Jamaica first with patois translation

28 September 2012


New translation: the New Testament in Jamaican Patois

New translation: the New Testament in Jamaican Patois

A TRANSLATION of the New Testament into Jamaican Patois, Di Nyuu Testiment, will be launched, next month by the Bible Society.

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.



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