At this point of the process we’ve found our phonemes and allophones. Phonemes are the significant sounds that will need to be represented by a symbol in the alphabet and allophones are little variations of our phonemes that the alphabet doesn’t need to worry about.
The UK NTM rep asked for a video where I talk about how I got into career missions. Well here it is:
Now’s the fun part, we figure out what sounds should go into a written alphabet and which are just ‘flavours’ of other characters. A basic premise is this: we don’t speak characters in isolation, sounds flow into each other and can cause changes to their neighbours. If we can see that a sound is always caused by a particular environment we don’t need to write it, it’s not a phoneme, a significant sound for the alphabet. It would be an allophone, a special pronunciation of another phoneme in a certain environment.
NTM PNG just made a new video looking into why we spend the time learning tribal languages. It features a few clips from Kovol, check it out:
I think we’re pretty well all settled down now from our move across the globe. It always takes some time to build up a daily routine and a bit of momentum after a big move. The normal mix of emotions of missing friends from PNG, excitement at all the new and shiny and surprise at the changes at home are all there; but the surprise of course is the biggest one this time round!
Last time we introduced the concept of phonemics, that is going from an outsiders perspective of a language (‘etic’) to an insider’s perspective (’emic’). We need to turn our phonetic text (words written exactly as pronounced) into phonemic text (words written in a way intuitive to an native speaker).
We have been here for a full year now. And while many of you have enjoyed the first big snow, we are full in the rainy season. Well you have rain as well throughout the year, and so do we. So what does it mean to be in the rainy season?
Yesterday I was able to join some ladies on a trip to their garden while Lisi my friend and visitor was watching our kids (Philip helped too). I ran down with some young girls and kids the huge mountain. That was fun. On the way down, I learnt lots of ways to say ‘run’ =) This was sooo much faster than the other times when we were dragging/ carrying down our kids with us.
We are very thankful to be back in the UK after a long, and uneventful journey. Despite our best intentions to sleep long deep sleeps we’re still up at 4 am and crashing in the afternoon, but that will come with time. Thanks to everyone who was praying for us, thinking of us and practically supporting us.
This will be the first of 4 blog posts (unless of course I enjoy myself so much I keep talking) detailing the process of choosing an alphabet for a language that doesn’t have one yet.