For the first time the Bible is being translated into Jamaican patois.
According to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), it’s a move welcomed by those Jamaicans who want their mother tongue enshrined as the national language — but opposed by others, who think learning and speaking English should be the priority.
In its report, by Robert Pigott, BBC News religious affairs correspondent,the BBC said that in the Spanish Town Tabernacle near the capital, Kingston, the congregation is hearing the word of God in the language of the street for the first time.
At the front of the concrete-block church, a young man and woman read alternate lines from the Bible. This is the Gospel of St Luke in Jamaican patois — or more precisely, “Jiizas – di buk we Luuk rait bout im.”
The sound of the creole, developed from English by West African slaves in Jamaica’s sugar plantations 400 years ago, has an electrifying effect on those listening, the BBC said.
Several women rose to testify, in patois, to what it means to hear the Bible in their mother tongue.
“It’s almost as if you are seeing it,” says a woman, referring to the moment when Jesus is tempted by the Devil. “In the blink of an eye, you get the whole notion. It’s as though you are watching a movie… it brings excitement to the word of God.”
The Rev Courtney Stewart, General Secretary of the West Indies Bible Society, who has managed the translation project, insists the new Bible demonstrates the power of patois, and cited a line from Luke as an example.
It’s the moment when the Angel Gabriel goes to Mary to tell her she is going to give birth to Jesus.
English versions read along these lines: “And having come in, the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you: blessed are you among women.'”
“Now compare that with our translation of the Bible,” says Stewart.
“De angel go to Mary and say to ‘er, me have news we going to make you well ‘appy. God really, really, bless you and him a walk with you all de time.”
Source: Assist News | Michael Ireland