Life with twins – it’s going to take a little longer to return to PNG

Regarding the future, we’ve decided to extend our home assignment 6 months and are now aiming to return to PNG in Feb 2021. Right in the middle of our exhausting newborn phase was the deadline for deciding what to do with our rental with our choices being to move to the Netherlands in July or extend our rental for 6 months. Since we don’t have a fixed, predictable income we need to pay for our rent in advance and agree with the landlord on the duration and the minimum we could extend was 5 months. Exhausted and just about coping we couldn’t face attempting to move our family to the Netherlands navigating both the Covid restrictions and the new Brexit restrictions on me traveling to Europe.
So now the plan is to head to the Netherlands in December instead. We’re very much looking forward to spending some time there; Oscar’s grandparents haven’t seen him for about 3 years!

Double trouble

We’re very happy to welcome Alice and Millie into the world. Born on April 6th, they’re a handful! Double the baby is triple the work it seems 🙂 We received a card saying “It’s twins! Double the snuggles.”, which in theory is correct but we’re finding the practice to be very different. We’re so busy changing nappies and feeding them the number of cuddles is actually substantially reduced compared to a single baby!
How do I feel about being the father of twins? Not much, I’m too tired to feel anything! 😀

Designing a Kovol alphabet part 4

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.

Designing a Kovol alphabet part 3

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.

Lockdown life

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!

Designing a Kovol alphabet part 2

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).