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Category: Languages (page 1 of 10)

Let The LAMP Die: Missionary Language Learning

Outdated language learning techniques still hang on in the mission community, despite better options being available out there. What does this say about our ability to adapt to the future?

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Land and Identity

The British press has been full of stories about immigration, recently. Depending on the newspaper you read, you may have discovered that immigrants threaten the social fabric of the UK or that they bring nothing but economic and cultural benefits. However, you would have struggled to find much about the way in which moving from one culture to another can have on the immigrant. This song by Gilles Servat captures this side of things wonderfully. It is written from the perspective of a Breton going to live in Paris, but…

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Did Pentecost Reverse Babel?

When considering the significance of tongues throughout the pages of Scripture, one may begin to wonder why God desires to hear His praise in every language. Why not just teach everyone Korean, the language of Heaven? Instead, He seems to desire strongly both an array of languages and praising lips from each one. In Revelation 7, readers discover that in eternity, it is not merely one voice that lifts its praise to Almighty God. In eternity, it is one voice in many languages. This excellent quote from Ed Stetzer comes…

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Consider, therefore, the implications of these facts for speakers of other tongues – for speakers of languages that have only recently emerged from predominantly oral to written cultures, for speakers of “dying” languages  and for speakers of languages and dialects restricted to local use. The very scope of English makes it a ready instrument of empire. It bears within it the imperial history of Britain and America, which includes a highly developed discourse of justification for colonialism and domination (consider terms like “errand in the wilderness,” “new world,” “virgin land,” “manifest destiny,” “advancement” and “progress”) that can’t…

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Books I Have Read: Found In Translation

One of the great delights in life is reading a book by someone who really loves what they do and who communicates it well. Over the years I’ve read some fascinating books on subjects as far apart as quantum mechanics and molecular virology. Popular science writing is hard to do, but when it is done well, it is wonderful. Found in Translation by Nataly Kelly and Jost Zetzsche is a superb example of a book written by practitioners who have a gift for explaning their subject. It is informative without being…

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Languages In Nigeria

Next month, I’m travelling out to Nigeria, where I will be speaking at a retreat for my colleagues out there. It was a nice encouragement to read this peace in the Nigeria Guardian which is very complimentary about Wycliffe’s work there: FEBRUARY 21, the International Mother Language Day, provided an opportunity to take a critical look at our languages as Nigerians. Because of the second fiddle nature Nigerian languages have assumed in our own society, it is pertinent to ask: Who is Killing Nigerian languages — foreigners or the language…

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African Writing Systems

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Praying in Our Own Languages

Many in Kenya’s Bibleless people groups believe their languages have no value… “A man in the Sabaot community of Western Kenya prayed aloud in his mother tongue in a gathering. Afterward, another man stood up and apologized to God for him praying in a language God wouldn’t understand; he then prayed in Swahili so God would understand.” (Read the full story.) This is why I got so emotional when I heard Kouya being used in an international gathering! Thanks to Hannah for pointing out this article to me.

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The Queen’s English?

The Guardian has a fascinating article on the way English is spoken in Ghana. It seems that there is a debate going on in Ghana between those who believe that Ghanaians should speak ‘the Queen’s English’ trying to mimic so-called ‘received pronunciation’, because they think that sounding English is prestigious, and those who value being multilingual and prefer to sound Ghanaian when they speak English: “The idea that intelligence is linked to English pronunciation is a legacy from colonial thinking,” said Delalorm Semabia, 25, a Ghanaian blogger. “People used to think…

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An Old, Old Problem

Archaeologists have recently unearthed fragments of a prayer letter from the first Roman missionaries to England along with part of the a response from one of their supporters. You might find it interesting. Dear Friends, Well we’ve been in England for a year now and we are slowly getting used to life here. You wouldn’t believe the weather. The climate is no where near as comfortable as the weather back home in Rome, it is far too cold most of the time. You wouldn’t believe what the nationals call summer…

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