Check out this sentence! To us it sounds like just one, maybe two, words but to speakers of the language it actually has means:“Yesterday, I crushed a log in the latrine with a rock.”
Each “ko ko” had a different tone and thus this, in the mind of a Bakoum speaker, is not just one word repeated over and over but instead is 5 different words. Whew! I suppose that this can serve as a reminder to pray for you missionary friends learning tonal languages.
Stacey is a wife, mom, linguist, and Bible translator. Right now she is working on the writing system for the Kwakum including how to mark tone. Literacy among the Kwakum is already beginning and translation is scheduled to begin in September 2019!
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Dave and Stacey Hare met at The Master’s College (now The Master’s University) in Santa Clarita, CA. They then went on to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY where they each received their MDivs. Also in Louisville, they adopted four kids from Ethiopia. Their first term on the field they spent learning French and Kwakum. For their first home assignment they each received a Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics, Bible Translation from the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics (now Dallas International University). They currently live in Cameroon, Africa where they serve as Linguists/Bible Translators among the Kwakum (aka Bakoum) people.