Thursday, July 14, 2005

progress being made

I've (finally) begun the next phase of my language training. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I attend a class in Bangangte with four other students. There's only one other adult, and I think I'm the only one who doesn't speak any African languages. So, I'm sure to be the worst student! I also work one-on-one most weekdays (no set schedule) with one of the senior CEPOM staff. These sessions are supposed to be more academically oriented. To make things "interesting" the class uses a different writing system than the individual tutoring. So far, I'm more comfortable with the tutor's system because it encodes more details about pronunciation, and is closer to the standard transcription system familiar to professional linguists, the International Phonetic Alphabet. The other system, for example, doesn't indicate contrastive tone at all.

At the same time as my class, there's one for people who already speak Medumba, but want to become literate in it. It's explicitly aimed at reading the Christian Bible, and uses the same writing system as my class. We learned in class that there's only one other language indigenous to this part of Cameroon which has a translation of the entire thing, Shupamum. A few other languages have a New Testament.

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