I recently spent some time talking with Sarah Perkins who is a Language and Culture Resource Specialist for IMB, Europe. Thanks Sarah for your work on this and for passing it along for others to use.
Here are some of her ideas and some great links. This can be helpful for new workers coming to the field BUT I think there are some great ideas for churches who are wanting to be prepared to have an incarnational presence on the field whether that is a one week trip or sending long term teams. Here you go!
Language and Culture Preparation Before Field Arrival
Read about cross-cultural expectations and adaptation.
- American Cultural Baggage, by Nussbaum
- Cross Cultural Connections and Cross Cultural Servanthood, by Duane Elmer
- Culture from the Inside Out, by Alain Cornes
- Figuring Foreigners Out and The Art of Crossing Cultures, by Craig Storti
Become familiar with principles and methods related to language learning.
- How to Learn Any Language. Resource with lots of principles, ideas, etc. about learning languages in general
- Language Impact Some ideas for language learners
- Program In Language Acquisition Techniques (PILAT)
- Language Acquisition Made Practical (LAMP), by Brewster and Brewster
- Lingua Links
- Other resources, by SIL
- Language Coach and Language Learners CDs by Institute for Cross Cultural Training (ICCT)
Begin language learning now.
- Use Internet websites and computer-based software. Here are a few. Surf the web for others.
- Take classes at a local university
- Hold language classes at your church and taught by a qualified teacher
Some practical suggestions:
- Learn at least the following things before arrival in the country:
- Alphabet (if other than Latin-based)
- Basic greetings and leave-takings
- Basic expressions of politeness
- Basic expressions needed for shopping
- Basic expressions needed for ordering food and drink
- Learn about the country (history, current events, important people, worldview, etc)
- Read the newspaper online
- Listen to music in the target language
- Locate speakers of the target language for conversation groups (such as language teachers in the local schools and universities)
- Follow the progress of a national sports team in the country where you are going