Ryan & Jordan

with Pioneer Bible Translators

Tag: linguistics

eighteen and a half years

by Jordee

Today was significant. Today we passed Comprehensive Exams and we received emails saying we will have finished the requirements for our masters degrees in two weeks. I don’t feel like a “master” of anything, but I do feel thankful. And tired.

I’m thankful for the number of incredible teachers: the assistant kindergarten teacher who french-braided my hair every day before nap time, the middle school band director who gave me a love for music and in the process gave me an outlet of confidence and creativity in those difficult years, two quirky high school English teachers who solidified my love for literature, the linguistics professor in undergrad who faithfully shared his wisdom and experiences, encouraging me never to waver in my commitment to use what I learned, and the team of professors in this program who teach with such deep humility, wisdom, and knowledge of their fields. And that’s just to name a few.

I’m thankful for my sister with whom I rode the bus, signed up for classes, made pots of coffee late into the night, applied for college, and celebrated graduation. I’m thankful for friends who made growing up actually quite enjoyable and for friends who lived with me and helped me adjust to the big city. And I’m thankful for Ryan who’s seen me through and finished up this program with me.

girls first day of school

I’m tired because it’s been eighteen and a half years of school with little to no pit stops. Most of the time, I had my summers, yes, but I always got back on the track. Now the transition is to something quite different but something which has been a long time comin’. I can’t be totally sure what the next eighteen and a half years will look like.

But if life is as I believe it is, I’ll have reasons to be thankful at the end.



by ryan

Consider the miracle of communication: that fascinating borderland between persons, where people are brought together in peace (yes and sadly, not peace), where a plural colors a singular and a singular colors a plural, where there are a great many happenings; now eyes meet and the whole body engages; the whole body speaks; now breathing lungs, filling lungs expel air shaping it more skillfully than any potter with clay, crafting strings (do I dare say music?), sound waves of meaning; now these waves vibrating the most elaborate percussion translated into neural . . . what have we even understood of this miracle?  This mystery is beautiful.

Communication might be a noun, but it is surely not just a thing.  Speaking and listening are grand events changing our universe as ripples resound among human relationships and expand throughout the cosmos.  We are, after all, made in the image of God.  In the beginning God said let there be and there was.  And God is still speaking.

But what about words?  To literate society, ‘word’ might bring with it the image of a written word.  But words are speech primarily.  It was only much later that visual symbols were invented to represent oral ones.  We would much rather have you over for tea to discuss this, but we only have that privilege with some of you.  Instead, here we are pressing buttons with symbols on them so the symbols appear on your screen, pale glimmers of speech.  So please listen to a person today.  We mean really listen.  Hug.  Love.  And use the power of your voice for good.  “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, / but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” – Solomon son of David

So Dear People, as students of language we wanted to begin our weblog with a brief reflection on the gift that is language.  “For every good and perfect gift is from above coming down from the Father of heavenly lights who does not change like shifting shadows.” – James son of Joseph

Warmly Spoken, albeit Keyed to You,

Ryan & Jordan