Friday, January 16, 2009

Spiritual Endeavours in Olden Times

I just stumbled across an 1886 publication by the London Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge: Vocabularies of the Niger and Gold Coast, West Africa.

This is a short publication, with a small number of words and just a few phrases in separate sections for the Yoruba, Nupe, Kakanda, Igibira, Igara, Ibo, Ga (Akra,) and Obutu languages. The vocabulary list and phrases reflect every-day communication, not religious terms, and translate the same English words/phrases in each language.

One approach to spreading Christian knowledge is hinted at by the prominent number of words/phrases involving to beat. The English list of words: beat, to beat, beating, having beaten, I beat, thou beatest, he beats, we beat, you beat, they beat, I am beating, I had beaten, I may beat, I shall beat, I am beaten, I was beaten, I shall be beaten, Beat him well and bind him with ropes, I have beaten his son with many stripes.

A handy verb list, presumably all in the imperative, consists of: go, eat, sit, come, beat, stand, die (!,) give, run.

It wasn't easy being the object of conversion activities in the past.

No comments: