A Brief Analysis of the Oroko Dailect. ( By Dan and Lisa Freisen)

All this talk on Oroko's relationships to other languages has got me looking at stuff on the web. Here are some links for those in this group that want to look at the relationship between words in their dialect and other African languages.

For example, one of the Swahili words for meat is "nyama". http://www.yale. edu/swahili/ .

Lingala also uses "nyama" http://en.wikipedia .org/wiki/ Lingala_language and has noun prefixes that are almost the same as Oroko.In fact, I understand that "nyama" is used by almost all the "Bantu" languages.

Here is what wikipedia offers on the Bantu tribal migrations (http://en.wikipedia .org/wiki/ Bantu):

"Before the Bantu, the southern half of Africa is believed to have been populated by Khoisan speaking people, today occupying the arid regions around the Kalahari and a few isolated pockets in Tanzania. Pygmies inhabited central Africa, whereas Cushites and other people speaking Afro-Asiatic languages inhabited north-eastern and northern Africa. Northwestern Africa, the Sahara, and the Sudan were inhabited by people speaking Mande and Atlantic languages (such as the Fulani and Wolof) and other people speaking Nilo-Saharan languages.

There are two basic theories of Bantu origins. The first was advanced by Joseph Greenberg in 1963. He had analyzed and compared several hundred African languages and found that a group of languages spoken in Southeastern Nigeria were the most closely related to languages from the Bantu group. He theorized that Proto-Bantu (the hypothetical ancestor of the Bantu languages) was originally one of these languages that spread south and east over hundreds of years.

This was quickly challenged by Malcolm Guthrie who analyzed each Bantu language and found that the most stereotypical were those spoken in Zambia and in the southern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This provided the alternate theory that Bantu speakers had spread from this location in all directions. [edit] Bantu expansion

Some historians still accept a synthesis of the above named theories, although the enthusiasm with which the South African apartheid government exploited these ideas left them under something of a cloud.

The Bantu first originated around the Benue-Cross rivers area in southeastern Nigeria and spread over Africa to the Zambia area. Sometime in the second millennium BC, perhaps due to pressure from people migrating away from the drying Sahara and into the region, they were forced to expand into the rainforests of central Africa (phase I). About 1000 years later they began a more rapid second phase of expansion beyond the forests into southern and eastern Africa. Then sometime in the first millennium new agricultural techniques and plants were developed in Zambia, probably imported from South East Asia via Malagasy-speaking Madagascar. With these techniques another Bantu expansion occurred centered on this new location (phase III).

By about AD 1000 it had reached modern day Zimbabwe and South Africa. In Zimbabwe a major southern hemisphere empire was established, with its capital at Great Zimbabwe. It controlled trading routes from South Africa to north of the Zambezi, trading gold, copper, precious stones, animal hides, ivory and metal goods with the Arab traders of the Swahili coast. By the 14th or 15th centuries the Empire had surpassed its resources and had collapsed, with the city of Great Zimbabwe being abandoned."

As a stranger among the Oroko, I'm interested in knowing if anyone has traditional stories from their grandparents about where the Orokos come from?

Other Important Links. http://globalrecord language/4338

An Overview of the English to Oroko Bible Translation Process. ( By Becky Scott )

For many years, there have been Oroko individuals interested in, and attempting to get a writing system for the Oroko language.  Starting in 1998, the Oroko missionaries (Dan and Lisa Friesen, and Mike and Becky Scott) have worked with various elites and lay people, to establish the groundwork for the beginning of the Oroko translation project, which necessarily started with work on the writing system.

After the organization of OLDC (Oroko Language Development Committee) and their hard-working sub-group, the Literacy Committee, an alphabet was developed and tested in various villages in different dialect areas, and approved.  The alphabet was "launched" in December 2004, in Ngongo at the Bakundu Cultural gathering.


  Meet the Bible Translation Team.

While this was all developing, various church denominational leaders were consulted about the Oroko translation project, which  resulted in the formation of OTAB (Oroko Translation Advisory Board), which tries to include representatives from all interested denominations.  The selection of candidates for potential work in the translation project followed, and an initial Translation Workshop was held in September 2004, in Big Bekondo, to introduce interested people to the new writing system and give them an overview of the translation process. From these groups of interested people, a smaller group was selected to go through TPC I (Translation Principles Course I) held in Kumba with an SIL teacher overseeing both Oroko and Mbembe participants.

 From these participants there resulted 2 teams of translators (working 4 days per month in translation, for the present), 1 team of  Reviewers (objectively criticizing the draft translation), and more recently at least one Tester (taking the draft translation and seeing how it sounds and is understood in various villages).  One translation team currently works on the book of Luke in the  New Testament, and the other team on the book of Genesis in the Old Testament.  One of the newer projects the translators have been exposed to is "storying" - oral versions of Bible stories.

Both OLDC and OTAB (including stipends for the translators) rely on support from cultural organizations, churches, and  individuals.  It is encouraging to see the sacrifice and excitement of so many Oroko people in this project.  May this continue,  and may others encourage them.

Please kindly donate generously to  support any of these Projects.