June 2014

The Philippines: Tod Allman and his family spent January through April in the Philippines, and it was a life changing experience for all of them.  The majority of the people there live in unimaginable poverty.  Tod and his family are planning to return to the Philippines as full time missionaries for the next three years.  Tod will be involved in Bible translation, and his wife, JungAe, will work with other missionaries to build a new orphanage and school.  After three years they’ll evaluate their progress and decide whether or not they should continue, or return to the U.S.  They are seeking prayer and financial partners who are interested in this work.  Would you please consider supporting them through your prayers and finances?  If you’d like to support them, you can go to the Donations page of our web site (www.TheBibleTranslatorsAssistant.org/Donations.aspx), or you can send an email to Richard.Denton@TheBibleTranslatorsAssistant.org.  All donations are tax deductible and greatly appreciated.

Association for Computational Linguistics: Stephen Beale will be presenting a paper on June 26th at a conference dealing with the application of computational techniques to the study of endangered languages.  Steve will present some of the techniques we’ve developed at TBTA, and discuss their application to the process of documenting endangered languages.

Semantic Representation Development: Richard Denton continues to make steady progress on our semantic representations of the Pauline Epistles.  Since our last newsletter, he has completed the initial drafts of 2 Thessalonians and 1 Timothy.

Missions at Biola Univeristy: Ken Nehrbass, one of the Bible exegetes who helps develop the semantic representations for TBTA, has accepted a new teaching position as an assistant professor in the Intercultural Studies department at Biola University, and he’ll also be the program director for the Doctorate of Missiology.Sydney, Australia: Ross Webb, a translation consultant with Wycliffe Bible Translators, is currently a “missionary in residence” at Sydney Missionary and Bible College.  He and some of the students are checking TBTA’s semantic representation of Ruth for accuracy, content, and clarity.  We’re hoping this project will serve to both refine TBTA’s semantic representations, and also increase the students’ interests in Bible translation.

The Languages of the Philippines: There are 181 languages spoken in the Philippines, and most of them do not yet have any part of the Bible.  Almost all of the languages spoken there are classified as Malayo-Polynesian, and structurally they are very similar to one another.  While Tod was there, he worked with speakers of Tagalog, Bikol, and Bisakol, and he developed partial lexicons and grammars for those languages.  During that process, Tod found that he could easily modify the TBTA grammar for Tagalog so that it accommodates the other two languages.  When Tod and his family return to the Philippines, he plans to develop a thorough lexicon and grammar for Tagalog, which is the national language and spoken throughout the Manila area.  After TBTA is able to generate initial drafts of multiple books of the Bible in Tagalog, Tod plans to modify that grammar to accommodate Bikol, which is morphologically the richest major language spoken in the country.  Bikol has more pronouns, more case markers, more verb forms, etc., than the other major languages.  After the Bikol lexicon and grammar are well developed, Tod hopes to produce initial draft translations of multiple biblical books in Bikol.  After that process is completed, the task of  modifying the Bikol grammar to accommodate many other languages should proceed fairly quickly.