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The Building Blocks of Language

Awareness / アウェアネス

Hello. My name is Duncan Brown and I am an English Facilitator, here a some of my thoughts about learning the English language.

Checking the foundations

When Masami and I begin helping people with their English, we need to know their current language ability. After a free consultation (a few questions about their English knowledge and a quick assessment), we work out how to help them, what are the missing building blocks in their English?

I have made many analogies about learning English, creating some imaginary building is just another. Japanese people have some English knowledge learnt in their school or college days, that is their foundation. That’s where we start, we check how solid it is then fill in the cracks until it is a strong block.

Architect of language

With that reinforced block, we can connect another block that works with it. What easily connects? What’s missing? More vocabulary? More grammar knowledge? What we present and practice are the students’ weak and missing building blocks. But, what is produced is all the students’ work, their thoughts, ideas, and feelings.

Sometimes, their building is leaning to one side; Masami and I help straighten it. Sometimes, their building is dull, so we suggest more colour. Sometimes, there isn’t a building! That’s when we provide new building blocks to make it. Sometimes, the building is a bold statement which we can enjoy.

Maintaining your building

Like with all buildings, maintenance is required by looking at some blocks here and there, now, and again. When a block is weak, it needs some strengthening or even starting again to replace it, that’s easier to do with good foundations.

Vocabulary + Grammar = Creation

So, what are these building blocks? Some words to start building your vocabulary: nouns, verbs, pronouns, and adjectives are a good start. Next, how to put these word blocks together, grammar: subject (I), verb (like), object (chocolate). These are the foundations to build up, extend, decorate, and personalise your English. These are the building blocks of language.

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