Today we covered some interesting ground, and a number of people spoke about the need for translation for those language groups that had not yet been reached. I must admit I’m pretty amazed at some of what Wycliffe has to offer, not just in the way of linguists and translators and missionaries, but also in those who can support through IT, maintenance, transportation… There truly is no skill that cannot be used to spread God’s word.
One of the speakers began a discussing IPA later in the day, covering mostly vowels and anatomical considerations. I was glued on David during this point. Still have some “homework” to do in relation to it.
Two of the speakers earlier in the day shared things that were quite notable, which I will try to repeat here as closely as I can remember them. One is serious and one is funny. I’ll start with the serious. Dennis Cochrane recounted a time sitting with a man from a people group that had received the New Testament in their language:
The man, after reading and being moved by a particular passage, asked Dennis a question: “Did your father have God’s ‘carving’?” “Yes.” The man got quiet, as embarrassing someone was something to be avoided in that tongue. “Did your father’s father have God’s ‘carving’?” “Yes.” The man got quiet again, still avoiding trying to avoid embarrassing the translator. “Did your father’s father’s father have God’s ‘carving’?” “Yes.”
The man was once again quiet. But he did not go further in this vein of questioning. And Dennis said he was glad that he did not go further. Because deep inside he knew the question would have been, “If you people have had God’s word for so long, why did it take so long?” Then he added, “And if he had asked that question, I would have been embarrassed.”
And I can’t add much to that, other than to share it with you.
On a lighter note, discussing the danger inherent in learning another language, Ed Loving shared an unfortunate episode where a man was recounting that his wife could not bear children:
His first attempt to share this information was, “My wife is inconceivable.” Noting that this was not received well, he tried again: “She is impregnable…” Still facing a great language barrier, he finally tried, “She is unbearable!”
My particular favorite is the “impregnable” line. That is so punny that I could hardly contain myself.