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Language Vitality Through Bible Translation

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Edited By Marianne Beerle-Moor and Vitaly Voinov

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.
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11. Bible translation as witness to a forgotten language: The case of Caucasian Albanian

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11. Bible translation as witness to a forgotten language: The case of Caucasian Albanian

MARIANNE BEERLE-MOOR Institute for Bible Translation in Russia/CIS

1. Introduction

At the turn of the third millennium AD, it became gradually public that some of the manuscripts discovered in a cellar of the Monastery of St. Catherine at Mt. Sinai in 1975 have been identified as Bible texts in Caucasian Albanian, a language until then mentioned only by a few medieval sources in Armenian and witnessed to by several short inscriptions which no one was able to fully understand. The successful deciphering of the discovered manuscripts helped to interpret these inscriptions. And most importantly, a full description of the Caucasian Albanian language became possible because parts of the Bible had been translated into this language.

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