This interdisciplinary collection of articles, written by scholars involved in translating the Bible into various languages around the world, demonstrates that such translation projects are promoting the vitality of local languages, both those that are endangered and those that are still fairly healthy but non-empowered. Bible translation and activities typically associated with it, such as linguistic documentation, vernacular literacy work, cultural engagement, community development, technological advancement, and self-esteem building among native speakers, help languages to develop and strengthen their position in society and should therefore be welcomed by linguists and all who care about stemming the growing tide of language death all over the world. This book is immediately relevant to the global community of documentary and conservationist linguists, as well as to anyone interested in translation studies, the sociology of religion, and the relationship between language, culture, and the Bible.
Marianne Beerle-Moor received her doctorate in linguistics from the University of Zurich, Switzerland. Her primary sphere of research is the languages of the Caucasus, especially Lezgi. Among other honors, she has been recognized by the president of Kalmykia and the president of Sakha (Yakutia) for her contribution to language development in these regions of the Russian Federation. Beerle-Moor has also been awarded an honorary doctorate by the Russian Academy of Sciences for her work as director of the Institute for Bible Translation from 1997 to 2013. Vitaly Voinov received his PhD in linguistics from the University of Texas at Arlington, United States. He is one of the main editors of the first-ever translation of the Bible into the Tuvan language of Siberia and the author of Politeness Devices in the Tuvan Language. Voinov currently serves as director of the Institute for Bible Translation in Moscow, Russia.
Contents: Marianne Beerle-Moor/Vitaly Voinov: Introduction to Language Vitality through Bible Translation - Joseph Hong: Language endangerment in the light of Bible translation - J. Stephen Quakenbush: Bible translation's contribution to Agutaynen language vitality - Philip A. Noss: Bible translation, dictionaries, and language development: The case of Gbaya - Dieudonne P. Aroga Bessong: Bible translation and the promotion of mother tongues in Africa - Edward Riak Kajivora: The Nuba Moro literacy program - Pamela Jean Owens: Bible translation and language preservation: The politics of the nineteenth century Cherokee Bible translation projects - Steve Berneking: The new Lakota Bible as anti-imperial translation - Michael Cahill: Endangered languages and Bible translation in Brazil and Papua New Guinea - Brenda H. Boerger: Bible translation as Natqgu language and culture advocacy - Jill Riepe: Encouraging language revitalization through education and Bible translation among the Ap Ma of Papua New Guinea - Marianne Beerle-Moor: Bible translation as witness to a forgotten language: The case of Caucasian Albanian - Boris M. Ataev: The role of Bible translation in preserving the languages of Dagestan - Eun Sub Song: The effect of Bible translation on literacy among Nenets Christians - Gennady V. Kostochakov: Can Bible translation revitalize the dying Shor language?