Category: Language

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Meat? People of hair?

The Greek word σαρξ (sarx) gets a variety of translations. Sometimes it means meat or flesh. In Luke chapter 3 verse 6 the message from Isaiah (40:5) is a promise that after the way is cleared, all σαρξ will see the God’s salvation. The Hebrew word was בָּשָׂר֙ ‘basar’, which has a similar (but not …

You will know that I am the LORD

Reading Ezekiel with my daughter Rebekah is very interesting. The other day we had a chapter (2) that reminded her of Taffy Tegumai in Rudyard Kipling’s Just so stories. (“For they are a rebellious people.”) All the way through it’s been mildly disconcerting to have Ezekiel addressed as “Son of Man” if you’re used to …

How do we write this? Grammaticalisation causing trouble

There are many conundrums in writing the Ishɛ language that I’ve been aware of for some years. One is how to write a verb that pops up in natural speech sounding like ‘aguna‘, or ‘ugunu‘ or ‘egune‘, often explained as meaning ‘again’. (In the negative the construction doesn’t mean ‘again’ so much as ‘no longer’ …

App updates: Naija Type & Ashɛ testing

After 2 weeks of hard work some improved text is available in the latest Ashɛ scripture test app for Android phones. (Let me know if there’s any interest in an iOS version.) Some suggestions and bug reports have led to an updated Naija Type Android keyboard app and Keyman keyboard (usable in iOS with Keyman).

Quickly building (Keyman) Predictive Text keyboards

The excellent Keyboard App Builder helps you build keyboards for Android devices, wrapping the very clever Keyman Android Engine. I’ve been working on a keyboard for the Nigerian languages I know and one feature I’ve been experimenting with is predictive text, where the keyboard suggests what it thinks you may be saying so you can …

Naija Type – a keyboard for Nigeria

Can you type the ₦ Naira symbol correctly and easily? The Koro Ashɛ team and many others have asked me about the best way of typing their languages correctly on phones, I’ve been putting together an Android App and a KeyMan keyboard. It includes the ₦ symbol and all kinds of letters like ə ɛ …

Nigerian Bible Translation History – inspiring & painful

‘…the “Sword of the Spirit” [the Bible], placed in the hands of the congregations, in their own tongue, will do more… than all our preaching, teaching and meetings of so many years put together’ – Samuel Ajayi Crowther “Dr Samuel Ajayi Crowther was the first African bishop in the Anglican Church and the first African Bible …

Anathema

Why might someone call down curses on themselves? Fury with God or with self? Despair? What does it mean for someone to be blighted by witchcraft? Why would anyone ask for that? These questions pop up when looking at Romans chapter 9:3 in Nigerian languages, because while ‘cursing’ and ‘swearing’ are treated somewhat lightly or …

Best Practices for developing and using Best Practices?

Many organisations have a concern for developing and checking conformity to Best Practice. Bible translation is no exception. Often Best Practice comes about after people notice recurring failures or a variety of good and bad outcomes. It seems to be part of a Western-style obsession with not just coping but striving after excellence or trying …

Ashɛ Story 1: Tortoise and the Feast in the Sky

Listen to the story in Ishɛ language while you read along below