The Phonetics Passport

International health experts have determined that a Covid Passport requirement for international travelers is the best way to prevent the spread of the deadly virus. Many countries are falling in line and conforming to this rule with little protest. This new trend has prompted the International Language Organization (ILO) to adopt a similar standard for people traveling abroad with the intention of learning new languages. The ILO has determined that those representing companies or religious organizations must learn to speak correctly with very little or no foreign accent. By extensive scientific linguistic speech analysis of thousands of businessmen and missionaries, ILO has concluded that adults do not speak well without phonetic training. The ILO experts tell us that without skill in phonetics, the language learner will learn the new language with a distracting, annoying, permanent foreign accent. Therefore, this organization is requiring proof that the language learner has completed an extensive course in articulatory phonetics in order to enter another country. Both businessmen and missionaries are voicing their opposition to this new ruling, but with no effect. The ILO will not relent. The new law will take effect on October 15th, and a Phonetic Passport will be required. They have made it clear that they will not consider exemptions on religious grounds. We strongly suggest that missionaries either reach their intended field before this law comes into effect or make plans to obtain training in phonetics.

Well, as you might have guessed, I am just pulling your leg. There is no such thing as the ILO (as far as I know). There is no Phonetics Passport. No one is requiring missionaries to go to the field properly trained in phonetics; it is not the law. But it should be! It is not a felony to speak a new language with a foreign accent, but why do it when you don’t have to? Read the articles entitled “Don’t Leave Home Without It” and “Why Do You Talk Funny?” in the back issues of our publication Lift Up Your Eyes and see why we say, “No missionary should attempt to learn a new language without a thorough study of phonetics.” Articular Phonetics is a vital part of our Advanced Missionary Training. Along with many other valuable linguistic skills, we give the missionary student over 150 literal classroom hours of instruction in phonetics absolutely fee.