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Re: Re: Re: phonetic pronunciation

I have been reminded by this discussion, of my Peace Corps training.
We arrived in Niger on a Monday morning, and told we would have 8 weeks of French training.  Classes were from 8 to noon, and 4 to 6.  There would be no tests, but it would be a good idea to know the words for directions, food, and drink, before we would be given money for the weekend and turned loose at noon Saturday.
And we were told that in our 5th week, we were to speak nothing but French from 8 until 6 every day.  The 7th week, we were to speak nothing but French from Monday morning until Saturday noon.
We didn't have to talk at all.  We could mime or use other way to get ideas across, but no spoken words but French.  And no reading except French.
Gradually we became aware that whiile Niger is officially French speakiing, and government officials use French at work, 90% of the Nigeriens didn't know French.  After 8 weeks of French, we would be given 6 weeks of a local language, depending on where we were each to be stationed.
Actually, due to things happening, I never got to take a local language until I had been there a year.  
Well, what happened was my then wife got food poisoning and nearly died, an classes were skipped.
Not knowing the local language was OK. because as a plant breeder assigned to a research station, I'd actually be using French on a daily basis.  And actually, Engish was understood by nearly everyone at the research station, as scientific papers are often published in English.  And at least a summery is in English.
And some of the Nigerien scientists had done grad school in the USA.  I had taken a class with the man who was promoted to head the research station by my third year there.
During the time there, I learned to tell which plants were native, and which had been introduced, and from where, by the sound of the names of the plants.
An exception was the peanut, gudjia, a Hausa name, but I knew peanuts were native to South America.  Turns out, gudjia was the name for any small underground things you eat.  But that use was being lost as there was only one small underground thing still being commonly eaten.

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