Learning Vocabulary: Personality Adjectives
In this week's Premier Skills English Podcast, Jack and Rich talk about the Lunar New year which is being celebrated this weekend. They talk about the Year of the Rat and the Chinese zodiac. The language focus is on adjectives of personality and your task is to find out more about your sign in the Chinese zodiac. Don't forget to listen to the end of the podcast because we have a new football phrase for you to guess.
Jack: Hello my name’s Jack
Rich: and I’m Rich and welcome to this week’s Premier Skills English podcast
Jack: Where we talk about football and help you with your English.
Rich: We recommend that you listen to this podcast on the Premier Skills English website because that is where we have the transcript, language examples, activities, quizzes and a discussion page to help you understand everything we talk about.
Jack: However, if you’re listening on Apple Podcasts, you can leave answers to our questions in the review section. We do read all the reviews and would love to hear from you.
Rich: We are also looking for more people to interview in our podcasts.
Jack: If you want to practise your English skills and answer a few questions just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll write back to you.
Rich: Don’t forget that we have our football English podcast called This Week that you can listen to at the start of every week. This week’s episode is about Matchweek 23 and we ask you whether Liverpool already have the Premier League title in the bag?
Jack: Some of the football words and phrases we look at include that idiom - to be in the bag, to pour cold water on something and a fightback.
Rich: It’s on the Premier Skills English homepage, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and lots of other places right now!
Jack: In last week’s podcast, we spoke about Rich’s new dog and we helped you with the Present perfect continuous. Has your dog been barking a lot this week?
Rich: She’s calmed down a bit this week. Thanks for asking. If you want to complete this lesson and learn more about the present perfect continuous you need to go to the homepage, click skills, click listen and click podcasts. It’s called Understanding Grammar - Present Perfect Continuous.
Jack: In this week’s podcast, we’re going to talk about the start of the Lunar New Year. This week people will be celebrating the New Year in many countries. In China, it’s a massive celebration and in Vietnam and Korea it’s huge, too.
Rich: And there will be celebrations in many other countries, too. In this week’s roleplay, Jack is going to Chinatown in Birmingham to celebrate.
Jack: Well, to eat mainly. Rich has been looking at an article on the BBC and he’s going to test my knowledge of the animals in the Chinese zodiac.
Rich: All the animals are linked to specific characteristics so we thought it would be a good idea to help you with some personality adjectives.
Jack: So, the language focus this week is on personality adjectives like clever, wise, brave and mischievous.
Rich: And your task is to use the same website that I’m using to find out about the Chinese Zodiac and tell us about you.
Jack: Before all that though, we need to look at last week’s football phrase.
Last week’s Football Phrase
Rich: If you didn’t hear our football phrase last week we’re going to give you one more chance to guess now. We’ll give you the correct answer at the end of the show when we give you a new football phrase.
Jack: Well done if you got it right last week and congratulations to those of you who wrote the correct answer on the Premier Skills English website.
Rich: Ahmed Adam from Sudan was the first to get the answer right last week. Well done, Ahmed. And well done to Idzingirai from Zimbabwe, Fred Zhong and Lakerwang from China and Alex and Liubomyr from Ukraine who also got the right answer.
Jack: Remember you can also write your answers in the review section on Apple Podcasts if that’s where you listen to us.
Rich: Let’s hear last week’s phrase one more time. Do you know what the phrase is?
Jack: The phrase was a done deal. The phrase is used most in the summer and January as that is when transfers can take place. It’s an informal way of saying that a transfer has been completed. It’s usually used by football websites and newspapers - I think they like it as the two words begin with the same letter. The second word is also used in business a lot when two businesses make an agreement.
Rich: We’ll give you the answer at the end of the show and we’ll have a new football phrase for you to guess.
Introduction to Roleplay
Jack: In this week’s roleplay, you are going to hear me and Rich talking about the Lunar New Year and the Chinese Zodiac.
Rich: While you are listening, we want you to answer three questions:
Jack: Which year was Rich born in?
Rich: Which year was Jack born in?
Jack: Which year was Jamie Vardy born in?
Rich: Hey Jack! Do you fancy going to the match this weekend?
Jack: No, sorry. I’m going up to Birmingham to visit a friend.
Rich: You could watch Aston Villa if they’re at home.
