In this lesson we will keep it simple and just practice listening to several common English words, used in everyday conversation. Although the lesson focuses on 3-4 words, their meaning and spelling, you are really listening to 1,500+ English words spoken by a native English speaker.
Although this lesson may appear simple, it is much more than the topic, it’s an opportunity to practice listening to everyday English. Where you will hear hundreds of words, you will practice listening to an English accent, acquiring sentence structure and grammar.
With repeat listening you will store what you hear in your longer term memory, ready for automatic recall. Listening to learn English, speak fluently more quickly.
If you have an idea for a podcast, we are always listening. You can comment on our YouTube channel or email us we are always interested in what you have to say.
Handbrake Cern Pedicure Homophone
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Hi there and welcome to this latest podcast from Adept English. Use listening to learn English, speak fluently more quickly.
How about today we cover some useful vocabulary, some words which you’ll definitely use, once you’re speaking English fluently? Adept English is here to help you in that stage of learning English, when you’ve done your basic English learning, but it’s a struggle, it’s difficult to become fluent. Being fluent in English means that you need to do lots of listening and understanding spoken English – much more than is possible in a classroom-based course.
So we are here, providing you with that listening material, lots of it, so that you can increase your vocabulary and your understanding naturally, in a similar way to how you learned your own language. If you would like to go further and go faster than with the podcasts, then buy our Course One Activate Your Listening. This course will give you hours of listening material in English – and it will challenge your understanding with English conversation and different voices.
We’re sure that if you work through Course One Activate Your Listening, your English will be noticeably better as a result. Visit our courses page at adeptenglish.com – you can buy the course and start immediately, no delay. How to speak English well? Our Listen & Learn strategy is the key.
What about some vocabulary today that is associated with driving? Cars come in two types – what we in the UK call ‘manual’ and ‘automatic’ – or if you want the US terminology, what we call ‘manual’, they call ‘stick shift’. The difference is that in an automatic car, the gear changes are done for you, whereas in a manual or a ‘stick shift’ vehicle, you change gear yourself.
And the word ‘gear’ is a noun, G-E-A-R – and it refers to the mechanism which helps you manage the car’s engine and the car’s speed. You have gears on a bike – and there it’s quite obvious – there are different sized cogs, which determine how fast or how slowly you pedal. It’s essential to have a low gear for going up hill and a higher gear for when you’re going fast on a level or going downhill. And of course cars are no different – they have gears which work in a similar way. You just can’t see them.
So I mentioned the word ‘pedal’ there, P-E-D-A-L. On a bike, ‘pedal’ can be used as a noun – it’s the part where you put your feet, so that you can push the bike forward as you ride it. And there’s a verb ‘to pedal’ which is the action of moving the pedals, so that you can go forward. So you wouldn’t ‘pedal’ a car, but a car does have pedals as a noun.
Words beginning with ‘ped-’, P-E-D like this come from the Latin ‘pes, pedis’ a foot – like the word in English ‘pedestrian’, P-E-D-E-S-T-R-I-A-N to mean ‘a person on foot’. Or if you have a pedicure, that’s a foot treatment as opposed to a manicure which is for your hands.
So in a car, if it’s an automatic, you have two pedals and if it’s a manual or a
stick shift, then you have three pedals. In the US, it’s much more common to drive an automatic car whereas in Europe, we like our manual transmission, we like our manual vehicles. Personally I prefer manual – part of the pleasure of driving for me is the gear changing!
So what are the two pedals in an automatic car called? Well, one pedal makes the car’s engine go faster – that’s called the accelerator, A-C-C-E-L-E-R-A-T-O-R and the other pedal makes the car slow down or stop. And that’s called the brake, B-R-A-K-E. And as there’s little reason to be pressing both these pedals at the same time, it’s usual to operate both the brake and the accelerator pedals with your right foot! And if you have a manual or a ‘stick shift’ car then there’s a third pedal which you operate with your left foot – and that’s called the clutch, C-L-U-T-C-H in English.
