Today was our first full day at our new 2-week program here at MTI called, "Program In Language Acquisition Techniques", otherwise known as PILAT. Already we are being taught how to make new sounds and noises with our mouths that we did not know we were capable of making. We're learning such technical terms as: bilabial and velar fricatives, aspirated and unaspirated stops, glottal stops, and nasal consonants. We're learning how to make sounds with and without our voiceboxes; and other noises only through our noses. We use tiny little mirrors to look at our mouths and see how our tongues are curled and lips are positioned. We also use paper aspiration meters to determine how much breath comes out of our mouths for certain sounds. One coach called all of this "calisthenics for the mouth" as we stretch our lips, mouth, tongue, and jaw.
All of this is in preparation for learning a second language. We found out the English language has 44 sounds, while some other languages, such as Albanian, use slightly more sounds; sounds that are completely foreign to us. The discovery of these new sounds and how to create them will help us become better equipped to learn the Albanian language. We look forward to what the rest of PILAT has to offer as we continue to be introduced to new sounds and new learning methods for acquiring a second language. Please continue to keep us in prayer as we are being challenged each day in learning more about cross-cultural ministry and language learning.