Monday, November 15, 2010 – 11:40 pm
Today the Mende team worked on the health and agriculture lessons. I continue to do the word count because it is simplest for one person to do it the whole time since that person grows familiar with the words and the process used to keep track of them. One story I checked today had 42 new words and 6 forms. They are only allowed about 12 new words in the health lessons. One of the team members claims that my computer multiplies the new words :-), and another dubbed me the “word hunter.” Though trimming down the stories is very tedious work for the team, they persevere. We are frequently reminded that it is difficult for us so that it will be easy for the new reader.
There are four dialects of Mende, so the native speakers are working to make the primer understandable to speakers of them all. We have each of the dialects represented on the team, which makes for interesting debates about which words and spellings to use. It is somewhat confusing for me. I have to pay attention to every little detail to make sure that the finished product is accurate. At times I have to remind those who rattle off revisions to the stories that I do not know Mende. 🙂 Carey Jo is teaching me a lot. With her experience, she has learned how languages work, and helps the team revise and trim down the stories, which amazes the native speakers.
This afternoon, a girl I met the other day came to the room where we were working. She came with her brother. I still don’t know where they are from, but had gotten the impression at our first meeting that she wasn’t from around here. Since I had to tell her that I have a lot of work the whole day, she said that she would come back on Wednesday. I didn’t feel that I should tell her where I’m staying, but will pray about what to say to with her on Wednesday, though I may not have any time to take away from the work.
Tonight, as Carey Jo, Lori, and I worked in our “office” continuing with the word count on the stories from today, one of the hotel staff dropped by. When he found out about our work, he asked if we could teach him to read Themne. He said he would speak with Gregory about it. It is very touching to see the need for our work right in front of our eyes. I wonder how few people I see here can actually read. I suspect that many can’t.