Posted in Bible Translation Christian Missions Encouragements and Exhortations Linguistics Oral Bible Storying

“There is only one true God”

A Recap on the Oral Bible Storying Workshop This last Wednesday we spent nearly 8 hours in an Oral Bible Storying (OBS) workshop with about 20 Kwakum men and women. Together we wrestled to understand the context and meaning of the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18. The goal of this meeting was to begin to give our friends an idea of what OBS is going to look like in the future. Particularly we wanted them to understand that it was going to be a lot of work. A goal that was achieved as…

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Posted in God’s Work in Cameroon Linguistics Literacy Prayer

Kwakum Community Choosing an Alphabet on Tuesday: Please Pray

The first time we met members from one particular village, after we explained that we wanted to write down their language and translate the Bible, said, “If you don’t pick the letter for the sound “s” that we want, we won’t touch your Bible.” These words echo in my mind as THE meeting to choose an alphabet approaches. This Tuesday, in a Kwakum village called Beul, representatives from every Kwakúm village will be coming to decide which letters they want to represent the sounds of their language. I have been indirectly preparing for this meeting for years and intensely preparing…

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Posted in Bible Translation Linguistics

Does Discourse Analysis Matter?

What is discourse analysis? How does it relate to Bible translation? Is it even important?

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Posted in Bible Translation Christian Missions Current Events God’s Work in Cameroon Linguistics

[Newsletter] Heading back to Cameroon

Where we have been. We arrived in the US in March 2017, and you may be thinking we have just been vacationing. Au contraire my friends, we have been quite busy. Let me tell you what we have been up to. STUDY. The majority of our time has been spent in Dallas, TX where we have been studying at the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics. The reason we were here is because we knew that we needed more training before we began translating the Bible. At GIAL took the following classes: Advanced Grammar Advanced Phonology Cross-cultural Teaching Seminar Discourse Analysis…

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Posted in Africa Bible Translation Linguistics

D.O.N.E. Writing System in Hand and a (Tired) Smile on my Face

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela By God’s grace through much coffee, loud dance music, many late nights, hundreds of neglected emails, and a year’s worth of dreams about tone, we now have a writing system in the Bakoum language!   If I was not convinced that revisions will be necessary, I’d consider getting a tattoo of the Bakoum alphabet – just as an expression of my joy.   Not only do we have a system of writing (with tone markings, I might add), but through Dave’s work we have a solid understanding of how the…

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Posted in Linguistics

Science is a small ‘god’

It is the glory of the Lord to conceal things. Proverbs 25:2 One of my all-time favorite movies is Arrival where a renowned linguist is called upon to figure out how to communicate with aliens (who don’t have mouths…). I love this movie because I now have a point of reference to describe my work to people: “What I do is like what the linguist in Arrival does except that it takes a lot longer and we work with humans, not aliens.” People seem to get that. And, within the movie, my absolute favorite part, which totally describes how I…

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Posted in Bible Translation Linguistics

How Do You Translate Without Numbers?

When discussing some of the difficulties of Bible translation with people, often I will hear them say, “I think you should just translate the Bible word-for-word.” Actually, I think I have said that before! However, as it turns out, it is not that easy.  As I have studied linguistics for the last 20 weeks a host of translation issues have come up. Consider this section of Zechariah’s Prophecy in Luke 1: 76And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, 77 to give knowledge of salvation to…

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