Monday, 7 April 2008



2.) READ READ READ: I Can’t say this more. Reading is the only way to make leaps in improving your language. Other steps only support this basic effort you must make. That’s more difficult nowadays in a culture of the moving electronic image. Why read the book when you can watch the movie?

But you’ve probably heard it said: “The book is so much better than the movie!” And it’s because the written word often captures the imagination better than any image can. Because it reaches every part of your conscious being, touches every part of your memory, your memory not other’s. You paint your personal image of the story. And therefore it connects with you in a way that’s all your own. Sure it’s a chore to plough through ink on paper (or blips on screen). At first. But as Roald Dahl said (in his excellent book, Matilda), “…allow the words to wash over you. Never mind if you don’t understand some of the words at first.” Let the music in. Somehow, it, I guess, tunes you up. (or ‘in’?) Before you know it you’ll find it easier to sing in tune. When you’re starting, don’t bother with reaching for the dictionary for every unknown word: Try to guess the meaning from the context and move on. The meaning will come to you later in the story.

I find it useful to sometimes read aloud (when I’m alone, that is….haha!) It will be strange at first to hear your own voice speaking to yourself…but, heck, the sooner you get to know the new You the better. Let the new You grow. What you’ll actually be doing is synchronizing your thinking with your verbalizing, wiring up your brain to your tongue properly.

WHAT TO READ: Other than everything (including instructions on cartons of cornflakes), I’d say architectural text(s) (AT) and novels. You should have at least one good AT with you all the time, to fill in the loose minutes. Doesn’t matter what text—book, journal, article. AT fill up your knowledge gap as they expose you to language articulation on the career subject you’ve chosen. Go by your interest. ‘How architecture evolved through the ages’? ‘Discussion on a particular architectural movement’? ‘Life and work of a particular architect’? ‘Design Theory’?

Novels are really art forms that parallel architecture. They’re usually long stories, or narratives, with themes, plots, structures, players (protagonists), characterization, styles... You can see that we use these concepts (and this vocabulary) often in architectural discussions. The more you read novels the more you will pick up (usually subconsciously) patterns of narratives. As you lift these patterns up from your subconscious to your conscious mind—with lots of interesting discussions with your friends—you will begin to arm yourself with theoretical frameworks to understand, and better yet, to describe and present your own architectural designs. Along the way, simultaneously, without you knowing, the language will creep into your being. And soon, you’ll find the new You surprising you with it’s maturing presence.

Have a good dictionary, thesaurus, word power manual, and basic English grammar handbook lying around. Use them when a particular word or idiom, or saying, fascinates you. Or flip through them to entertain yourself. But don’t let them get in the way of your enjoyment of the stories.

Cont:- part 3/4

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