Posted in Africa Culture Shock Current Events Language Learning

Then and Now: How our Perspectives Have Changed throughout our First Term

In just a few days, we will be packing up to leave our village so that we can spend 16 months in the States completing our MAs in Applied Linguistics / Bible Translation. As we pack up our suitcases, we are reminded of the thoughts and feelings that we had when we left America 4 years ago. We are coming to realize that many of the perspectives that we held to on the plane ride over have changed. For instance, we now realize that… Language Learning is a Beast. On the plane ride over, I was sitting next to a…

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Posted in Current Events Language Learning

Thankful for a Successful Tone Workshop!

I distinctly remember saying that I was willing to be a Bible translator but I was unwilling to translate the Bible for a tonal language, because that would be just too hard. But after support raising, French school, culture shock, all with four young children, a tonal language did not seem so bad. Every stage of our missionary journey has seemed impossible, so why not add learning and analyzing a tonal language to the list? We have sought not to focus on the life task of translating the Bible, but instead have tried to just conquer what is just ahead…

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Posted in Current Events Language Learning Prayer

Slaying the Beast of Tone: Two Week Tone Workshop Starting Tomorrow

Our greatest enemy in the Bakoum language is hands down the fact that it carries its meaning in how high or how low one’s voice is. That’s right, it is a tonal language. And so far this great enemy is more-or-less defeating us. I believe that it is because of tone that we are not yet able to tell Bible stories in Bakoum to the children in our village. We have the right words, but we simply read the words using the wrong tones. I wonder if there is anyone who can tell me the difference between column A and…

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Posted in Africa Language Learning

Yesterday I Crushed a Log in the Latrine with a Rock

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.

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Posted in Africa Culture Shock Language Learning

Thigh, Breast or Door? The Joys of Learning a Tonal Language

by Stacey Hey, can you go close the thigh? Oh, I mean the…breast? Nope…the door…that’s it…the door!How could we get these words so mixed up? Let us just tell you that they have the exact same consonants and vowels. And if they have the exact same consonants and vowels then they are the same word that has several different meanings…right? Wrong. We have now officially entered into the realm of tonal languages where meaning is differentiated not just by different vowels and consonants but also by the pitch of one’s voice. So (we think) “door” is said with a higher…

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Posted in Current Events Language Learning

Village Joys

By Stacey Oh there are so many things that I love about our lives here in Cameroon. One such thing is never knowing quite what to expect when we walk out of our front door each day. As far as our daily routine, each day, Dave and I study the language with a language partner and then in the afternoons we try to go out into the neighborhood and practice what we learned. And we usually learn a lot more then just Bakoum in the process. For instance, the other day, we learned how to pull of the legs and…

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Posted in Language Learning

[VIDEO] French Testing Hidden Camera

by Dave and Stacey We wanted to let you all get a glimpse of what exam week looks like here in France so we snuck a hidden camera into the classroom. And when you are done watching pray that God works a miracle and that our whole class passed. We get our most recent exam results tomorrow! This is tongue in cheek. We REALLY love our school and professors. But the tests are REALLY hard. And I am pretty sure they know that they are really hard too.

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Posted in Language Learning Prayer

Pressing Prayer Requests

by Dave In light of recent events and those upcoming we would like to ask for your prayer. Since we have been in France one of our classmates was diagnosed with cancer, three classmates have lost a parent, and just a couple of days ago one classmate fell down the steps and broke her right arm and fractured her left arm. On top of that two of our co-worker families in Cameroon have had to leave due to medical problems. All of this convinces us that we need your prayers. We know that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood”…

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Posted in Encouragements and Exhortations Language Learning Training

God Bless America: A Response to Secularism in France

I expected France to more like America than it is. Both are Western countries, both have democratic governments and both are committed to religious freedom. So, I assumed that the manifestation of my faith here in France would be more-or-less identical to the expression of my faith in America. As it turns out my presuppositions were wrong. Is Religious Expression…Illegal? We have slowly learned that the “separation between Church in State” in France does not mean what I am used to it meaning. In the States the government seeks to remains “neutral” while allowing all adherents to practice their religion…

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Posted in Language Learning Training

7 Tips for Americans Visiting France

by DaveWe have been in France now for 11 months and I feel like that is long enough to begin to dispense some advice for our American friends. We are certainly not French culture experts, but here are 7 things that might be helpful if you decide to visit (or move to) France:— 1. Prepare Yourself to Feel Like a Giant We are pretty used to it by now, but when we first moved to France it was shocking how much smaller everything was. The people are smaller, the cars are smaller, the food portions are smaller, the refrigerators are…

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