Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mommy, why do those people talk funny?

Hello all,

I have long been fascinated with words.  In fact, I'm something of a language sleuth and amateur etymologist.  By the way, that's etymologist as opposed to "entomologist," which is a person who studies bugs and insects (such as Washington politicians).  Etymologists, on the other hand, study word meanings and word origins, and how the form and meaning of words have changed over time.

When I was a kid I didn't care a fig about English or any other language.  It was not until my family moved to Guam that I began to pay attention to the Chamorro language because we were living in a Guamanian village and I couldn't understand what anybody was saying at first.

Years later I studied Greek for two years in college plus I took a year of Russian because I was a math major at the time and it was the recommended language for that program.  Then in seminary I dove back into Greek and added Hebrew to boot.  My fascination with languages really started to grow.  Appointed as a missionary to Brazil in 1976, Portuguese became my working language for the next 15 years.  Along the way I picked up enough Latin, Spanish, and Italian to be dangerous and to embarrass myself in public.

My son, Chris, who also loves languages, posted the following video clip on Facebook and I thought it was very creative and funny, albeit somewhat coarse in a couple of spots.  It's long but I think you will like it.  We'll talk more on the other side.  Enjoy!

As most of you know, Ramel and I are preparing to move to Ireland as WorldVenture missionaries.  Our job description is "Evangelism and Church Planting."  Our immediate challenge will be to work with two other WV couples to start a Gospel preaching church in Sligo, the largest town in NW Ireland.

Ireland has two official languages: English and Irish (Gaelic).  While nearly everyone in the country speaks English there are still many places where Irish is the heart language.  Therefore, we are committed to learn enough Irish to be able to address people in their own language and to show that we value their culture and customs.  We've invested $400 in the Rosetta Stone Irish Course and have been studying away, finding it difficult but very interesting.  One of the revelations to me has been the number of words that have come into English from the Celtic languages, including Irish.  Who knew?

Please pray for us about this language acquisition journey.  While Irish is not required to do ministry in Ireland, we believe that it will help open doors in that very traditional region where we will be working.  They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but I'm betting that they are wrong.

Go raibh maith agat as do chuid paidreacha,
Mike & Ramel

P.S. That means, "Thank you for your prayers."

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