First Scripture portions drafted in Bende and Pimbwe

June 8, 2014 in Wycliffe, Mark, Africa, Bible translation, Front, Language, Tanzania

Many of you will remember the Bende and Pimbwe language communities that we were working with from 2012-2013 in Katavi Region of western Tanzania. Over the past year since we left Katavi, our colleagues have continued to work with these communities, helping to devise and test writing systems and preparing to start translating the first portions of Scripture into these languages.

We are always excited to hear news of what is happening in Katavi, and wanted to share with you a couple of stories written by our colleague, Karin.

At the end of the short orthography testing workshop in the village of Majimoto (Pimbwe area), I asked the participants to write stories in Pimbwe. This is not only a good way of practicing their Pimbwe writing skills but it will also help me to gain more insights into the language and continue with the analysis. We would also like to publish a small booklet with stories written in Pimbwe. Most participants wrote folktales or about personal experiences. But one group took out a Swahili Bible and started translating a passage from the gospel of Mark into Pimbwe. That really excited me and touched my heart. It is my hope and prayer that it won’t take much longer until we can officially start translating the Bible into Pimbwe so that the people will get God’s word in their mother tongue.

Read the rest of this entry →

“Jesus should have been arrested for destroying their business!”

February 16, 2013 in Wycliffe, Mark, Africa, Bible translation, Church, Front, Mission, Swahili, Tanzania

Our team leader, Richard, and I were driving around Sumbawanga town this afternoon, trying to meet up with regional bishops and church leaders to update them on the progress of writing down the Bende and Pimbwe languages in preparation for Bible translation to start. Arriving at the house of the FPCT (Free Pentecostal Church in Tanzania) Pastor, we were told that he was at a meeting of Sumbawanga church leaders at the EAGT (Evangelical Assemblies of God in Tanzania) church.

Sure enough, when we arrived at the large EAGT church we found not just this pastor, but about 20 leaders from churches across the town. We were grateful for the opportunity to update these pastors on the work that our team has been conducting with the Bende and Pimbwe communities over the past few months, and our hope of seeing Bible translation started soon.

After giving this update, Richard asked the pastors if they had any questions. Read the rest of this entry →

Creating alphabets for the Bende and Pimbwe languages

September 17, 2012 in Wycliffe, Africa, Bible translation, Culture, Front, Language, Mission, Tanzania

“People will believe that God knows them if their language has Scripture in it… they will be very happy!” This was the opinion of Stephen, a speaker of the Bende language in Tanzania’s Katavi Region. But in order for parts of the Bible to be written in a language, there must first be an alphabet that is easy and intuitive for speakers of the language to read. Read the rest of this entry →

Bio-diversity and Linguistic Diversity in God’s Creation

May 13, 2012 in Mark, Bible translation, Culture, Front, Justice, Language, Mission, Tanzania

There are around 6,900 languages spoken around the world today, and probably several million species of plants and animals. A BBC article today suggests that those areas of the world that have a particularly high degree of biodiversity are often the very same areas that are the most linguistically diverse.

The report also mentions that there are a large number of both languages, and also plants and animals, that are endangered and threatened with extinction in the coming decades. What is a Christian response to the fact that this diversity is threatened? Read the rest of this entry →

Bantu Language Development

September 9, 2010 in Prayer, Wycliffe, Bible translation, Language, Tanzania

The majority of language communities in Tanzania are from the Bantu language family. But what is the Bantu family? Where did Bantu language groups come from? How did their single language diverge into 500 distinct languages?

Jeff and Heather, who are working with Wycliffe International and based in South Africa, have given a brief introduction to the Bantu language family:

Bantu_expansionMap of the Bantu expansion – created by Mark Dingemanse

… The Bantu peoples of Africa moved from the areas of modern-day Nigeria and Cameroon east and south to modern-day Kenya and down to South Africa.  The Bantu migration took about 1000 years.  Their language changed along the way, creating a large group of related Bantu languages.

Today, there are more than 500 different Bantu languages spoken by more than 200 million Africans in 17 African countries spanning from the equator to South Africa.  About 250 of these languages have no scripture representing about 14 million people.  Most of the Bantu languages without scripture have not been written down.  Many of the Bantu languages remaining without scripture are located in Tanzania and Uganda.  Learn more about Bantu language projects in Tanzania and Uganda. Read more

Their post goes on to explain how similarities between languages allow for tools to be developed that can take advantage of these similarities, helping one language community to build on the work of others.

Please pray for church leaders and others in these Bantu communities, and particularly for those in Katavi Region of Tanzania who are just starting to work together to make Scripture available in several related Bantu languages there.