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Developing indigenous languages will enhance development
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General News of Monday, 31 August 2009

Source: GNA

Developing indigenous languages will enhance development

Accra, Aug. 31, GNA - Mr Alex Dotse, Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Institute of Linguistics, Literacy and Bible Translators (GILLBT), on Monday called on religious bodies, organisations and philanthropists to financially assist in the development of the orthography of less developed languages in Ghana. He said when the project was executed it would not only enhance the evangelism of the gospel but would help people to be literate, live more productive lives and quicken the pace of development in the country. Mr Dotse said this on Sunday at a forum at the Mamprobi Global Evangelical Church, Redemption Chapel at Banana Inn, on activities of GILLBT.

GILLBT is an affiliate of Wycliffe Bible Translators International and the University of Ghana.

The main objective of GILLBT is to carry out linguistic study of undeveloped local languages, develop the orthography and translate the Bible into these languages and then teach people how to read and apply lessons learnt to their lives.

GILLBT also gives soft loans to their trainees to go into small scale businesses to boost their livelihood. "You cannot send the word of God to the people on empty stomach you must take care of their economic needs also," Mr Dotse said. "We empower communities for social, economic and spiritual development through literacy, Bible translation and income generating activities," he added.

Mr Dotse said the Northern, Upper West, Upper East, Brong Ahafo and the Western regions were the project areas of the institute. He said some of the languages developed and had the Bible translated into them were Barifor, Anufu, Ntrobu, Bowli, Likpe, Tafi, Logba, and Krachi, among others. "It is important that people read the Bible in their mother tongue and perform liturgical rituals in their own language at church." Mr Dotse said the entire Bible has been translated into 12 of the 60 languages and the New Testament has been translated into 28 languages.

He said the primary vision of GILLBT was that by 2025 orthography of all the local languages in the Ghana would be developed with the Bible translated into those languages. Mr Dotse said it cost three US dollars to translate a verse in the Bible into a local language and it took about 20 years to develop the orthography of a language and the translation.

He said linguist must first learn the language to begin the process, followed by the design of orthography. Mr. Dotse said translation of the language into Bible began after all these processes.

He said foreign donors to GILLBT would focus on other countries that needed this assistance and therefore called on the religious bodies to raise money locally to complete the work in Ghana and assist other countries.

He called on the Church in Ghana to own the Bible Translation Project by providing human, material and spiritual support. The late Mr. John Agama in 1960 introduced GILLT in Ghana to help develop local languages and for evangelism.

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