In a recent blog about the impact of the translated Bible on the Bimoba people group in Ghana, I referred to Mary Steele who was involved in the translation of the Bible into the Bimoba language.
Mary is planning to spend her summer back home in N. Ireland but is currently consultant checking the Book of Acts in the Avatime language. A few days ago she sent me a request for prayer for this work imbedded in a touching story about the Avatime people’s wait for the Scriptures in their heart language…
They have been Christians for a hundred years but still have no Bible in their language. The Avatime people live in the Volta region of Ghana, in the southeast of the country. The majority of them profess to be Christians, but as yet they do not have a Bible or even a New Testament in their language. The Gospels have been translated and we are now checking the book of Acts.
There is a feeling of spiritual opposition to the work of Scripture translation in this language, and it seems to go with difficulty. Please pray for spiritual victory, and that the Word will be a blessing to the team, Divine, Jacob and Gershon, and myself, as we work just now on checking the book of Acts in the Avatime language (pronounced Avateemee – but the Lord will know who you mean no matter how you pronounce it.)
Also please pray that the work of translating and publishing the New Testament, and eventually the whole Bible, in this language, will go ahead smoothly and quickly. A hundred years is a long time to wait.
Thank you for helping to bring the Bible to the Avatime people, by your prayers.
If you Google Avatime, you can read things like this on Wikipedia…
Avatime is a tonal language with three tones, has vowel harmony, and has been claimed to have doubly articulated fricatives.
Avatime has nine vowels, /i ɪ e ɛ a ɔ o ʊ u/. It is not clear if the difference between /i e o u/ and /ɪ ɛ ɔ ʊ/ is one of advanced and retracted tongue root (laryngeal contraction), as in so many languages of Ghana, or of vowel height: different phonetic parameters support different analyses.
Avatime has vowel harmony. A root may not mix vowels of the relaxed /i e o u/ and contracted /ɪ ɛ a ɔ ʊ/ sets, and prefixes change vowels to harmonize with the vowels of the root. For example, the human singular gender prefix is /ɔ ~ o/, and the human plural is /a ~ e/: /o-ze/ “thief”, /ɔ-ka/ “father”; /be-ze/ “thieves”, /ba-ka/ “fathers”; also /o-bu/ “bee” but /ɔ-bʊ/ “god”.
… all of which gives some insight into the work of a linguist translator like Mary!
If linguistics turns you on – read more. Whether it does or not, please pray for the Avatime team in their work right now.