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Hawaiian Pidgin English
Price: 11.00
Title: Da Jesus Book - New Testament in Hawaii Pidgin
ISBN: 0-938978-21-7
Description: Flexible vinyl cover with gilt lettering, Wycliffe Bible Translators, 2000 FIRST EDITION Illustrated, color maps. Attached ribbon marker.
Condition: Clean and tight with moderate edge wear,minor smudge side page edge, dustjacket edge and corner wear, minor scratch and dent, flaps intact.
Summary: A "unique reading" of this section of the Bible

A 12-year effort by linguistics professor Joseph Grimes results in a pidgin version of the New Testament

Star Bulletin Article by Mary Adamski: "Island pidgin speakers now have an easier-to-understand alternative of reading the Bible. "Da Jesus Book," a translation of the New Testament into pidgin, went on sale in island bookstores this week. The soft-cover book was published by Wycliffe Bible Translators, the world's largest organization involved in translating the Scriptures into languages of tribal people. Retired Cornell University linguistics professor Joseph Grimes enlisted 26 pidgin speakers in the 12-year translation effort, which had its first fruit in the 1997 publication of the gospel of Matthew. Critics have attacked and tried to ban what they hear as slang and a degraded version of English. But Grimes says linguists recognize pidgin as a creole English language. "It is a language, a very expressive language. There are other forms of creole English. What they share is a population from various roots blended together, as in Hawaii's plantation workers, who worked out a way to communicate. "We face the idea that pidgin is just used for telling jokes," Grimes said. "When people pick up 'Da Jesus Book,' we have noticed that when they start reading, people start chuckling. They read a paragraph; by then they are in tears." The Rev. Franklin Chun, Iolani School chaplain, was one of three clergymen among the consultants. He has already used excerpts in Sunday services. "It's a delight to use for youth groups." With the translation, "we accomplished something for a wider community, people who have English as a second language ... people who would have an 'aha' response when they hear or read this now in their language," said Chun, who grew up a pidgin speaker despite attending Roosevelt High School when it was an English Standard School. Chun was impressed with the Wycliffe standards, which require not only an accurate language-to-language translation, but conformity to the theology. "Joe (Grimes) is a living lexicon of Greek, the language the New Testament writers used. It was like a living refresher course at the seminary, with my own tutor." The seed for the book was planted in 1986 while Grimes was here on a teaching sabbatical at the University of Hawaii. He and his wife, Barbara, also a linguist and editor of the "Ethnologue," an index of the world's 6,800-plus languages, had participated as consultants on Wycliffe projects in Asia, Africa and South America and had completed a Bible in the Huichol Indian language in Mexico. He retired after 23 years at Cornell, and they moved to Makaha 11 years ago to dedicate time to the pidgin product. The consultants translated, consulted with Grimes, reviewed and revised each others' work in hundreds of "talk story" sessions over the years. "I'm thinking in theory as we go along and can't wait to ask questions; the linguistics professor is still there," Grimes recalled. He found that pidgin speakers prefer information to be direct. "One thing was that in pidgin, you don't talk about yourself in the third person," he said. "If it's me, you say 'me.' They get insistent." Thus, readers will find Jesus stressing he is "God's Ony Boy." Grimes said: "Pidgin uses phrases to express an idea, whereas English or Greek would use a single word. A pidgin speaker would call the big word 'hybolic,' which has the connotation of pretentious." He said a concept that can be taken figuratively in English would be taken literally in pidgin. For example, the idea that "you will never die" could be understood in English as meaning spiritual life. In pidgin it would be taken as physically not going to die. "Many concepts in the Bible are familiar, like forgiveness," Grimes said. "The idea is that you want to get even, but you make the choice not to. In pidgin, you say 'let him go.'" Barbara Grimes said the subtlety of pidgin surfaced in conveying the added dimension of God's forgiveness. "With God there is more to it; he lets us go, but he also takes away the shame," she said. "On the mainland we would talk about guilt, but here shame is more of a big deal ... for Asians, for Hawaiians." Discussion led to the use of "hemo our shame." Grimes said: "The product checks out theologically. Wycliffe gave it a fine-tooth-comb treatment." Among the Wycliffe reviewers were an expert in Papua New Guinea pidgin who recognized the island language's "different way of packaging ideas"; another was a woman who checked figures of speech. "For instance, the use of light vs. dark, which is used as a figure of speech showing good vs. bad or understanding vs. not understanding," Grimes said. "But for a pidgin speaker, it is not used that way. You can't rely on any metaphor to transfer exactly. We squeeze the juice out of the metaphor ... then put in extra juice from pidgin." They don't expect unanimous acceptance, Grimes said. "For people who think of pidgin as a debased language, they might see this as a kind of insult to Scriptures, translating it into a low-life language. If they would take the time, they would see that people 'get it' beautifully in pidgin."

Synopsis: Plenny peopo dat live Hawaii like know bout Jesus. But fo find out who him fo real kine, befo time dey gotta use da English kine Bible. Dat Bible use all kine hybolic kine language, not da kine language dat da regula people talk every day. Dass why da translata guys wen make da Bible fo da local kine Pidgin. Get 26 local peopo dat stay talk Pidgin from small kid time, dat do um. Dey come from plenny diffren churches. From 1988 to 2000, some a dem work long time an oddas short time, but all togedda dey make dis translation fo da peopo dat stay talk Pidgin, so everybody can find out dea own self bout Jesus, an do um fo real kine. Had peopo from da Wycliffe Bible Translata guys dat help fo make sure everyting mean da same ting jalike da way da peopo wen write down da Bible firs time. Dey work togedda wit some a da pastor guys from da local churches, and wit odda peopo dat get seminary o spesho kine study. But da main translata guys, dey da ones dat talk Pidgin all da time, cuz dey know wass da bestes way fo say stuff so all da peopo goin undastan.

The actual text of the translation speaks better than anything else. As found in Matthew 6:9-13, the Lord's Prayer: “God, you our Fadda. You stay inside da sky. We like all da peopo know fo shua how you stay, An dat you stay good an spesho, An we like dem give you plenny respeck. We like you come King fo everybody now. We like everybody make jalike you like, Ova hea inside da world, Jalike da angel guys up inside da sky make jalike you like. Give us da food we need fo today an every day. Hemmo our shame, an let us go Fo all da kine bad stuff we do to you, Jalike us guys let da odda guys go awready, And we no stay huhu wit dem Fo all da kine bad stuff dey do to us. No let us get chance fo do bad kine stuff, But take us outa dea, so da Bad Guy no can hurt us. Cuz you our King. You get da real power, An you stay awesome foeva. Dass it!”

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