One concept is that language is like an iceberg. What you can actually say is like the tip of the iceberg. There’s lots more that you can passively understand that can’t be seen but is floating under the water. Our task as language learners is to move the words from the bottom of the iceberg up to the top, where we can use them as well as understand them.
Lovely analogy. Let’s see how it would work here.
Ok, you know ice cubes? Well, there are places in the world where there are very big ice cubes floating in the sea. Huge ones, bigger than trucks. So big, actually, that if a huge passenger ship hit one it would sink, and a band would play while it was sinking and a movie would be made about it, and a Canadian woman would sing about it…
So, I’m not going to use that in the workshop. My first idea was to talk about a yam instead. They’re big on the bottom, underground. But, the leaves that are on top are not edible. Not perfect. Then someone suggested I use a hippo-you can only see the eyes when they’re floating in the river, and they’re big underneath. I’m not sure everyone at the workshop will have seen a hippo, though, so I decided to use a cayman. I think those are pretty common, I’ve seen them from the north to the south. The one in the picture is in a cement tank in someone’s yard in the capital city. Where I live, there was so much rain a few years ago that the road flooded. People waded across it. One person had their dog with them, though, and as the dog was swimming across-gulp! Dinner for the cayman.
So. Language learners have a cayman of language in their brain. We’ll see how that flies. Any suggestions for next time? They don’t have to be serious!