Do you know what a ‘silent syllable’ is? It’s actually one of the topics you have to master in order to sound more like a native English speaker. In this video, you’ll learn what syllables are, which words have silent ones, and how to correctly pronounce some common words with silent syllables. You’ll also learn to count syllables, so you know how many syllables are in a word. Practice these words by taking our quiz at the end of the video, and start speaking English more naturally today.
Hello. My name is Emma, and in today’s video, I am going to teach you about some pronunciation mistakes that you’re probably making. So, if you look beside me, I have a bunch of words. These are some of the most commonly mispronounced words in English by English… By students who are learning English. So today, I’m going to teach you how we actually pronounce these words.
So, the title of this video is “Silent Syllables”. All of these words have a silent syllable in them. Now, you may be wondering: “What is a syllable?” Well, a syllable is usually a vowel sound, sometimes it can also be a consonant-vowel sound. So, if that’s a little bit confusing, let’s look at some examples.
Here is the word “cat”. It has one syllable. If I clap my hand, “cat”. Okay? Now, compare this to the word “student”, which has two syllables. Compare this to the word “beautiful”, which has three, and we have here the word “incredible” which has four. Okay? So each of these has a different number of syllables. You’ll also notice that the length of the word is different. “Incredible” is longer than “beautiful”, “beautiful” is longer than “student”, and “student” is longer than “cat”. Okay?
So, a silent syllable is a syllable that people believe we’re supposed to pronounce, but we don’t actually pronounce it. Let’s start with this one, because this is the most common mistake I hear in my classrooms. Many students pronounce this word as “com-for-ta-ble”, they believe it has four syllables. This is not true. I want you to listen carefully to how I pronounce this word: “comfterble”, “comfortable”. How many syllables did you hear? “Comfortable”. If you said three syllables, you are correct. So we do not pronounce “com-for-ta-ble”, mm-mm, we say: “comfterble”. Okay? So if I wrote this how it’s almost pronounced, it almost looks like: “comfterble”. Okay?
The next word that I hear a lot of students making a mistake with… This is one of my favourite types of food, I hear a lot of students say: “choc-o-late”, where they pronounce this “o”. In English, we don’t pronounce that. We usually say… So we don’t say “choc-o-late”, which is three syllables; we actually say: “choclate”, “chocolate”, “chocolate”. How many syllables does that have? If you said two, you are correct. It’s almost like this “o” doesn’t exist. So I want you to repeat after me: “chocolate”, “comfortable”. Okay, good.
Now, the next sound, or… The next word many students mispronounce is this one. First off, they often miss… Mispronounce the “v” sound, which is “veg”, “vegetable”. Many students say: “veg-e-ta-ble”. Okay? So many students think it has four… Four syllables, but in fact, it doesn’t. Tell me: How many sounds does this have: “vegetable”, “vegetable”? It has three. Okay?
So I’m actually going to start writing this. “Comfortable” has two, “chocolate” has two. “Comfortable”… Sorry, “comfortable” has three. Okay? “Vegetable” has three.
The next word is another word a lot of students make a mistake with, similar to “chocolate”, we have here an “o”. We don’t pronounce this “o”. Okay? So many students say “brocc-o-li”, but we don’t say “broccoli”, we say: “broccli”. Okay? So, in this case, it only has two syllables: “brocc-li”. Okay? And we will go over these one more time at the end of the video.
Okay, very common word here, how many syllables do you think it has? If you said: “in-trest-ing”, you are correct, it has three syllables. Many students say: “in-ter-est-ing”. “That is very interesting.” We don’t say it like that. We say: “in-trest-ing”. Okay? “In-trest-ing”, so this one has three syllables also.
Okay, another very common word… Okay, I’ve used the Canadian/British spelling. If you’re an American or an… A speaker of American English, there will be no “u” here. How many syllables do you think this word has? Okay? Let’s say it together: “Favourite”, “favourite”. How many did you hear? If you said: “fav-rite”, and you heard two syllables, you are correct. We do not say: “fav-our-ite”, mm-mm, we say: “fav-rite”. Okay?
Okay, here’s another one a lot of students make mistakes with, many students will say: “temp-er-a-ture”, but we don’t say it this way. I want you to listen carefully, and choose: How many syllables are there in this word? “Tem-pra-ture”, “temperature”. “Tem-pra-ture”. Okay, so there are three syllables in this one.