Language learning

Steve Stanley feels good when he finishes a day of language learning among the Kovol people of Papua New Guinea.

The morning consists of three to four hours of finding people, hanging out for a bit and then working through his ‘language for the day’ list. After lunch he gets a chance to take the new recordings, photos and notes he just took and file them away in the computer. Recordings are added to a playlist, dictionary entries are updated and new language learning materials are made. As soon as it is filed away and before the deep analysis starts, it is time for Steve to grab his bag and hat and head out the door again for another practice session or to follow up on something he didn’t catch. After seven hours Steve looks after their three children so Gerdine can have a crack at something language-wise. The Kovol people are still keen to teach them language. It is hard work but progress is being made.

A month into it and fatigue is setting in. They wonder what it is exactly that they need to do to get better energised – spending fewer evenings working, taking naps, taking extra days etc. Steve feels feel that if he takes time off language learning he completes more chores rather than rests.

They are still figuring out their schedule and tempo and are open to making the changes that are needed to make it work.

The team has agreed on a Kovol alphabet. There are still a few things they are not sure about that can be tweaked later. They have also started “words of the week”. Someone on the team gets to pick 10 Kovol words and then they all have a go at spelling each word in the new alphabet. In their team meeting they take ten minutes to discuss the words and those that they agree on have a new standardised spelling. This week was the first time they tried and they agreed on eight out of ten of the words.

Please continue to pray for the Kovol missionary team.