So you’ve got your brake, your accelerator and your clutch. Let’s talk a bit more about these words in English, to help them stick in your mind, to help that vocabulary stick in your head. Of course, as with any Adept English podcast, you need to listen to the same material a few times to help you remember.
So the word ‘brake’ first of all. Notice the spelling B-R-A-KE – it’s different from the familiar word ‘break’, B-R-E-A-K – but it’s a homophone – it sounds the same. So ‘brake’, B-R-A-K-E is both a noun and a verb ‘to brake’. So one of the reasons that you might take your car to the garage is to have its brakes repaired or replaced. And back to your bike again – it’s the same there, your bike has brakes to slow it down, or at least I hope it does.
A photograph of a brake and accelerator pedal of an automatic transmission car. Discussing English vocabulary related to vehicles.
So it’s used as a noun and generally in the plural – you would ‘put your brakes on’. And as a verb ‘He braked sharply, when the squirrel ran into the road’. And the noun and verb ‘to brake’ is used idiomatically as well. You might talk about someone ‘putting the brake on a house purchase’ – because they’d lost their job perhaps. In a car you also have the handbrake, H-A-N-D (hand) B-R-A-K-E (brake) - that’s the mechanism for when the car is stopped and you want to prevent it rolling away down a hill.
And an accelerator? Watch the spelling A-C-C-E-L-E-R-A-T-O-R. There are plenty of English speakers who would spell that incorrectly – two Cs and one L. It helps again, if you know Latin – ‘celer’, C-E-L-E-R means quick, fast, speedy swift – it’s an adjective. So if you accelerate something, you make it go faster. So this word is a noun ‘accelerator’ and a verb ‘to accelerate’. The English we speak is peppered with Latin, as well as other languages too. So it’s used specifically of that pedal in your car, the accelerator and the verb is used when you’re speeding up, going faster in a vehicle.
But you could also use the word ‘accelerate’ in other contexts. You might say that ‘The adoption of home working and remote meeting has accelerated recently’. You might talk about an accelerator in chemistry as something which makes an effect or a chemical reaction happen more quickly. And in physics, think of the Large Hadron Collider in Cern, Switzerland. That’s a ‘particle accelerator’ – they accelerate tiny particles to observe what happens when they ‘run into each other’ or collide.
So back to the third pedal in your car, the clutch. So again ‘clutch’, C-L-U-T-C-H is a noun. There is also a verb ‘to clutch’, but that’s unconnected. So your clutch is what you need to disengage when you change gear. I have no idea what a clutch looks like – but it’s a piece of machinery, a mechanism – and I know that sometimes you might take your car to the garage and the clutch has worn out, it needs replacing.
We might also talk about ‘riding the clutch’ – that’s what you do in your car on a hill, when you use your clutch and your accelerator, those two pedals, to stop the car rolling backwards, rather than using your brake. Fun to do ‘riding the clutch’, but it means that your clutch mechanism on your car doesn’t last as long! ‘To ride the clutch’ – there’s a driving term for you!
Anyway there you have it. You’ve learned the words ‘gear’, the word ‘pedal’ and ‘pedestrian’. You’ve learned the terms ‘automatic’, ‘manual’ and ‘stick shift’. And you now know what the three pedals in your car are called – the brake, the accelerator and the clutch. And don’t forget your handbrake. So some good driving terminology today to help you speak English – conversations about cars will be easier now!
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There are many more words, many more pieces of vocabulary associated with driving. I sometimes think about writing another course which gives you lots of practical vocabulary like this for different contexts, for doing practical things, like driving a car. Or practical words for part of your house or words you might use at work. Let us know whether this would be useful.
So you can learn English, speak fluently more quickly – listen to the podcast a number of times until you understand all the words. And then listen a few more times, so that the vocabulary,
the words and phrases stick in your head.
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.