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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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Advance Praise for Language Vitality Through Bible Translation

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“Bible translators were doing crowd-sourced translation and language revitalization long before these concepts existed. They have made major contributions to the introduction of orthographies, literacies, and texts into languages that were often otherwise exclusively oral. And they continue to make an outstanding contribution to language vitality, as the chapters in this volume amply attest. Bible translation can be transformative for a language, especially during the life of the project itself, when it engages some of the best minds of the community in solving formidably difficult problems in semantic mapping, orthography, metaphor, and language standardization. It may extend in influence far beyond the original project and shine as an example of best practice in ensuring language survival.”

K. David Harrison, Associate Professor, Linguistics Department, and Coordinator, Cognitive Science Program, Swarthmore College; Director of Research, Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages

“Language Vitality Through Bible Translation provides valuable case studies from around the world about the complex interplay of language documentation, literacy, religion, colonial inheritance, anti-imperial impulses and indigenous language use. The volume is a needed corrective to any simple notion of Bible translation among minority groups around the world, not only concerning who is driving the efforts, but also about the relation of translation work to cultural practices and community development. The contributing authors have all had direct involvement in Scripture translation projects. As a result, readers are given an insider perspective on important questions that commonly arise about Bible translation activities, such as: What,...

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