Friday, March 25, 2005

Good Friday

We don't have to work today. That is nice, but I have a big thing due at noon on Monday, so I'll probably be sorry I didn't work today. Last year on Good Friday, I went to see The Passion of the Christ. When we got home, I learned that my grandmother had passed away. I still miss her.

I had a little conversation with myself about what would be good or appropriate to do on Good Friday. I decided I would read, and pray, and clean. And talk to my friends on my favorite forum. But I think I got one of them mad at me, so maybe I should have just stuck to reading, praying, and cleaning.

As part of cleaning, I washed my van. Mostly to get the bird doodoo off of it. But I didn't wash the roof. I couldn't reach it and the birds will just mess it up again soon anyway. I also washed our comforter so I can pack it away for the summer. It was still covered with cat hair when it came out of the washing machine, but at least it was clean cat hair.

Gary somehow got to thinking about his old baseball cards today, so I dug those out for him. He has a 1963 Mickey Mantle. And a bunch of others. I suppose one day Andrew will get these.

Rachel called me yesterday with a burst of grand talk about how she had just found direction for her life and she knew what job she wanted to immediately apply for. This came after a discussion with her supervising teacher about what being a school teacher is really like and what Rachel's strengths and weaknesses are. It was good to hear her taking initiative. Lord, guide her to the job you have for her.

Then several hours later she called sounding overwhelmed with too much to do and not enough time to do it. Lord, help her to know how to use her time wisely.

David called yesterday while working on his taxes. I think this is the first time he's had to do them himself and he was finding it harder than expected, due to the odd way he gets paid from NIH. Speaking of taxes, we just got our refund. Yay! Now there is enough money for Rachel's antepenultimate college payment.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Ethnologue: the book

Ethnologue Posted by Hello

We've been waiting for this day for a while now; the 15th edition of the Ethnologue - Languages of the World was unveiled today. We had a little ceremony where everyone whose name was on the credits' page was given their own copy. Gary's title in this effort is Executive Editor. That means he didn't do the nit-picking work of gathering the data about the languages of the world, but he did have the Herculean task of getting all those people to work together to end up with a professional product. And his job isn't over yet; in a couple weeks I hope to have another blog entry called Ethnologue: the website.

Here are some of the facts in and about the Ethnologue:
  • The book weighs nearly 5 pounds, has 1272 pages, and is hard-bound.
  • It is printed on acid-free, thin yet opaque paper.
  • It includes 208 color language maps.
  • It is an encyclopedic reference volume cataloguing all of the world's 6,912 known languages.
  • It includes population estimates for each of those language groups.
  • It gives alternate names and dialect names.
  • It gives information about multilingualism, availability of literature, geographic and other information about each language.
  • It includes statistical summaries by world area, language size, and language family.
  • It gives a genetic classification of each language (that is, how it is related to other language).
And here are some things that the Ethnologue isn't:
  • perfect - although more than 50,000 updates and corrections have been made since the 14th edition, the editors have no illusion that it is complete nor entirely correct. In the informative introduction there are instructions on how to send in corrections.
  • finished - The total number of languages is 103 more than in the 14th edition. This is not because 103 languages have just been found, but rather had been previously considered dialects of another language. Language is constantly changing, so the Ethnologue will continue to catalogue those changes.
  • a one-man job - As you might imagine, this massive amount of detail has been collected from many, many sources and it has taken the work of many people to organize, verify, and present the data.
One more item of note: The Ethnologue is the first major publication to make use of ISO/DIS 639-3 -- the new, comprehensive draft international standard for three-letter identifiers. The previous standard had about 400; now it has 7000 so every language in the word can be identified uniquely.

This big, fat book costs about $80. Mostly it will be linguists and academic libraries buying the book because SIL International puts the whole thing for free on the web. The website for the 15th edition is coming soon.

Thank the Lord with us for this reference volume that will be used by missionaries of many stripes, as well as academics.

Gary with his copy Posted by Hello

Monday, March 21, 2005

Off to a Good Start

Rachel started her second rotation of student teaching this morning, 2nd grade a Bethany Public School. And an early start it was, at 7:30am. At our staff meeting this morning we prayed for Rachel, that she would get off to a good start in her new student teaching assignment. I thank the Lord for answering these prayers, as evidenced by this email which I just received from her a few minutes ago:

Hi Mom,
I am extremely exhausted, and because of that I won't write much. My teacher let me out really late, so I practically had to go straight from school to class, so I haven't had a break since 6:30 this morning.
I think I am going to REALLY like this class and really find that I'll be able to succeed. The kids are WONDERFUL, and my teacher is so helpful. The kids are so well behaved except that one kid who is SED. And actually, he was really good today which was really neat to see his social progress. Anyways, I think that is all I have to say for now. One kid said, "Mrs. Simons, I think you'll make a really good teacher" to me and I hardly did anything today! So that is encouraging.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Love Lost and Found

"I guess for a long time I thought she and I were just friends, but by the end of the relationship I had realized I loved her all along. I think that was the real reason I never dated much when I was younger."

Someone recently sent me the above email. For a while it made me sad. But more than 30 years ago I learned that if the one you love marries someone else, the Lord in his graciousness can bring a new love into your heart.