Chunks of Language

I guess you’re asking: hey, what is a chunk of language?. The answer is not too complicated. A chunk of language is a sequence of words that native speakers of a language feel is the natural and best way of expressing something. Look at the sentences below and complete them with the missing word. I’m sure you’ll understand what a chunk is after doing this short and fun activity:

1. Ela vai ao cinema uma vez na vida outra na …………
2. Eu vou falar com ela amanhã de ………… bem cedinho.
3. Por favor, não vá dar com a ………… nos dentes novamente.
4. Nossa! eles moram lá onde ………… perdeu as botas.
5. Ela faz das tripas ………… para sustentar a família.

If you are a native speaker of Brazilian Portuguese, you know exactly what the missing words are in the five sentences above: 1) morte; 2) manhã; 3) língua; 4) judas; e, 5) coração. If you make use of any other word in these sentences, it will sound really weird. Why is that?Because in Brazilian Portuguese, we usually say “onde judas perdeu as botas” (sentence 4). We don’t say “onde mateus perdeu as botas” or “onde carol perdeu as botas“. Judas is the name that completes the sentence. This is the natural way of expressing that.

Chunks of Language

All the expressions – “uma vez na vida outra na morte“, “amanhã de manhã bem cedinho“, “dar com a língua nos dentes“, “onde judas perdeu as botas” e “fazer das tripas coração” – are simple examples of chunks in Brazilian Portuguese.

Our brain is full of chunks of our own language. We’ve been picking them up since we were kids. That’s why is completely natural for us to remember them and use them fluently. So, how about learning chunks of language in English as well? That is, instead of trying to memorize a list of isolated words, why don’t you try to memorize chunks of English language? That will surely make things much simpler to you and your learning. Learning chunks of English language will also help you speak it fluently.

Here you go five chunks to learn. However, I’m giving you only the initials. If you really want to know what they all stand for as well as their meanings, you’ll have to click on them and find out.

Write these initials on a piece of paper and try to remember what they stand for. This may help your brain memorize them. It’s really fun to learn this way. Just give it a try and see what happens.

Wanna learn more about chunks of language? Then, read the book “Inglês na Ponta da Língua – método inovador para melhorar o seu vocabulário“. Have a nice week, you guys! Take care!

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