Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Why Phonetics?

I was asked many questions about this year of training, and I told many of you that I would study phonetics. I made attempts to explain this, but since I wasn't sure myself, how could I explain it to you?!
Well, a Biblical example of phonetics can be seen in Judges 12:6. Here the Gileadites would test the neighboring Ephramites to see if they were from Gilead or Ephraim. When the Ephraimites failed the test of "Shibboleth vs. Sibboleth", they were thrown into the Jordan River to drown. Just as one sound difference meant life or death for an Ephraimite, so will the importance be of learning the national and tribal languages of the country in which I will serve. My purpose for learning these two languages (seeing nationals and/or tribal people to come to a saving knowledge of Christ)is a matter of life and death.
Phonetics will assist me in learning to write an unwritten language. It will also assist me if I learn a written language. Once I learn the sounds and symbols on this chart, I will be able to reproduce them as needed.
As I study through this chart over the next few weeks, I will become familiar with sounds not found in the English language. I will also learn how to become more native in a language as I force my mouth to make these new strange sounds.
Amazingly enough, our curriculum takes us through that which we know first--sounds which are found in the English language. We have begun with the most simple sounds 'th','s', 'z', 'sh', and 'zh'. God saw fit for me to have take three years of speech therapy with these sounds as an elementary student. While these are actually some of my harder sounds to produce, God knew what was ahead of me and trained me ahead of time! Please pray for my patience during this class that I would heed the intructions of our teachers and absorb all that I can!

[This picture is NOT a copy of the Lake of the Ozarks, but of the "speech apparatus" or the areas of your throat, nose, and mouth that are used when making sounds.]

I thank you ahead of time for your prayers as I go through this class. Also this morning we took our Linguistics test to see if we qualify for the third semester of extensive linguistics training.

Praise: My friend Kimmie is home from the hospital from a staph infection. She is on bedrest for ten days, but she is not able to hold her new baby Esther for very long.