Tuesday, February 9, 2010

First Day of Classes in PILAT

Josh and I had our first day of classes today!

"PILAT" introduces you to a new way of thinking about language and language learning.  The classes mostly center around linguistics/phonetics and language learning techniques.  Today, we learned that there are 44 sounds in English but there are infinite sounds that your mouth can make.  We are learning to get our mouths to make sounds that we aren't accustomed to so that when we start learning our specific languages we don't automatically try to make the brand new sound conform to one of our English sounds.

For example: in Spanish, the "l" sound is produced in a different part of the mouth than in English and a lot of English-speakers just say "l" the way they are used to instead of the way that Spanish-speakers say it.

The language learning techniques so far have placed the focus on listening instead of always trying to speak the language as soon as you hear it.  Our "prof" referred to James 1:19, "You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry," and said that that can easily be applied to language learning!!

After classes finished today, Josh and I and our new friends Anna (going to China), Stephanie (going to Thailand), and Katie (going to the Dominican Republic) all went on a hike up to the actual "Palmer Lake".  It was beautiful, but incredibly COLD!  We definitely have a lot to get used to.  Josh and I are thrilled because we were able to check out a humidifier from the office to use in our room and that should help us get used to the altitude.

We are both pretty tired and are having to get used to being in class again.  It is truly wonderful to be surrounded by fellow missionaries (and to-be-missionaries like us) and hear their stories.  We are blessed to be surrounded by so much encouragement and we want to take advantage of it!

Love and God Bless,

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