Introduction

This unit, ‘Home electrical installations’, is about home installations, how the power reaches home through the grid and the elements needed to make appliances work and to turn lights on an off. It also deals with safety regulations and includes the “musts” and “don’ts” in the work of an electrician. 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 ‘Home Electrical Installations’ there is a text with a description of how electricity reaches homes and it is distributed by the elements that compose a consumer unit. It also deals with European safety regulations. The section ‘Electrical Supply Circuits’ is about how miniature circuits work. You will see a list of symbols used to represent switches, socket outlets, and other electrical elements. In the last section, ‘Hazards and safety’ you will see a list of safety issues with regards to electricity installations.

The grammar sections introduce three other basic aspects. In section one, you will learn about the different present and past tenses, which are obviously used to speak about the present and the past, respectively. You will see the forms of the verbs and the difference in use between the present simple and continuous, and between the past simple, the past continuous and the present perfect. There is also a reference to the adverbials of time which are normally associated to the present and past tenses. The second section is devoted to explain the adjectives, which are the words used to describe the material world around us and our emotions. There is a special section to introduce the comparative adjectives and adverbs. We use these forms to make comparisons. The third section introduces the prepositions of place and time, which tell us where and when something happens. We’ll learn to distinguish their uses, with specific sections devoted to explain the date formats in English and the way of asking and telling the time.

The everyday language sections introduce other examples of this type of language. In the first part of the unit, you will learn the different questions and answers to ask for and give basic personal information, like your name, your age, your address, etc. This type of information is normally included in a friendly conversation with a colleague, or in a more formal situation, it may be part of a job interview. Next, you will see some words and expressions frequently used in telephone conversations. Telephone conversations are very common situations in our daily and working lives, and they require the use of the oral skills and some very specific language. Finally, you will also learn about the ways of giving advice. You give advice when you recommend an action to other people, and for this there are different ways which you can use in different contexts. The emphasis is on the grammatical structures used with each word and expression.

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