Date: Tue, 3 Jan 1995 18:03:54 CST


Subject: Re: Gullah Bible

In Message Tue, 3 Jan 1995 09:07:29 EST,

Wayne Glowka wglowka[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]gc3.GAC.PeachNet.EDU writes:

I saw a notice for the "first complete book of

the Bible" printed in Gullah by the American Bible Society. ...

"De Good Nyews Bout Jedus Christ Wa Luke Write."

... Has

anyone seen this Bible? How authentic is its Gullah? I have been very shy

in regard to examples of Gullah ever since I heard Sali speak about

unauthentic Gullah some twelve or thirteen years ago.

Boy! I did not realize it's been that long! I have a copy of the Gullah

Bible. Its text competes well with the aclaimed renditions of Gullah by

Ambrose Gonzales, whom Pat Sharpe holds in high esteem, and recent writers

such as Virginia Geraty in Charleston, S.C. The latter has actually been a

consultant to the project. What makes this one very interesting is that it

has involved educated native speakers such as Ron Daise and Reverend Ervin

Greene. There are the usual problems of adjusting a spoken variety to a

written medium, regularizing some structural options, but nothing that makes

this Gullah unauthentic. It should be a good research resource for tracking

grammatical constructions: how they compare with texts collected from

spontaneous speech. There also arises the problem of how much eye dialect is

allowed to distort without creating a fiction of its own, but this is not a

problem peculiar to this Bible translation. Actually, Wayne, you may be

pleased to know that on every page the original English text (that from

which the translation was made) is given in a small column and typesetting.

I should have examined the work more carefully, but I feel safe in stating

the above comments.

Happy new year,


Salikoko S. Mufwene

University of Chicago

Dept. of Linguistics

1010 East 59th Street

Chicago, IL 60637


312-702-8531; fax: 312-702-9861