Jack: I don’t think I’ll have time. I’m only there for a few hours. We’ll probably get some food in Chinatown and then …
Rich: I hope you’ve got a place booked. It’ll be packed. Everyone will be out celebrating the Lunar New Year this weekend.
Jack: I’m sure my mate’s got it all under control. He’s very organised.
Rich: Do you know what year it’s going to be?
Jack: 2020! Oh, yes the Lunar New Year - I don’t know - dog? Horse? Cat?
Rich: There isn’t a year of the cat. It’s going to be the year of the rat.
Jack: I should have known that - I’m a rat.
Rich: Charming, creative and very generous. I’m not so sure about the generous part.
Jack: What do you mean? I bought you that curry the other night! What made you the expert on the Lunar Calendar anyway?
Rich: I’m reading about it now on the BBC. Did you know that it will be New Year in China, Vietnam, and Korea this weekend?
Jack: Many places that follow the Lunar calendar will be celebrating this weekend. Are you a rat, Rich?
Rich: No, it surprises me actually as I’m very generous, unbelievably creative and very charming - who doesn’t fall under my spell when I talk to them.
Jack: Mmm … What are you then?
Rich: I’m a snake.
Jack: That doesn’t surprise me - creepy, poisonous and untrustworthy! Ha ha!
Rich: I’m the expert here thank you very much! Actually the BBC, on the page I’m looking at, says that snakes are wise and charming. So like rats but cleverer!
Jack: Are you sure you know your date of birth?!
Rich: I’ve been looking at this game on the BBC website. You put in the year that you were born and it tells you what animal you are. There’s a little description of each sign in the Chinese Zodiac. Rats are charming and generous and snakes are charming and clever.
Jack: I don’t think that people in the UK connect snakes with being charming. Then again, we don’t have many snakes here.
Rich: I don’t think there are many roaming around in China either. They are very shy creatures. I wonder how they came to represent charm and wisdom.
Jack: Do you think that animals represent the same human characteristics around the world? I mean, animals that are known everywhere?
Rich: I’m not sure. I don’t think so. Like we were saying, snakes aren’t seen as charming in the UK. We tend to associate negative adjectives with snakes, like the adjectives you said earlier.
Jack: I said you were creepy, poisonous and untrustworthy! Sorry!
Rich: Perhaps our listeners could tell us how animals are represented in their countries. Do people associate animals with human characteristics everywhere? Why don’t we test this out?
Jack: How do you mean?
Rich: If I tell you the characteristics from the description on the BBC Chinese Zodiac game, do you think you could guess the animal from the description?
Jack: I’ll give it a go. Explain the words as you go along and our listeners can join in too. There are quite a few adjectives to think about.
Rich: OK, so here’s the challenge for you and our listeners. Listen to the description and guess the animal.
Jack: Got it.
Rich: Right here we go. If you are born in this year you are clever. You are very intelligent.
Jack: The year of the rat. You said it earlier.
Rich: No, it’s not the year of the rat.
Jack: The year of the elephant? Elephants are clever.
Rich: No, there’s no year of the elephant.
Jack: Dolphins are clever … The year of …
Rich: Let me give you more information. This animal is clever but it’s mischievous, too. You know it’s a little bit cheeky. It’s naughty but in a funny, cute way.
Jack: OK, this can only be one animal. It’s the year of the monkey.
Rich: You’re right. Some famous footballing monkeys include Steven Gerrard, Mohamed Salah and Neymar.
Jack: OK, a couple of interesting adjectives to describe personality there - clever and mischievous. Mischievous is a difficult adjective to pronounce - mischievous. OK, we’re ready for the next animal.
Rich: All right, animal number two. It says here that this animal is very sociable. It loves making friends.
Jack: That’s got to be a dog. The year of the dog?
Rich: No, it’s not the year of the dog. Think of an animal that is always together with others.
Jack: Sheep? Bees? Ants? Cows? No, sorry I give up.
Rich: The answer is rabbit. The year of the rabbit. Some famous footballing rabbits include David Luiz, Jamie Vardy and Lionel Messi.
Jack: That’s funny. We have a different characteristic associated with rabbits. I suppose you could call them sociable. OK, give us another.
Rich: It says that animal three is artistic and caring.
Jack: Artistic - an animal that is good at drawing or painting?
Rich: People who are born in the year of this animal might be.
