Thanks for praying for the Language and Culture Acquisition (LACA) course that finished last week. The 30 or so people on the course seemed to thoroughly enjoy it and should now be better equiped to live and work overseas.

Having been through the course they should now be able to recognise and reproduce almost every sound (more or less) that is used in any language in the world. They have also been taught methods to learn a foreign language that has never been written, and had the chance to practice the theory on a real language.

Mark’s group was learning Tamil from southern India (which has been written in case you were wondering… but the group didn’t have access to any written materials) which they made a great deal of progress in in 4 weeks. One of the most difficult thing about learning a language that is very different to your own is the fact that you have to remember sounds that you don’t have compartments for in your head! The idea of the phonetics course (learning different sounds) was to help the participants to recognise and reproduce the different sounds, rather than converting them to the nearest sound in English!

The course was a lot of fun, and Mark really enjoyed teaching his group phonetics! It’s a fun subject to teach with plenty of room for laughing… normally at yourself and each other as you produce the funny sounds!

Many of the participants will be staying for the next course, starting next week until December, where they will learn skills relevant to the specific assignment they will take up overseas. Others have already left, and are preparing to go overseas soon, so please pray for them as they do so.

Mark’s (serious as ever) phonetics group

And their poor teacher

Some of the sounds (written in IPA) that the participants learnt

David shows us a traditional dance from his ethnic group in Malaysia

And some of the guys try to join in…!

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