Ndop Language Needs Tone Solution
A Wycliffe linguist is working hard in Cameroon to finalize a way to indicate tones in a language that is part of the Wycliffe Canada-sponsored Ndop Cluster project.
Jane Ingle is doing research so she can propose a suitable writing system for marking tone (rising and falling pitch) in the Bamunka language and test it later this year. Getting this finalized is essential before the New Testament in Bamunka can be published in 2017.
The Ndop Cluster (see Word Alive, Fall 2015) has 10 languages, with one published New Testament and two others already in draft form: Bamunka and Bambalang.
Cameroonian Chosen to Lead SIL
For the first time in its history, SIL International (Wycliffe’s key field partner) is headed by a non-westerner. Dr. Michel Kenmogne was chosen by the SIL board of directors to be the next executive director (see photo on left), succeeding Freddy Boswell of the U.S. this past May.
More than 700 invitees, including Cameroon government representatives, foreign ambassadors, clergy and university professors, attended a commissioning service for Kenmogne in Yaoundé in late February.
Called “Cameroon Townsend” by one government minister who jokingly alluded to SIL’s first director Cameron Townsend, Dr. Kenmogne will be looked to for leadership by SIL’s 5,000 staff from 80 countries. He has firsthand experience with the needs of minority language groups, since the new director is a speaker of Ghomálá’, one of Cameroon’s local languages spoken by 350,000 people. His community’s fight to be able to worship God in their own language helped form Dr. Kenmogne’s motivation to serve God through the ministry of Bible translation.
Dr. Kenmogne also comes with a wealth of leadership experience and extensive knowledge of linguistics. He previously served as the director of Wycliffe Global Alliance for Francophone Africa, was the director of Cameroon Association for Bible Translation and Literacy (CABTAL), and lectured at several universities in Africa.
You can read Dr. Kenmogne’s story here.
Facebook Useful in Scripture Distribution
Social media is proving to be a useful tool to distribute and test newly translated Scriptures in the Mediterranean region.
Recently, 110,000 people accessed parts of the book of Genesis in a minority language on Facebook.
Psalm 6 in another language of that region had more than 20,000 Facebook “likes.” The number of Facebook fans visiting that language site has reached about 55,000.
Translation teams are seeking prayer for God’s guidance and wisdom as they continue to try to use this media effectively.
SIL Literacy and Education Specialists Contribute to Vancouver Conference
Several literacy and education specialists from SIL, Wycliffe’s key partner organization, played key roles in the 60th annual conference of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES), held this past April in Vancouver.
The SIL specialists, including several from Canada, helped plan the conference, chaired sessions and presented research focused on better applying language and education initiatives for minority language communities. About 2,700 people from 100-plus nations attended.
For example, Dr. Barbara Trudell introduced a panel discussion called “Good Answers to Tough Questions in MLE” [multi-lingual education], announcing a new, soon-to-be-released SIL resource by the same name.
CIES is the world’s largest conference focusing on education development.
A Dozen New DRC Language Websites Launched
Personnel from 12 language projects in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, Africa, participated in a two-week seminar that yielded their own websites.
They were trained to set up and maintain websites, created in their mother tongues, with the option of adding a French tab and/or a trade language. Participants uploaded printed resources such as their translated Scriptures, dictionaries, songs and literacy materials, as well as audio recordings of Scripture, Bible stories, the “JESUS” film dubbed in their own language, and music.
Language workers are hoping that word about the websites spreads quickly so God’s Word is widely circulated among their people.
Powerful Prayer Support for Bible Translation
Global Bible translation is being upheld by an international group of intercessors, through the South Korean-based All Nations Prayer Center (ANPC), also known as Prayer24365.
Distributing information through its website (www.prayer24365.net), ANPC has about 18,000 listed intercessors from 90-plus countries, praying for one hour daily in chained prayers for 24 hours, 365 days a year. The overall goal is the revival of the Kingdom of God and the completion of the Great Commission.
Bible translation-focused prayer through ANPC was initiated by Global Bible Translators, the South Korean organization that, like Wycliffe Canada, is part of the Wycliffe Global Alliance.
Complex Script Technologies Get Boost
The font for languages in Southwest Asia that use complex sloping-style Arabic for writing is being developed by the team at SIL’s Non-Roman Script Initiative.
Team members are revising the font for languages that use Nastaliq style, based on input from a variety of field users, and are designing more characters for additional minority languages. The font will allow people to read Scriptures in their heart language, whether in print or on digital devices.
Meanwhile, Wycliffe’s key field partner, SIL, has also been invited to participate in efforts to enhance OpenType, an important computer industry technology to better support complex scripts.
Staff are working closely with Google, Microsoft and other companies, since SIL successfully developed similar technology called Graphite, and is known for its overall expertise in minority language writing systems.
The resulting improvements could have a major impact on many languages that need Bible translation.