Teaching Principles of Lexicography in Thailand

ILC Classroom, Payap UniversityWhat in the world is "Lexicography?", you may ask.  Think "Dictionaries", but in contrast to the English speaking world, here we are talking about the first-ever dictionaries in a minority language, ...ever. For a given language and culture in Papua New Guinea, this is a historic milestone and part of what is called "Language Development".  But few places actually have their own dictionaries, and let's face it, minority languages around the world are losing a rich heritage, over time.  A God-given heritage; a Blessing from the Lord.

In PNG, we have taught courses transforming ordinary people with limited educational backgrounds, to analyze their own languages and then possibly publish.  Publishing could be in book form, or nowadays on the Internet.  Various academic institutions in the Pacific, welcome these advances as well. 

Central to the course is a software tool, created by SIL International called "WeSay" which has a very simple interface that is designed for the end user who may not have encountered a computer before. Machines are daunting enough!  The average PNGan citizen did not grow up with "computers" in their village houses, like our children do in the West.

Because of our training activities, SIL International invited me (Brian) to come and teach principles of training others, a trainer-of-trainers workshop, to become lexicographers for the first time. This effort is to teach people who may have only finished sixth grade, and with a limited understanding of English. Yet these individuals have very high intelligence quotas and are very fast learners.

PALS Teaching Continues to be a Success

Back in Papua New Guinea, Helen continued a rigorous teaching programme for clinic staff in "Pediatric Life Support" skills. This is an American Heart Association course in recognizing and treating life threatening conditions in children and learning how to effectively intervene before they deteriorate. Particularly helpful when emergency patients arrive at our clinic doorstep. This has already born fruit and saved lives, as people still come from very far away and from remote places to receive urgent care at our tiny clinic.

Please be in prayer about the clinic situation and the general health care situation in PNG. Also consider prayer concerning a brand new private missions hospital that is coming soon, to the Kassam Pass area, about one and half hours away from us on our Highlands Highway. It is not yet operational, and they will be looking for qualified missionaries and hopefully PNG doctors and nurses to staff this facility soon.

 Education for Life

Back in September, I (Brian) was invited to introduce various staff and lecturers at Divine Word University (Madang) to our new education programme, that SIL PNG Branch is about to launch. This is called "Education for Life".

This suite of programmes and content will run on common Android OS tablets and smart-phones and will allow young students from grade school level up to high school, gain necessary English comprehension skills.  DWU as an institution, has seen English skill levels decline over the years for incoming freshmen, and therefore met with us with a keen interest to this new programme.

My roll was more as "technical consultant" as we are developing custom software for this initiative, however an additional role was relational since over the years, I have developed many significant relationships with staff at DWU in the past. I became the liaison person, helping to introduce the right people. Now our members can interact well with their people, and the future looks bright, as DWU has already been creating a lot of core English training curriculum now under development.

Dr Joseph learns Bloom software

SIL employee Samuel Saleng, helps the DWU Dean of Education, Dr. Joseph Kekeya, download and work with Bloom software and the Bloom downloadable library of materials suitable for vernacular translation. The Bloom library has hundreds of titles, submitted under the Creative Commons license.

Our many friends at Divine Word University, also come from various minority languages and cultures.  They have not forgotten their roots, and share the concerns of others in the loss of their rich cultural heritage.  They feel that they share common values with SIL and therefore are eager to partner with us.

You can continue to pray with us that this new partnership will bear much lasting fruit for the future.  Now comes the hard part, where we must "roll up our sleeves" and work well together in partnership.

 Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails...

— Proverbs 19:21

Missed our latest newsletter?  Click the link below to read our latest, and send an email if you want to be included in our popular weekly photo list which centers mostly on life in Papua New Guinea (brian_chapaitis[at]sil.org).  Our weekly photos eventually end up in our photo gallery section if you want to catch up.

Let's Celebrate 30 Years!

Newsletter: 30 Years in Papua New Guinea »


“You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.  In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe."
— Psalm 4:7-8

We praise the Lord for the privilege of being in Papua New Guinea and the opportunities to serve the local communities in this country.

How wonderful to discover that in the fear of the Lord we can be delivered from our fears.  –  Psalm 34:1-10

—  Keila Ochoa

Photo Insights into Papua New Guinea Life

Yellow FlowerHere is the entrance to our photographic favorites. Come journey to the "land of the unexpected" as seen in our eyes after 30 years of ministry in this fair country.

See More as published from the Years 2005 to 2015»

Higher Resolution photos are freely available upon request. Just email and let us know what you would like.