Laura and I have been training for just over a week now, and we’re near the end of Second Language Acquisition. What does that mean, anyway?
Part of what we’ve been studying is phonology — how to distinguish and produce speech sounds. Each language around the world has a unique set of sounds that are included — English has 44. Khmer, for example, includes more ng and kh- like consonants. So we’ve been practicing drills to recognize the distinctions between c-, k-, and kh- sounds, and learning how to produce those accurately.
Differences in vowel sounds usually show up in accents. One of the instructors here showed this video:
Of course, she’s speaking English the entire time, but depending on how she shapes her mouth, the “quality” of certain vowels, and adjusting certain consonants, she’s able to produce some fairly distinct sounding sentences!
This particular training isn’t aimed toward learning Khmer — that will be the focus of our year of language training once we arrive in Cambodia. But the number of different sounds we can make and understand now is adding up quickly!
And yes… our tongues are definitely sore!