Introduction

This unit, ‘Solar Energy and Antennas’, deals with the installation and the functioning of photovoltaic panels. It also deals with the characteristics and types of antennas used for broadcasting and receiving electromagnetic waves. In the last section you will see an electrician’s CV. 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:

  • There is a text related to one of the above mentioned topics. They are technical texts, usually descriptive.
  • There is 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 with the daily tasks that an electrician does in English.
  • There is 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.
  • There is 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 ‘Photovoltaic Installations’, you will get introduced to the different components of a photovoltaic installation, with a brief description of each of them. In the section ‘Antennas’, you will learn about antennas, see different types, and the parameters used to transmit and receive electromagnetic waves. In the last section, ‘Looking for a job’ you will see a CV of an electrician, which could be used as a sample to write a CV in English for those who have decided to look for a job in another country.

As far as the grammar is concerned, in the first section of this unit you will learn about a category of verbs called ‘modal verbs’. These form a group of verbs that have no independent meaning, but depend on the meaning of other verbs to make sense. Modals do not express actions, but indicate things like obligation, ability or possibility. In this section you will learn which are the modal verbs and their use and meaning. The first section also introduces the different ways of expressing the future, with their corresponding adverbials of time, and a verb form called ‘imperative’, which we use to give orders and instructions. The second grammar section describes some basic sentence structures, as for example, those of the statements, the questions, the imperative, and the passive. The passive voice is very important in English because it is more widely used than in Catalan or Spanish, so you will learn how to form and use the passive voice, and how to distinguish it from the active voice. The third section introduces two other types of sentences. On one hand, you will learn about the conditional sentences, which include a condition and the result if the condition is accomplished; on the other hand, we will introduce the relative clauses, which are always introduced by a relative pronoun and are mostly used to define a noun or explain some characteristic of that noun.

The ‘everyday language’ sections introduce more social language. In the first section, you will find different ways of giving and responding to instructions. You do this when you must indicate other people what they must do. They are very similar to orders, and in fact, both functions use the imperative form of the verb. The second section is devoted to making and responding to requests. A request is an expression in which we ask other people to do something. It is like giving orders or instructions, but using more indirect, polite means. The emphasis will be on using the appropriate expression in each context. Finally, the third section is about making and responding to suggestions. We make suggestions when we think that other people should do something. We may also be included in the suggestion, as when we plan to do something together with other people. You will see the different possibilities to make suggestions, with their corresponding sentence structure, and the ways of responding to a suggestion.

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Summary