The Challenge of Wusuraambya
Reaching the Wusuraambya people with the Gospel began many years ago with the challenge of learning the difficult Wusuraambyan language, applying it it paper, and giving it an alphabet that people would accept and eventually learn to read and to write. With words like yawurayawubwaramuduyabuuiyatnemulukaavunesi, however, it has been quite a challenge teaching the Wusuraambya people to both read and write their own language.
The Wusuraambya language is one of the most difficult languages in the world to learn because of its complex grammar structure. While many language such as French has two genders, masculine and feminine, the Wusuraambya language is divided into 16 gender or classes including masculine, feminine, and many neuter genders as well as time and place. There are also 23 variations in tense from very distant past to distant future, also including dubatives such as “might have been,” “could have been”, and so on. Verbs all have tense and gender suffixes. Action verbs often have object prefixes, and so. Thus a very short two-letter verb root and turn into a very long constructed verb.
This complex verb structure is what has made it so difficult for people to learn the Wusuraambya language and be able to share the long-awaited good news of the Gospel. Thankfully the language is now in a written form that people accept and are able to learn to read well.
Some have rightly noted that the Wusuraambya language is not a “difficult” language to learn. It just has a lot of pieces to be learned!
Of course with the long words the written language is longer than many other languages like English, Hebrew or Greek, thus the written word of God in Wusuraambya is much longer than the source languages from which it is translated.
Also complicating the translation process is the lack of many key biblical terms in the Wusuraambya language. In many cases phrases, whole clauses or even sentences are needed to communicate a single Greek or Hebrew word.
Watching the Word of God gradually take root in the lives of the Wusuraambya people, and listening to them be able to read the Word in their own language and seeing their excitement as the various truths come to light, makes it all worthwhile!