MTC Classroom: Phonetics

Welcome to the Missionary Training Center!  “MTC Classroom” posts are to share with you some of the important things we are learning to prepare for our future ministry overseas.

Welcome to Phonetics, a whole new world of language!  This class is designed to:

  • introduce us to the diversity of sounds found in languages around the world
  • teach us how and where these sounds are articulated in the mouth
  • give us practice hearing, writing, and producing these sounds ourselves

Phonetic terminology includes words such as vowels, consonants, fricatives, affricates, nasals, laterals, flaps, glottals, voiced and unvoiced, glides, tone, and stress.  Sound strange?  Add to that a brand new alphabet (click here to see it), and you’ve got phonetics!

So, What?

Why in the world do we need phonetics?  After all, we’re going into aviation…it’s not like we’ll be transcribing an unwritten language, right?

Believe it or not, even phonetics has eternal value!  As missionaries on a foreign field, we will be learning a new language in order to communicate–on the radio, at the market, with our neighbors, and with government officials.  We desire to be fluent speakers of this new language in order to function effectively in a cross-cultural environment.  Phonetics helps us to understand the new sounds we will encounter and to sound more “native” when we speak that language.

God went to great lengths to communicate with humanity clearly, both through His written Word and through the Living Word–His Son, Jesus Christ.  It is this WORD that we wish to pass on to others, and this must be done in sounds that are fully understandable to our audience.  This is why we do Phonetics.