When the kids started on their usual morning things, I went and worked through the Mother Tongue Draft of chapter 15 and part of 16 of Genesis with Matilda. We’re both improving – she is learning how to tell me shades of meaning of different words, and I’m learning how to set up situations and possibilities so that I get the words or phrases that I need. I find that if I have a couple of possibilities which might work, and then I explain what I want to be able to say, I’ll get back something that might actually work. I’m getting better at asking questions too.
Languages just take time – particularly when you are dealing with the shades of meaning level. I mean in English can you explain to someone else the difference between raise and lift? They are very similar in meaning, but we use them in different contexts.
Raise your hand. Raise the bar. I want a raise. Raise the roof.
Lift your hand. Lift the bar. I want a lift. Get in the lift.
(I could go on . . . raise a crop, raise kids, raise cane, . . . lift a load, lift your feet, lift up your head, . . .). Sometimes the context can make all the difference in the world, particularly with some of the idioms above. I’ve used the same “words” raise and lift, but they carry different shades and areas of meaning. These are the things that can make language learning challenging.
Likewise in Lusi I have 3 words: irai (it goes up), ikaka (it raises up), isoa (it lifts up), but you start combining them and using them the meaning changes.
Irai ikaka lalaunga: He up (began) he raised (to start) his journey.
Irai ga ikakai: He up (began) and he raised himself (stood up).
Ikaka aiera ga irai: He raises its name and it goes up (He praises or gives honor to, makes someone’s name big).
Isoa patu ga irai: He lifts the stone and it goes up.
Anyway, that just goes to show you what kind of fun I am having with Lusi. I’m not being sarcastic. It is very enjoyable work. Kind of like a big puzzle when you don’t know if you have all the pieces or not, but you know that they’ll show up after a while. It’s fun to see the pieces go together. Because what we’re striving for is a complete picture of God’s Word clearly communicated in their language!
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