake is assuming that there are

  • four syllables but there's not, there's only three.

  • And the first syllable 'val' is the stressed syllable

  • the strongest one.

  • But the second syllable is quite tricky.

  • There's an extra consonant sound added,

  • one that you can't see in the written word.

  • Valuable.

  • So this adjective is really handy to know

  • because it can be used in a few different ways.

  • Now you often hear this adjective used for things like

  • jewellery or houses or cars

  • to tell that something is expensive

  • or worth a lot of money.

  • My grandmother gave me her sapphire brooch.

  • I think it's quite valuable, though I'd never sell it.

  • It's quite valuable.

  • But this is also an excellent adjective to describe

  • a person's qualities

  • and often used in a professional context.

  • So 'valuable' can not necessarily be about money

  • but about how important or useful someone is.

  • James is a really valuable member of our team.

  • That's a valuable piece of advice. Thanks.

  • Exponential.

  • Now most of the pronunciation problems with this

  • adjective relate to syllable stress.

  • There are four syllables.

  • The third is the strongest,

  • though the first one is also stressed.

  • The remaining two syllables are unstressed

  • so they reduce down, they become the schwa sound

  • which is always short and low in pitch.

  • Can you hear how the two weaker syllables

  • fade into the background?

  • Exponential.

  • This adjective is used when something is increasing

  • or growing really quickly.

  • The company has experienced exponential growth

  • over the last two years.

  • The renewable energy market is growing

  • at an exponential rate.

  • Complex. Now in standard British English,

  • there's just one way to pronounce this word

  • with the stress on the first syllable.

  • Complex.

  • In American English, there is a difference between

  • the adjective 'complex'

  • and the noun 'complex'.

  • But the real pronunciation challenge here

  • is the cluster of consonants that are pronounced

  • at the end.

  • The letter X usually produces a sound that has

  • two consonant sounds pushed together,

  • /k/ and /s/

  • which is what makes this sound difficult.

  • Two consonants together is tough.

  • The sound is produced right at the back of the throat

  • while the sound is made with the tongue and the teeth

  • at the front of the mouth.

  • So really, creating this sound successfully is about

  • switching between these two these sounds smoothly.

  • So this adjective is used to describe something

  • that consists of many different and connected parts

  • that makes it quite difficult to understand or manage.

  • It's a complex issue but we need to find a solution.

  • The relationship between the general manager

  • and the marketing team is quite complex .

  • They've never really seen eye-to-eye.

  • Rural.

  • The /r/ and the /l/

  • sounds in this word make it a real challenge

  • but there's actually a little variation

  • between English accents for this word

  • which is really common.

  • Officially, the correct pronunciation is 'rural' with a /ʊə/

  • vowel sound as the stressed syllable.

  • But I want to share a little tip with you because

  • in Australia, our pronunciation of this word is

  • much more relaxed.

  • So if you're having trouble pronouncing this word,

  • put on an Australian accent and say 'rural'.

  • You can use this adjective to describe characteristics

  • of the countryside rather than the city.

  • So usually it's

  • farming land or a small village in the country.

  • So the opposite of rural is 'urban'

  • which is characteristic of cities and towns.

  • The government will help rural communities

  • affected by the floods.

  • People are moving to rural areas

  • to live healthier lifestyles.

  • It's a bit of a tongue twister, isn't it?

  • Rural areas.

  • Specific.

  • The stress is on the middle syllable here and there are

  • two things to pay attention to with this word.

  • One is the consonant cluster at the start of the word.

  • The consonant sounds

  • /s/ and /p/ together.

  • So if you're having some trouble with this,

  • we're going to go to the gym for a minute

  • and do a little workout.

  • Practising pronunciation is just like training at the gym.

  • We just need to train your muscles in your mouth to be

  • more comfortable doing something a little different.

  • /s/ and /p/ are both unvoiced consonant sounds

  • and the sound is made by pushing air

  • through your mouth.

  • So I want you to slowly bring these sounds together.

  • Now are you ready for your workout?

  • Take a deep breath and move back and forth

  • between these sounds really quickly, ready?

  • If these consonant sounds are too difficult

  • for you to pronounce, you need to do this workout daily.

  • Now the second challenge with this word is

  • the final consonant sound - the consonant at the end.

  • Make sure that you finish this word

  • on the consonant sound.

  • Don't get lazy and forget it. It's not 'specifi'

  • It's 'specific'.

  • And you can use it to explain that something is really

  • exact or detailed.

  • There are some general issues

  • that I need to discuss with you

  • but there's one specific issue that's quite urgent.

  • If you have any specific questions about

  • the accommodation, then please ask Sarah.

  • Mischievous.

  • There are a lot of vowel letters in this word

  • which makes it a little confusing to work out

  • how to pronounce each syllable

  • and which one is stressed.

  • The first syllable is the strongest, the others relax.

  • For some reason this word is one

  • that native English speakers

  • sometimes get wrong as well. You might hear people

  • say 'mischievous' with four syllables

  • but that's incorrect. There are only three syllables here

  • and the stress is on the first syllable /ˈmɪs/

  • which means the second syllable reduces a little,

  • the vowel sound is short and fast.

  • There's also two difficult consonant sounds here 'ch' and /v/

  • So with both of these consonant sounds,

  • your lip position is really important

  • so I want you to exaggerate the position of your mouth

  • while you're practising with me just to make sure

  • that you're pronouncing and your producing

  • the correct sound.

  • So for 'ch', see how my lips are really flared, exaggerated,

  • and this sound is controlled by my tongue

  • in a similar way to the /t/ sound.

  • The tip of my tongue.

  • But also my tongue is tense all the way

  • along the sides here.

  • And they're pushed up against the inside of my top teeth

  • so we move through tʃɪ/

  • through the unstressed vowel sound to /v/