Bwaatye translation and linguistics


This is the benediction from Jude verses 24-25 in Bwaatye. Jude is one of the books that we worked on when I was doing a consultant check of ten books of the New Testament, including the four shortest books in the Bible. Here is a literal rendering in English of what the Bwaatye translation says:

Praise God our Savior because of Jesus Christ! For it is only God that will be able to make us control ourselves not to stumble, he is also [the one] who will show us his great glory without bad thing in us with much happiness. Honor and glory and power belong to God our savior from the beginning to the end through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

I teach a very short course in phonetics once or twice a year, and some of the sounds I teach are implosives and complex clusters. In Bwaatye there are /kp/ and /gb/ clusters at the beginning of a word, as in kpanətə ‘honor’ and gbaktɨdan ‘great’; there are prenasalized consonants at the beginning of a word as in nzə-mbəsəm ‘our savior’ and mba ‘control’; and there are combinations of the two as in mgban ‘also’. The ‘hooked b’ and ‘hooked d’ are implosives, as in Ɓondiyəm ‘praise’, ɓa ‘future’ and ɗɨktə ɗɨkdəm ‘control ourselves’.


About David Frank

linguistics and translation consultant
This entry was posted in Bible translation, descriptive linguistics. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Bwaatye translation and linguistics

  1. Newton Frank says:

    This fresh experience with some of the lesser known sounds (at least lesser known to North Americans) should make good fodder for the next time you teach phonetics.

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