PILAT* – How do you learn a foreign language?
This week we went through PILAT training with facilitator Nancy Craig. The goal of the program is to equip missionaries with strategies of how to learn a language through phonetics training and various techniques so the participants leave more confident and comfortable in learning a new language.
Although it sounds obvious learning a language is crucial for missionaries. Language is used to communicate the Gospel effectively and is a window into the culture of the community so missionaries can contextualize their message. We aim to be learners of the culture we are joining and truly loving the people is learning their language and culture.
Part of the training includes practicing vowel and consonant sounds. You might wonder how in the world this helps, but have you ever thought about the way we say “p” in America versus how another country might pronounce “p?” At points if you would have walked in the training you would have seen us looking into small mirrors to watch our mouths and heard us repeating lots of sounds. The experience provided many opportunities for laughter! Overall this helped introduce our mouths to sounds from all over the world and helped train our ears to hear subtle differences.
Another part of the program was learning different strategies when first arriving in the country. What are helpful monologues to memorize? What is a language helper? What is a language route? These were only a few of many questions we tackled throughout the week.
For two days we had the privilege of working with a language helper. During this time we went through language “laps” and “rules” with our helper. Cathalain was in the Japanese group while Michael was in the Spanish group. (This experience was meant to help us know how to better utilize a language helper. Since Michael knew Japanese the instructor desired for him to be in a language group he didn’t know.) This experience helped show how to best utilize a language helper. We both were surprised how quickly we picked up the language through the PILAT method. This was encouraging knowing how difficult Japanese is.
The week was intense. We definitely feel as time passes and especially once we are on the field we will be grateful to have had such wonderful language training.
*Program in Language Acquisition Techniques
Behind the Scenes
Each week there is an in house e-newsletter published. Check out the third newsletter sent to all the participants for a more in depth recap of the week.
Update from the Home Front
This week we have still been working to close on our home. As you can imagine this has been a trying experience since we were supposed to close over a month ago. Please pray all the parties involved would be able to finally finalize the sale of our house!
We also received news this week the Cost of Living adjustment went up again in Japan. This means our budget has increased slightly which requires us to raise an additional $200/month. Please pray as we continue to raise the rest of our support. After New York we will have finished all the required MTW training…only finances are holding us from leaving.
*CCMI – Cross Cultural Ministry Internship