This summer Wycliffe UK has three Engage Summer Teams going overseas in July and August, to Burkina Faso, Cambodia and Cameroon. We may end up leading the Burkina Faso team, which would be both exciting and slightly scary!
One of the main challenges would be the fact that I never learnt French at school, or any time since then for that matter! So the last few weeks Laura has been faithfully teaching me some of what she knows, and also making use of books and the internet.
I am now fairly good with parts of the body (la jambe, le bras, l’ongle etc…), and we have done fruit and veg, and a few verb conjugations. We have a pile of several hundred flashcards sitting on the bookshelf, which I find are a good way for me to learn vocabulary.
I have to say I think the only way to learn a language properly is through immersion with speakers of that language, but my hope is that I can at least get a headstart this way! There are also a few native French speakers here on the Wycliffe Centre, so when I get brave enough I think I’ll try to practice with them!
Another great resource we’ve found is the Livemocha website, where language learners from around the world can interact with each other. As you take lessons in your chosen language (there are only 11 to choose from at present…) you submit mini assignments, which are then checked by other community members, as you also check assignments submitted by others learning your mother-tongue!
So at the moment we’re trying to use these various methods to learn this strange language, while at the same time praying for the right applicants for the summer teams so that we actually have a team to lead!