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Language Vitality Through Bible Translation


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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13. The effect of Bible translation on literacy among Nenets Christians


13. The effect of Bible translation on literacy among Nenets Christians

EUN SUB SONG Institute for Bible Translation—Russia/CIS

1. Introduction

The Nenets language [ISO: yrk] belongs to the Samoyedic branch of the Uralic language family, together with the Enets [enh], Nganasan [nio], and Selkup [sel] languages. Even though Tundra Nenets and Forest Nenets are considered to be two dialects of the same language, mutual intelligibility is low, since the phonology and lexicon of Forest Nenets have been influenced by eastern Khanty dialects. About 95% of the Nenets people speak the Tundra dialect and about 5% the Forest dialect. Tundra Nenets is spread out over a vast territory and is thus divided into several dialects itself. However, these dialects exhibit merely minor phonetic and lexical differences and are mutually intelligible with each other.

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