Jack: And caring? So, we’re looking for an animal that cares for or looks after it’s children. It sounds like a herbivore. What about a horse?
Rich: Good guess but no.
Jack: Dogs? Dogs care for us.
Rich: No. It’s quite difficult.
Jack: What about penguin? I’ve heard that the dad penguin stays and protects the egg in the snow and the wind while the mum penguin swims for 50 miles to get fish for when the egg hatches. That’s caring.
Rich: It is but there’s no year of the penguin. The answer is goat. The year of the goat.
Jack: Give us some famous footballing goats then. Did you know that the acronym GOAT stands for greatest of all time?
Rich: Haha I had wondered about that. Some famous goats include Virgil van Dijk, Kevin De Bruyne and Andrea Pirlo.
Jack: Give us one last animal.
Rich: Animal number four is a good leader and brave.
Jack: A good leader that could be a dog. Dogs are brave. They always try to protect their owners. They don’t get frightened easily.
Rich: You should see my dog it’s scared of everything! No, it’s not dog.
Jack: OK, what about lion? People can be as brave as a lion!
Rich: You’re very close.
Jack: Hmmm yes... there aren’t any lions in China. What about tiger?
Rich: Well done! Yes, you got one right. It’s tiger. The year of the tiger. Some famous footballing tigers include Trent-Alexander Arnold, David Silva and Alessandro Del Piero.
Jack: That was quite difficult.
Rich: Did you get the answers to the three questions we gave you?
Jack: Which animal is Rich?
Rich: I’m a snake. I was born in the year of the snake. Which animal is Jack?
Jack: I’m a rat. I was born in the year of the rat. Which animal is Jamie Vardy?
Rich: He’s a rabbit. He was born in the year of the rabbit.
Jack: We used and we described quite a few adjectives of personality in the roleplay but let’s have a quick look at some of them again.
Rich: Rats were described as charming, creative and generous.
Jack: Charming is a difficult word to understand. It usually has a positive meaning and it describes someone who is nice and pleasant to talk to.
Rich: A person who is charming is easy to get to know and get along with.
Jack: It can sometimes be negative though. A person who is charming is sometimes seen as someone you can’t trust. They are sometimes seen to be using this charm to influence people in some way.
Rich: We might hear something like he’s really charming but I wouldn’t trust him as far as I can throw him.
Jack: Let’s move on to snakes. I described snakes as creepy, poisonous and untrustworthy.
Rich: These are all negative. Creepy is a good word. It is used to describe something or someone that makes you feel uncomfortable and anxious.
Jack: It’s not the same as scary; it’s quite hard to explain. Things that are strange and that make you, I don’t know... shudder? What animal do you find creepy Rich?
Rich: I don’t like cockroaches - I hate the way that they always try to get in my mouth when I’m asleep.
Jack: No. They are definitely creepy. We’re talking about snakes, thank goodness.
Rich: Some snakes are poisonous, some are deadly but the adjective poisonous also has a more abstract negative meaning.
Jack: If someone is described as poisonous it means they are very, very unkind and they cause the people around them to become unkind as well.
Rich: When there is a person around who is poisonous we often talk about the atmosphere in a place.
Jack: Like in an office, for example, a colleague might say to another ‘the atmosphere’s poisonous when he’s around’.
Rich: Jack said snakes are creepy, poisonous and untrustworthy but the BBC website describes them as wise and charming.
Jack: Wise describes someone who is clever or intelligent. Wise is often used to describe someone who is older and more experienced.
Rich: Another animal connected to being wise is the owl. We can use the phrase as wise as an owl.
Jack: The monkey was described as clever but we also introduced the adjective mischievous.
Rich: If you are mischievous you are a little bit naughty, a little bit bad, you like to cause mischief but it’s not a very negative word. When someone is mischievous they don’t intend to cause real harm to anything or anyone.
Jack: A school child who says or does something in class might be described as mischievous or cheeky. In English, we might say ‘you cheeky monkey’.
Rich: We used a few more adjectives in the roleplay. We described most of them so if you’re not sure about their meanings, go back and listen to the roleplay again.
Jack: Or go to the podcast page on the Premier Skills English website where we have more examples and activities to help you with these adjectives of personality.
Rich: In this week’s task we want you to use the same page I was looking at in the roleplay to find out which year you were born in and tell us what it says about your personality.
