A TRANSLATION of the New Testament into Jamaican Patois, Di
Nyuu Testiment, will be launched, next month by the Bible
It is the result of 20 years' work by
translators at the Bible Society of the West Indies, with a team
from the Department of Linguistics at the University of the West
Indies. The Society says that it is the first time that Patois has
been written down.
In the Patois translation, the Angel
Gabriel tells Mary, in Luke 1:28: "Mieri, mi av nyuuz we a-go
mek yu wel api. Gad riili riili bles yu an im a waak wid yu all di
taim." When Mary tells Jesus that the wine has run out at the
wedding in Cana, in John 2:3, she says: "Dem na'av no muor wain
lef." The account of Jesus' calming of the storm, from Mark
4:39, reads: "So Jiizas get op an taak chrang tu di briiz, an
tel di sii fi sekl dong."
The Patois translation has been
attacked as "utterly ridiculous" by traditionalists (News, 17
October 2008). But the General Secretary of the Bible Society
of the West Indies, the Revd Courtney Stewart, said: "To suggest
that certain languages are not worthy of the word of God is
arrogant and ignorant. . . The scriptures are not meant to be
obscure and inaccessible."
Mr Stewart said that he thought that,
within a year, the Patois translation would be used by 60 per cent
of Jamaican churchgoers.