We are really excited to be committed to going into Menya. At the same time it is daunting to think about the task ahead of us. The Menyan language is part of the “Angan Family” of languages which have taken missionaries typically five to ten years to learn (if at all.) Here is a description of the Angan Languages:

All the languages of the family are characterized by phonological complexity unusual in this country. Nasals as syllable nuclei, behaviour of glottal stop, labialization and palatalization all make the analysis of syllable patterns difficult and result in the occurrence of long strings of consonants within the word. Severe cooccurrence restrictions on consonants go hand in hand with massive morphophonemics, with much fusion and loss. The cumulative effect of this makes the reconstruction of the basic forms of morphemes very difficult.

And here is a clip of what it sounds like:


Unlike Pidgin, there isn’t any English (or any other western language) in that.

  1. Wow! Those are some real massive morphophonemics!

    • Joseph

      Thanks for noticing.

  2. Katie

    And how long does it typically take someone to translate that paragraph you posted?
    Do any of the Menyan people speak Pidgin to help with translating, or will it be more of a “Dances With Wolves” type learning of the language?

    • Joseph

      People who know the language can do it pretty fast…so it depends on how far along one is. Yes plenty of the Menyans speak Pidgin so that is where we will start. I’m not above using my fingers as horns to elicit the word for buffalo, which I know is tatanka without even looking it up thanks to DWW.

      • Wait… there are buffalo in PNG? That place just got cooler.

        I hope the Yankee army doesn’t come in a ruin things.

  3. Mary Beth

    You got this.
    Excited and praying!

    • Joseph

      Thanks MB.

  4. Bob

    That description only seems complex because it’s British.

    You’ll do well.

  5. Matt Gaymon

    Thanks for posting the audio clip. Can you ask whoever provided that to give you the full clip? They cut it off right before he delivered the punchline!

    • Joseph

      Punchline: “a one-legged duck!”

  6. Shandi Stevenson

    This is exciting to hear–I have sure been praying about this decision and for clear direction for you! If anybody is perfect for this language, it is you guys!

What do you think?