Jack: The page you need to go to is on the BBC website. The URL is not easy to remember so we’ve created a special link for you. It’s http://bit.ly/PremierSkillsZodiac let me say that again it’s bitly - that's bit.ly forward slash PremierSkillsZodiac - one word.
Rich: There is also a link to this page in the task section on the lesson page for this podcast on the Premier Skills English website.
Jack: OK, you need to go to the bottom of the page and look for the quiz that says what’s your Chinese Zodiac animal?
Rich: We want you to do the quiz and then answer some questions.
Jack: Tell us what animal you are. Tell us which adjectives are used to describe people born in this year and tell us if you can match any of the adjectives to your own personality.
Rich: Write all your answers in the comments section on the Premier Skills English website.
Rich: Ok, it’s time for this week’s football phrase. It’s your turn this week.
Jack: This week’s football phrase is to **** someone/a team *** *** ****. This phrase means to be much better than the other team. In fact, it means to be so good that the other team should not even be on the same pitch competing with them. The final word in the phrase is the grassy area where kids often play games. Liverpool have been so good this season. They’ve ****** every team they’ve met *** *** ****.
Rich: That’s a difficult one. Let’s see who gets it right.
Jack: Before we leave you we need to tell you last week’s football phrase. The answer was a done deal.
Rich: Right, that’s all we have time for this week! Don’t forget to write your answers to our questions and make a guess at our football phrase in the comments below. If you get it right, we’ll announce your name on next week’s show.
Jack: If you have any questions or comments or suggestions for the podcast or anything football or English related, you can leave them on the website in the comments section, on social media - on Facebook or Twitter, on apple podcasts or you can email us at email@example.com.
Rich: Remember you can also email us if you want to practise your English skills and answer a few questions for a future podcast.
Jack: Bye for now and enjoy your football!
How much did you understand?
In the podcast, Rich and Jack used some words and phrases that might be new for you. Do you know the words in bold?
Rich is going to test my knowledge of the animals in the Chinese zodiac.
I hope you’ve got a place booked. It’ll be packed.
Many places that follow the Lunar calendar will be celebrating this weekend.
Do you think that animals represent the same human characteristics around the world?
Did you know that the acronym GOAT stands for greatest of all time?
A school child who is a little naughty but in a fun way might be described as a 'cheeky monkey’.
There were a few more tricky words in the podcast. Do you know what they all mean? Try the activity below, then, listen to the podcast again to hear how we used the words.
Adjectives of personality (positive)
In the podcast, Jack and Rich spoke about some of the characteristics or personality adjectives that are represented by the animals in the Chinese zodiac. Most of these adjectives were positive. Take a look at these sentences from the podcast. Do you understand the words in bold?
If you are born in this year you are clever. You are very intelligent.
This animal is very sociable. It loves making friends.
I’ve heard that the dad penguin protects the egg while the mum penguin swims 50 miles to get fish for when the egg hatches. That’s caring!
Dogs are brave. They always try to protect their owners. They don’t get frightened easily.
Jack and Rich also looked at a couple of adjectives that can be both positive and negative:
He’s really charming, lovely to talk to, but I wouldn’t trust him as far as I can throw him.
This animal is clever but it’s mischievous, too. You know, it’s a little bit cheeky. It’s naughty but in a funny, cute way.
Adjectives of personality (negative)
In the podcast, Jack and Rich also introduced some negative personality adjectives. Take a look at these sentences from the podcast. Do you understand the words in bold?
Creepy is a good word. It is used to describe something or someone that makes you feel uncomfortable and anxious.
If someone is described as poisonous it means they are very, very unkind. The atmosphere around these people can also become poisonous.
If someone is untrustworthy you can't always believe what they say or do.
In this activity, check your understanding of the adjectives that were introduced in the podcast.
What's your Chinese Zodiac animal?
In this week’s task, we want you to use the same webpage Rich looked at in the roleplay. The page you need to go to is on the BBC website. Here are your instructions:
- Go to the page on the BBC website.
- Go to the bottom of the page and look for the quiz that says what’s your Chinese Zodiac animal?
- Choose the year you were born.
- Find out your Chinese Zodiac animal and read the description.
- Tell us what animal you are. Tell us which adjectives are used to describe people born in this year and tell us if you can match any of the adjectives to your own personality.
Write your answers and reply to other listeners in the comments section below and don't forget to make a guess at this week's football phrase!