Introduction

This unit, ‘Electrical Current and Electrical Components’, deals with the basics of electricity. It explains how electrons flow through a conductor and create an electric current; how this current is originated and powered, and how a resistor can interfere and create resistance to the flow of electrons. There is also the explanation of parallel and series circuits, with their different components. Finally, it outlines some devices which can be used to measure electricity. The aim is to make you get acquainted with specific vocabulary and expressions that you already know in your native language and which are used to discuss electrical terms.

The unit is composed of four different sections. Each of them has a similar structure:

  • A text related to one of the above mentioned topics. They are technical texts, usually descriptive.
  • A short story about two electricians, who move from one location to the other to install, revise and certify different electrical installations. This section is called “Storyline”, and it starts with the welcoming of Bill, an apprentice from UK. He is in Barcelona to assist Jordi in different works. This section is intended to show the everyday life of an electric technician, with emphasis on job related conversation. The idea is for you to get acquainted to the daily tasks that an electrician does in English.
  • A list of specific vocabulary with terms translated into Catalan in order to help you with the most difficult words that have appeared in the texts and the conversations.
  • The grammar section, with the explanation of different grammar points and a great deal of examples that should help you understand the mechanics of the language.

In the section ‘Electric current’ you will get introduced to the different components of an electric circuit and to concepts such as ac/dc current. In the section ‘Types of circuits: series and parallel’, you will see the diagram of components of a circuit connected in series and in parallel and the behaviour of the current in both cases. In the last section, ‘Measuring electricity’ you will see the devices used to measure electricity and how they work.

As for the grammar, you will learn about three basic aspects. In the first section, there is information about three very important words in a language: the nouns, which are used to define the material and immaterial world around us; the determiners, which are some small words that we add to nouns, like articles, demonstratives and possessives; and the personal pronouns, which we use to refer to nouns. The second grammar section deals with the auxiliary verbs. These verbs are used to help other verbs form certain tenses, like the continuous tenses (verb ‘to be’) and the perfect tenses (verb ‘to have’); the passive (verb ‘to be’); and the interrogative and negative sentences (verb ‘to do’). The third section in the unit deals with three other types of important words: the quantifiers, which are added to nouns to express quantity; the intensifiers, which we can add to adjectives and adverbs to indicate different degrees of intensity; and the English numbers, which form a type of quantifiers with some special characteristics.

In the first section of the unit, you will also find information about the oral skills of the language (listening and speaking). These skills are the most difficult ones to acquire in an online course because they require practice with another person, especially speaking, but even so, you will find some advice and resources about the best ways of practising these skills. In the second section, we introduce the two remaining skills, the written skills (reading and writing). You will read about the characteristics of both and you can also get some ideas on how to practise each one, with a special reference to the use of connectors and punctuation, which are necessary to write a text correctly. The third section introduces what we call ‘everyday language’. This refers to a number of expressions which are used in particular contexts and we can also use the terms ‘functional language’, or ‘social language’, because they are used in our interaction with other people. In this unit, we begin with the ways of greeting and introducing people, which are two very basic examples of interaction.

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Summary