Now that I’m back in My Country, I’ve restarted what we call “CLA,” which stands for “Culture and Language Acquisition.” And the last few days I’ve been reminded that there really is a whole lot of culture involved, not just language. Let me share two examples with you.
Example One: Who is she?
In this stage of CLA, I’m working with picture books – stories that are told simply in pictures. With these, I work together with my language helper to describe what is going on in each picture, then, after I have that vocabulary, we tell the story together and I start to learn how to tell stories, too.
The two pictures above are the first two pictures in this story. It is clearly a story that takes place in Africa, but I realized that the culture in the story is very different than the culture here. Most of the pictures in this picture book follow directly one after the other, but we found a big gap between these two pictures.
For you, who do you think is carrying the fruit on her head in the first picture? After we finished going through the story, I realized that the lady carrying the fruit is supposed to be the mom of the kids, bringing the fruit home from market or something. But for both me and my language helper, we automatically assumed that it was someone who was coming to SELL fruit to the mom, which led to the “missing” picture of the mom buying the fruit from the lady.
Why did we both think that? Well, it’s just because anyone you see around here who is carrying fruit on their head for everyone to see would be selling it! If you buy something, you want to hide it so that everyone won’t ask you to share it. So if you WERE to carry it on your head, it would be in a tall basin so that people couldn’t see what you were carrying. But most people who buy fruit will carry it in a bag in their hands; but those who walk around and sell it will usually carry it on their head, not in their hands. Interesting!
Example 2: How do you carry it?
That brings me to what I learned today. We’re in a new story, and on the first page of this story the farmer is carrying his fishing pole on his shoulder. And so I learned the word for “carry on your shoulder.” And that word is different from the word used in the story above, “carry on your head.” And both of those are different than the word used for what the farmer here is doing with the can of worms, “carry in your hand.” And they are also all different than the word used for what you do with a baby or a backpack, “carry on your back.”
For now, I just need to learn 4 completely different “carry” verbs. But later it may get more complicated, when we try to translate the Word of God into My Language. Each time we come to a verb “carry” in the Bible, we’ll have to figure out how they carried it to know how to translate it:
- carry on their shoulder?
- carry on their head?
- carry in their hand?
- or carry on their back?
There are probably more options, too, since I don’t know how you’d say “carry in your arms” or “carry together with someone else.” Can you think of other ways you can carry things, too? Or can you think of Bible verses with the verb “carry” that may be ambiguous, at least in the way it’s translated in English?