Monthly Archives: May 2009

total it up

Wycliffe calls their introductory linguistics and translation course Taste of Translation and Linguistics, or ,  TOTAL It Up!

It’s a week long course, covering anthropology, phonetics, phonology, grammar, translation, and literacy work. A few of my friends have taken it, and they said it was great.

Lord willing, I’ll be leaving my job about the same time in August, and I can take this during August before I leave for London the first of September. It’s about $200 to take the class, including room and board. I’m interested in linguistics and in continuing to work with Wycliffe Bible Translators, so I figure it’s worth a week and $200 to see if I could have a future with linguistics.

Linguistics is super-hard, though, and my mind got so dull with easy class the past two years. What kind of government jobs can you get being a linguist?


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Filed under Words, work, Wycliffe

the need for purpose

It has been said that everyone lives for something.

They may not know it, but they do. You can see it how they live their lives, what they say, their choices. Humans needs stuff like that.

We’re thinking and feeling creatures enough to feel the  need for purpose. I’m just guessing that beavers don’t wander around wondering that their purpose is.

Some people have thought about this and can verbalize that they are living for. “My family is what I live for.” “I just want to have a good time.” “It’s about moderation -working hard and doing things for yourself.” “I live for my kids. For my husband.” Others don’t seem like they have really given any brain time to it.

It’s kind of hard to synthesize and verbalize.

I can’t decide if it’s admirable, pitiable or both, this need  for purpose. Without purpose, we shrink. Nothing can cause depression and despair more quickly than a feeling of one being useless, meaningless, or powerless.

It seems like it either shows an innate understanding that there is something meaningful about life, or it shows the feebleness of our ability to cope with the world, that we must continually try to justify the legitimacy of our existence by searching for meaning.

What a burden, trying to create meaning. Can meaning be created? Is “creating a meaning” an oxymoron-ish statement? Is meaning intrinsic or can it be created?

And if someone responds to this post with the Rob Bell’s “Yup.” or “Both”, i.e. “I’d rather eat a sandwich than think about this”, I’ll yell you at you and tell you to actually engage with me. Or you can go read my other blog, Mythopoetic, which is less mentally-draining.

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Filed under Opinions, Philosophical

Last Languages Campaign

That is what Wycliffe is calling their campaign to raise the necessary billion dollars to start translation work in the last unwritten languages amd languages without scripture.

I posted this video first over six months ago, but I just still find it so striking.

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with kids.

I grew up with three siblings, loads of kids, and I’m seasoned babysitter. I’m not naive. But kids never cease to astound. Yesterday, I had my friend’s three youngest kids, ages 9, 4, and 3.

Within a three hour time block I:

  • Let them scale the parking lot handicapped signs. The 4 year old can get to the top!
  • Endured a crying fit from the 4 year old because he didn’t want to leave his sister
  • Lost to the little scoundrel for the sake of propriety (hey, he’s not my kid) 
  • Made up with him later when he came and sat on my knee
  • Heard the best mis-speak from the 9 year old, “But we don’t like to go there. We’re like… scary cats…”
  • Told one of them to lick his hand completely clean (better that than chocolate smeared all over my car)
  • Wiped the other kid’s fingers on his shirt in lieu of napkins
  •  Prevented them from trolling out the window with a yoyo while we were driving home

Bless their mother.

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Filed under Everyday, internationals

Picturesque from the Flat

Introducing for the very first time:

Picturesque from the Flat


Yes, I have a third blog. This has been under construction for quite some time, and I’ve debated about what it’s purpose should be. The third is quite different from Philosophizings and Mythopoetic.

It’s to be my London blog.

At its inception, it was a photo-blog, and I am hoping to keep up the photo blogging in tandem with my London updates. I’ve got some introductory information up, and I’ll be posting about my progress toward getting to London. So check it out.

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Filed under Explaining things, picturesque from the flat

me on metric

Do you remember your math teacher ever saying something about these lines:

“There are 5280 feet in a mile. You just have to memorize it. The English measuring system is bogus. If we just used metric, it would make a whole lot more sense. I don’t know why we don’t. It’s way easier. But, *sigh, we don’t, so let’s trudge through this.”

I remember hearing this sentiment from more than one teacher growing up. And, along with verbal platitudes like “perfect fifties family”, I’ve heard many other people give lip service to this idea.

I disagree.

Metric is way more confusing than the English system. And it’s not just ’cause I originally learned the English system and use it more often. The numbers and conversions are much easier to understand with the English system. Now, I will concede, I am number-impaired (self-diagnosis). This may be why I like the English system better. But in any case, listen to my argument.

In the English system 1 foot = 12 inches. 1 inch = 2.54 centimenters. and you know the rest.

In metric, 1 meter = 100 centimeters, 1 centimenter = 1,000 meters, 1 kilometer = 1000000000 meters (this part is exaggerated)

The reason metric is touted as being easier is because, “It’s just zeroes and ones. Just move the decimal back and forth.” That’s why it’s hard. It’s just zeroes and ones. The numbers have no personalities. And sure “centi” means hundred, but how do I know what it’s a hundred or hundredth of?

As I said, perhaps it’s the vice of people who can’t remember numbers. But this is how I do numbers: 12 equals a foot. I associate the numbers with something. The number 12 is “owned” by foot.

You can’t use that method with metric. It’s just a lone 1 and the occassional companion or gaggle of 0’s. It leaves the numbers much to abstract to comprehend.

And that’s why I don’t like metric.


Filed under Explaining things, Opinions

“The World in Words”

I hope you don’t run into me within the next few days. If you do, prepare to hear at least one anecdote about my latest obsession, “The World in Words” podcast.

It seems to be hand-designed to interest me. I like everything they talk about, probably because they are talking about everything I like.

The podcast is all about languages.

The host is Patrick Cox. He’s talks about pidgins and creoles, language-learning trends, translation difficulties… It just too good. It’s put on by the BBC and Public Radio International (PRI). I first heard about it when Mr. Cox came to Wycliffe to interview Wycliffe USA’s president, Bob Creson.

I’ve downloaded all of the episodes I’ve missed and subscribed for future. Fortunately, it’s been broadcasting for a while, so it will be a week or two before I caught up and have to wait for the weekly installments.

Topic broadcasting simultaneously on {Mythopoetic}.

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Filed under mythopoetic, Words, Wycliffe