“Afar geesli,” says our Somali language guide, pointing to the square on the screen.
Since last September, our SALT team has started four small groups of people who have been learning the Somali language. These groups initially met face-to-face, but when COVID19 came to Minnesota, we switched to meeting on Zoom.
We have been able to adjust and learn how to best utilize Zoom and continue to grow in our Somali language abilities.
The method we are using is called the Growing Participator Approach (GPA). In it, language learners spend their first 30 hours just listening to the language and responding. This means no reading, writing or talking (with a couple exceptions).
Two of our “Connect” groups are past those 30 hours and are now starting to speak Somali phrases. One group has even gotten as far as being able to say things like “ninkii xanaaqayaa buurta horteeda” (the angry man is in front of the mountain – a very useful term to know in the flatlands of Minnesota).
Why do we continue to press on learning Somali? One reason is we believe God has created Somalis in His image and that in order to show them love, we need to better understand them, including understanding their heart language.
What a blessing it has been to use technology to continue learning more about our neighbors and participate in their community!
If you would like to learn more about our “Connect” language learning groups or are interested in resources on language learning, please contact Melissa Petersen at firstname.lastname@example.org.