Work in Progress

A Rowbory family blog from Nigeria

Proud to be (partially) Ugandan

OK, I’m not Ugandan in any political sense – and probably to be honest only sentimentally – but still it’s one of the countries I’m probably proudest of. I came across this which fanned those flames again: In the minds and affections of the home Church in modern days the place of Uganda has been …

Complex Identity

I think it’s fair to generalise that Nigerians are much more likely to strike up conversation than British people and are into somewhat robust jocularity. Rebekah unfortunately doesn’t always quite understand that some rather direct an ludicrous request (such as “Will you dash (=give) me your skirt to wear?”) is actually playful nonsense. Anyway, sometimes if …

Jos church attack

Many of you will have heard about the attack on a church in Jos early yesterday morning. We and all friends are completely fine. We had good advice from our leadership in the group from soon after the attack and just stayed at home. Reasonably high security around the city has been stepped up but …

WeSay hacks: New kinds of tasks

There are some tasks that the WeSay Configuration Tool doesn’t let you configure directly. But you can write your own quite easily (as someone else has discovered) since the XML configuration file format has quite a lot of scope for extension using just Notepad or another text editor. Here we show how to do this …

Why Dictionaries Matter in Bible Translation

Here’s a disclaimer: I first came to Nigeria in 2001 on a short term trip to help people finish off a dictionary as part of a Bible translation project. I thought that might be the last of my dictionary-making, but even though it’s not really my job now I reluctantly find myself drawn back to …

WeSay: Dictionary-Making For New Linguists

There is a fantastic program called WeSay for facilitating dictionary development. It’s particularly aimed at helping people gather and describe words in their own language even without strong computer experience or traditional linguistic training. It doesn’t replace analysis tools like FieldWorks, but presents a complementary approach and is interoperable. Where Fieldworks lets you document a …

Meaningless! Meaningless! Literal is Meaningless!

Executive summary: ‘Literal’ is a darling word for many, attractive because it suggests straightforward, direct and reliable communication. However, the fact is that it gets used to mean quite a few different things by different people and if subjected to sufficiently intense scrutiny the assurances it offers are shown to be meaningless. While carrying emotive …

Scelolytic

adj characterised by legs falling off. eg. “Daddy, I’m scelolytic. Pick me up.” From Greek σκελος part, leg + λυω to loose, unhitch. Variant Podilytic.

‘Al Gore’ quotes from over a century before

A couple of curious Wikipedia lookups in the realm of History turned up an intriguing Irish-origin French General who gets remembered for unfortunate quotes, including these: Concerning the floods of the Garonne river of 1875, in Toulouse he exclaimed “So much water! So much water!” (Que d’eau! Que d’eau!). After the Republicans’ victory in the …

Surprisingly effective fan-less laptop cooling in hot places

I never really had a problem in the UK with my MacBook Pro getting too hot, but Nigeria’s another story. With ambient temperatures often around 35°C rather than 20°C, and when stressing the processor a fair bit, the processor was often running up to 90s°C, so that the fan had to kick on. Eventually it …