One of the best parts about attending the PILAT course in Colorado last spring/summer, we all agree, was the 3 ring binder full of language learning ideas. These will be especially useful in more one-on-one learning, like we anticipate in Burundi, or when we meet with our language helpers here in France. Ideas include a "language route" of meeting the same people every day, memorized monologue, numbers "flashcards" that you get people to read to you so numbers become ingrained, and something the PILAT folks call "LAPs". LAP stands for Language Acquisition Project. There are about 40 of them in our binders, and of course you can make up your own as well. We tried them out in Colorado. For example, we each made a "gameboard" of neighborhood locations: the market, church, school, home, etc. Then we made game pieces that resembled bicycle, boat, car, etc. We added in "I", "you", "he" and "they", and eventually added symbols for today, yesterday, and tomorrow. First, our language helper would name off the individual item/location/word. Then we would start saying the words. Eventually, we were moving pieces around the board...you can imagine the buildup. It's pretty cool, actually. You start with "le velo" (bicycle) and l'eglise (church) and eventually are saying things like "I rode my bicycle to church yesterday." A fun way to learn verbs and tenses and word interactions.
Lest you think this post is a bit dry, let me (Rachel) tell you my own brilliant idea for a LAP. I am an OB-GYN. The vocabulary I need to know the most, in my opinion, is all about prenatal care, birth, delivery, etc. The word for "push" goes a long way in my business. :) So what better way to learn about the French obstetrical vocabulary than to get pregnant and deliver my baby while in France? That's right, folks, McCropder #17 will be born on French soil hopefully by early April. I have stacks of pregnancy pamphlets and even an online French TV show called "Baby Boom" to watch. So far, I know the word for pregnant (Je suis enceinte), pregnancy (grossesse, which is quite flattering), and delivery (accouchment, which is fun to say). My midwife asked me last week, "vous le sentez bouger?" which has nothing to do with my recent cold, but rather, "Are you feeling the baby move?" Language learning is abounding. :)
Can't wait to progress in language acquisition and gross-ness. I mean, grossesse.