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
So good to hear about how your training is progressing…you will need at least one good rest week when you get back to Virginia. We would love to connect with you sometime–we’re in Waynesboro at Tabernacle Pres. Blessing and prayers, Ellen
Hi there! I just wanted to say I am praying for you guys as you raise support. I spent 18 months in Nagoya with MTW and know the Newsomes and lots of Nisshin church folks. My husband and I are hoping to go back to Japan in the near future as long-term missionaries. Maybe I will meet you someday!
I just read your post about the language acquisition – Japanese is a particularly difficult one so I hope you’re up for a wonderful challenge. 🙂 I’ve been learning it for almost 10 years and will keep learning new things in Japanese until the day I go to be with Jesus, that’s for sure! I think it’s a great language to learn and lots of fun. I hope you will, too! God bless you guys.
Ruth Ann Anthony
I am enjoying keeping up with the blog to know how to pray for you all…
thanks for all the great info. Looks like you are having a great time. Tobin is growing fast!