Bruce believes God’s word needs to be written on the page and on the heart.
Since the moment God hit Bruce with the thought almost 30 years ago that He could use his academic training in Bible translation in some way, he has pursued the truth that there is a place and a need for academics in missions!
Bruce, along with his wife Raewyn, joined Wycliffe in 1996. For more than a decade he has taught phonology, the science behind alphabets, at the Canada Institute of Linguistics (CanIL), Wycliffe’s main academic partner. Now Bruce is taking the theory out of the classroom into the villages of Nigeria, tackling the practicalities of designing writing systems for languages in the country, many of which have no writing system and no books.
Bruce specializes in the writing of tone (pitch of voice used just like consonants and vowels to make different words). This specialization is important in Africa because 99 per cent of the languages on the continent are tonal.
Bruce has also specialized in developing bilingual dictionaries, which are a foundational tool for Bible translation.
“It is a treasure vault where you store the words in that local language and an accurate explanation in your own language of what those words mean, to refer to time and again in translation work,” explains Bruce.
Originally from Surrey, B.C., Bruce works mostly from Langley, B.C., with short trips over to Nigeria and other locations. He is focusing on a thorough linguistic study of the Koro Waci (WAH-chee) language with the goal not just of helping create a writing system and a dictionary, but building up experience and knowledge, so he can become a linguistic consultant. His hope is to help many other Bible translation projects in Nigeria and elsewhere with the same tasks.