The "Airside" and the "Brainside" of Language


Language is made up of sounds, words and phrases. Right? It has a grammar involves things like pronunciation and vocabulary.

Sounds, words, and phrases, grammar, pronunciation, vocabluary, all have one thing in common – we find them with our ears coming at us! Adult language teaching tends to focus on these parts – the ones we hear. All of them are located on the airside of our lives.

Interestingly, of all the brain research in the world, there seems to be no indication that any of these parts exist in our brains. Indeed, our brains become active when we produce or hear language of course. But what is language on the brainside of things?

Have you ever thought about what it is inside of us that allows us to produce the airside stuff we call language?

The AUA Thai Program is based on a simple belief – that authentic language is produced from happenings – these are the things our brains (both children and adults) record naturally. The easiest things in the world to recall are the things that happen to us. These happenings (grouped together we call them experiences) form who we are – how we think, our values, and our language as well.

The ability to speak any given language is merely the result of the accumulation of enough understandable experience (otherwise known as input) in that language.

So you can’t speak yet? You need more happenings. We are here to help you gain them, but by no means are we the only way!

The key is, our brains can do much more by naturally connecting your different happenings, than you can ever do by trying to remember sounds, words and phrases.

Is it important that you focus on the parts? Every part of language is merely the result of enough happenings.

SO… collect happenings – live your life here by looking and guessing about what’s happening – don’t waste time trying to identify all the airside stuff – you’re brain is already much better at that than you’ll ever be! 🙂

This is Dan Gallucci. I was an AUA student from 2006-2008 and kept a blog about my learning experience. Look for the “Attempting to Learn Thai” posts here if you are interested:…

Dan, Thanks for this link.

[…] student focuses on happenings, AND the less he focuses on language, the more fluent he will become. Happenings are the building blocks of language (and a whole lot of other brainside things). If you build language through happenings, you will become fluent. If you build it in any other […]

[…] is completely in the wrong direction, and demonstrates a general lack of understanding regarding what language is made of at the most basic, inner levels.  Remember this… language is a normal, natural phenomenon, normally acquired with ease, and […]