- How do you give translated scripture to one tribal group that has been split for 30 years over two spelling systems for writing their language? Answer: Try non-print approaches, audio and video recordings of the translation. There is no spelling to be seen.
- But I would be worried if this dispute over spelling became the primary grounds for choosing an entirely non-print approach.
In the case of the Roman/Cyrillic split, there are two established writing systems each used for languages of wider communication and belonging to a complete historic literary tradition. The transfer from one to the other was probably legislated at some time by the state (I am guessing) and people have been educated primarily in one or the other, depending on their age.
In the North American situation, each system probably has local use, and is not a part of a long-standing literary tradition. The written traditions exist, and need to be honoured. The recommendation to print in both systems is valid, and now plausible. However, the move towards a non-print medium may well be dependent on other factors.
I have personally sat in on conferences where an indigenous North American language is used for oral communication and all notes and agendas are in English. Often there is a real spliit between literacy in the language of wider communication, French, English or Spanish, and a thriving minority oral language culture.
In this case, the reason for choosing non-print approaches to the scriptures is dependent on a communication bias that acts against first language literacy, but is strongly dependent on first language oral communication for face-to-face, radio, and phone communication. The telephone and radio have often replaced to a certain extent minority language literacy vehicles like newspapers and letters. *
This phenomenon is well-recognized around the world and was part of the impetus for the work of Gospel Recordings, now called Global Recordings. This work was started by Joy Ridderhof who developed a very simple technology for playing recorded portions of the Bible without electricity for those areas of the world where indigenous first language literacy was not well established.
- What could God do with a woman full of faith and love for Him? What could He do with a woman too weak in body to be a long-term field missionary? What could He do with her if her joy was unquenchable?
- Joy Ridderhof, founder of Gospel Recordings, proved the answer. With a tangible impact in over 4,000 people groups and a ministry that has remained on the leading edge of mission strategy for half a century, there is no doubting that God has done a marvelous thing through His humble daughter.
- Mission Frontiers (Note: I did not personally write this nice little piece of prose. I wish I had though!)
(HT Justin Taylor)
The debut of The Tailenders is July 25, and by clicking where it says check local listings I was able to find that this film will be aired at 10:00 pm. on August 3 on KCTS, Seattle. Perfect!
The website will also
- feature interviews with filmmaker Adele Horne as well as with Larry Eskridge, the associate director of the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals, and Dr. Peter Ladefoged, one of the world’s foremost experts on endangered and disappearing languages. Our companion website also links to other websites and resources on evangelism and endangered languages.
*The internet is not available as yet in the vast majority of these literacies. That alone should tell us something about the future of these systems. I don't mean that the codepoints don't exist, in most cases they do. However, this is just the first step in the many stages of development. Have you ever wondered how many major scripts Google actually works for. Quite a lot, but not quite as many as are advertised.
PS: I think it was the Ladefoged reference that really caught my eye. One of my favourite textbooks!
Note: This has been updated to correct a wrong link.