The first quarter of 2017 just ended and we’ve spent this week doing reporting and updating spreadsheets after receiving updates from all of our projects in PNG. This is what a lot of our work looks like when we’re in the US. We’ve been working on getting more settled and just recently got our work stations set up in our bedroom. Out of the picture off to the right is Reagan playing on the floor!
We had a little snow this week so the kids got to try out the sleds they got for Christmas for the first time! I am so thankful that our winter has been milder than predicted (so far)!For the 2nd time, we’re living in MA when the Patriots are in the Super Bowl! Since Josh spent some of his formitive years in New England, the Patriots and Red Sox have always been his #2 teams behind Philadelphia. We’re excited to watch the game with friends this weekend!This is Railey. He was asked last minute to help with village checking on the Gumawana language this quarter. He didn’t think he could do this kind of work, but by the second week he was able to speak about the translation and build confidence each day. His uncle helped with this translation for 30 years!Here’s an interesting story that the Gumawana Project Manager shared with us this week to give you some perspective about bible translation.
We used to tell our children “It’s not what you said, but how you said it.” Ever use that with your kids? This is important in translation as well. The New Testament uses a device called rhetorical questions quite a bit. These are not real questions. They sound like questions, but are used for a variety of things in English as well as in Greek. I used to use them with my kids but they were too young to get it. So if I said, “Why would you do that?” I wasn’t really looking for a response. It was more of a rebuke. Or if I were to say “Why don’t you clean your room?” Their response was “Because I don’t want to.” I wasn’t looking for a response, except to go do it. I could even use rhetorical questions to give a polite request to my wife, “Why don’t you close the window? It’s cold in here” rather than saying, “Close the window.”
In Gumawana there is an interesting word that I have been analyzing for many years and seems to be used in rhetorical questions. I don’t claim to have complete control of it yet, but it is very useful in translation. The word is manakae and can be used to be very sarcastic as in Manakae? Vavagim kukumasa? “What? Do you want to die?” This was said to a small child trying to climb a coconut tree. The question was not looking for a verbal response. The speaker wanted the child to get down before he hurt himself. Or when I was to take my turn in looking after our center many years ago, Tomasi said to me, Manakae? Bego kom kuemanadiya? “What? You intend to become the manager?” He was saying to me (as he laughed) “YOU are going to be the manager?” meaning “I doubt you can be the manager”. The word manakae is also used when someone comes to your door. It’s the polite thing to say when greeting someone. It would be similar to English when we say, “What can I do for you?” I’ve been told that if you say, Kaga latuwom? “What do you want?” it is impolite. I think it is not acceptable because it comes across as the speaker assumes the visitor only wants something! In contrast, manakae doesn’t seem to imply this.
Here is an example from Matthew 7:3. Jesus says “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” We rendered this as follows:
“Manakae? Semiyao idi goyo giyaidi mosamosa giyaina nakae matadi goi koogitedi
what friend-your-plural their bad small rubbish small like eye-their in you-seeing-them
go, komi imi goyo gagaidi alovagabugabu nakae toinimi matami goi ikaaiyaka geya kogiteyeta’e?
but you your bad big log like own-your eye-your in it-is.remaining not you-see-it-not-right
“What? You habitually see the sins of your friends’ eyes which are like small pieces of rubbish, but you don’t see your big sins like a log in your own eye, right?”