One of our courses is Phonetics. In this course we study the International Phonetic Alphabet so we can translate sounds we hear in any given language into a combination of written "letters" that is understood around the world and can be pronounced around the world...the point of this is so we can translate the language for the people group that we end up in in Vanuatu.
For an example this is John 3:16 written with this Phonetic Alphabet. (said by someone with an Australian accent I must add as this changes the "letters" or more appropriately the phonemes.)
[ fɔ ɡɒd səʉ lʌvd ðə wɵld
ðæt hi ɡɛiv hɪz ˈəʉnli sʌn
ðæt hʉˈwɛvə bəˈlivz ɪn hɪm
ʃæl nɒt ˈpɛɹɪʃ
bʌt hæv iˈtɵnəl lʌif ]
[ dʒɒn θɹi sɪksˈtin ]
We are also taking a grammer class. Which will help us identify the sentence structure of a particular language group. For example, English always has Subject Verb Object (with lots of other stuff thrown in there but I don't want to bore you too much) and this is not true of all languages of the world...so this course will also help us as we learn and write (or create) the language God leads us to.
Anthropology is another once of our courses. This is fairly self explanitory, but through this course we will be practicing how to really look and observe another culture. As well as relate to this culture and live in it.
And finally we are taking a Language Awareness/Language Learning course. In this class we are actually learning another language in the style that we would (or very similar to anyway) on the field in Vanuatu. And lucky for us, there is actually a Ni-Vanuatu man here these 6 weeks who is teaching us his native language of White Sands (from the island of Tanna). There are 4 of us (Houghton and I along with Laura, and Brad Jones) in this White Sands group. Jim and Tania Kenner are also learning this language in another White Sands group, otherwise all the other students are either learning Urdu (spoken in Pakistan and parts of Fiji and India), Indonesian, or Karen (spoken in China, Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand).
We are so pumped about the training we are getting here and so thankful that the Lord has saw fit to lead us down this path. We are excited to use what we are learning in Vanuatu and to use it to better be equip for His plan for our team, whatever lies ahead.