When you arrive in a new country where you only understand a little of what is going on, many people start with observing the language and people first and do not say much at the beginning. To live in another society, it is helpful to be able to say a few things in the instructional language as soon as possible.
In order to be able to communicate quickly on a basic level, it is helpful to acquire chunks. Chunks are groups of words which are used a lot together, like “happy birthday” or “how are you?”. Some of these chunks are used in a fixed position (e.g.: “How are you?”), others are built from a fixed element and a variable element (“Where is… my bag/my pencil?”, “See you on… Monday/Tuesday…“).
In many ways, the usage of chunks is very effective, because you don’t learn single words and have to think about how to put them together, instead you just learn the whole construction and they are a key to language fluency.
Watch our video about chunks.