History in the making as Bible Society launches Luke’s Gospel in Patois

by Charlie Boyd

The launch of the Gospel of Luke in Jamaican Patois has been hailed a “quantum leap” for language’s five million speakers in Jamaica and worldwide.

The audio format of the Gospel of Luke was launched during a Pentecost Day service at Christian Life City Church in Hackney, London, ahead of its launch in Jamaica in August where it will be made available as a CD.

The Rev Courtney Stewart, General Secretary of the Bible Society of the West Indies, said the Patois translation had left Jamaica in a “state of excitement and celebration”.

“Jamaican Patois has always been regarded as the language to communicate music and folklore but it’s never been used to translate anything serious,” he said. “So this is of great significance. It’s history in the making.”

Tanesha Westcarr, a 22-year-old fashion stylist, was present at the London launch, where she had an opportunity to hear an excerpt.

She said: “I loved it. I definitely will be listening again and again. Repetition is important because fait comes by hearing and it’s something that positively represents Jamaican people.”

Lisa Marie Carr, a social worker from Brixton, said: “It’s wonderful to see Patois used in such a beautiful way. It will give comfort and pride.”

The Bible Society of the West Indies plans to publish a full translation of the New Testament in Patois in August 2012, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence.

The translation has been 17 years in the making and has brought together Bible Society language consultants and linguistics at the University of the West Indies, who have checked scripts and conducted field tests.

Although some traditionalists have opposed the translation of the New Testament into Patois on the grounds that it distorts the message, Stewart believes that having a portion of the Bible in Patois allows the word of God to be communicated at a deeper level and gives Jamaicans a greater sense of self-worth.

“It is a quantum leap for our language,” he said. “Patois has always been considered bad, broken English, that’s regulated to those from a poorer economic background.

“The impact of this effort by Bible Society of the West Indies goes far beyond Bible translation, as it has implications for Jamaican culture, the perception we have of ourselves, our educational system, linguistics, tourism and other areas.

“It means God’s Word will reach people in a way that has previously not been the case.”

An excerpt from Luke’s Gospel in Patois – The Angel Gabriel appears to Mary.

Di ienjel go tu Mieri an se tu ar se, “Mieri, mi av nyuuz we a go mek yu wel api. Gad riili riili bles yu an im a waak wid yu aal di taim.” ‘Wa Gabriel se kanfyuuz Mieri an shi staat fi wanda wa im miin. So di ienjel se tu ar se, “No fried Mieri, kaaz Ga riili riili bles yu. Yu a go get prignant an av wan bwai pikni, an yu fi kaal im Jiizas. Im a go ton wan griet man an dem a go se im a di pikni fi di Muos Ai Gad. Di Laad Gad gwain gi im di chruon wa im faada Dievid did av. An im aalwiez a go ruul uova Jiekob piipl, Izrel; an im a go ruul fi eva an eva.”

Source : Christian Today

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