Ishɛ translation update: I’m a wondering about ‘amma’…

Years ago when starting work with the Koro Ashɛ translation team (whose language is called Ishɛ) the translators asked me about an issue they had. There were too many Hausa words in it. In particular the word ‘amma‘. It’s a common conjunction rather like English ‘but‘ and you do actually hear it frequently in conversation. […]

Are we gospelly?

A rare guest appearance from Julie! (Perhaps I’ll persuade her to contribute more here.) Sometimes we may think we have thought of something for the first time and it turns out that someone else got in there before us. In Bible translation work nowadays we are committed to using local languages to express Biblical concepts, […]

Languages of Wilder Confusion: Big Words, Big Trouble

“What I like about English,” a student pastor told me at the end of one class, “is that you have so many special words for things, so that means you can think and talk about so much more than we can in our own languages.” This sounds fairly convincing. English has a word ‘justification’ and […]

Another ‘eggcorn’ or ‘cat phrase’: Hand your head in shame

Reading a comment here criticising Apple the writer finished with a surprising rhetorical flourish: “Go hand your head in shame, Apple: you’re still not doing software engineering right.” Now, when you’re lambasting someone for doing something stupidly wrong, wouldn’t you try to make sure you don’t do the same thing yourself? Of course in true […]

A systems approach… Systems Engineering can help healthcare and maybe Bible translation too?

In a fascinating lecture from my alma mater (Trinity Hall, Cambridge), Professor John Clarkson talks through how he cut his teeth on engineering challenges that gave him a ‘systems approach’ to all kinds of other problems. He applies what he’s learned to a process for improving healthcare. I think there’s something here for Bible Translators […]

Go to the ant

In the mid-19th century, the renowned French/Russian entomologist Jean-Marie Syccof discovered and described the behaviour of an intriguing group of ants native to Algeria. These days everyone knows how fiercely ants will defend their queen, but before Syccof’s time understanding of the social behaviour of ants was less clear. The queen herself hides deep in […]