Proud of Your Language Legacy – I

This week I was in Thailand and happen to talk with a friend, who reminded me of the language developments in our language. That triggered me to list a few:

Fraser’s Script: In the beginning of 20th century, our people believed our language cannot be written. It is only spoken. That mindset changed when James O. Fraser, a Scottish missionary, and Sara Ba Thaw, Karen evangelist, designed an alphabet to write Lisu around 1915. That became popular, most probably because it is simple and easy to use. As a result, almost every Lisu now can read and write. The Ethnologue (catalogue for the world’s languages) commented, “Script is consistent across country borders.” The Chinese government recognized it as the official alphabet for writing Lisu in 1992. And in 2009 this script was recognized by the Unicode Consortium (in their version 5.2.0). Most probably we will be able to key-in our language in the Windows 8.

Bible: : We are one of the few privileged communities to have Bible early. The New Testament was first published in 1951 and later in 1968, the complete Bible was made available. Today we have some versions available for us.Based on one of those versions, the audio Bible was recorded and now available for

Not just that, the Lisu Study Bible is going to be published by the end of this year. That will greatly help our people who would like to gain better understanding of the Scripture.

Hymnal:: Normally, hymns are accompanied by keyboard/piano and staff notation is used. But in our case, we have numerical figures to denote sound pitch. This system was also developed by James O. Fraser, who was a graduate in music. It was simple for us to learn.

A friend, who has been working on Lisu literature for over three decades told me that this system is one of the best notes for voice. He also pointed that we have 16 great hymns (like Halleluia), which are really touch to learn. But because our system of numbering made it easier to learn, we could sing it without much difficulty.

Our current hymnal has about 300 hymns (selection of most common used). A friend told he has repository of about 3,000 hymns in our language. I hope soon they will be online for us to access.

2 thoughts on “Proud of Your Language Legacy – I

  1. Really it’s a great reason to be proud to have our own script. Many tribes don’t have that privilege. We need to be greatly indebted to James O Fraser and Sara Ba Thaw for their invaluable contribution- creatinng Lisu script. We need to preserve it carefully since it serves us greatly to communicating, most importantly in communicatiing God’s living Word!

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