Patois Bible – A Change for the ‘betta’?

Author : teriann

The Bible’s book of Luke has been ‘Jamaicanised’ by being rewritten in patois. It was published by The Bible Society and released on August 8, 2010. 

 Historically, patois has always been the chosen language of Jamaicans but has often been cast in an unfavourable light. Some parents even chastise their children for talking ‘badly’ when they speak patois.

So what about the translation of the Bible into patois? Well the Bible was once only available in Latin and had to be translated to a language that people could easily understand.

As long as they don’t tamper with the original meaning of the text, I don’t think it is a problem. However, since patois is mostly an oral language with no set pattern there is a possibility that there might be a discrepancy between the patois and its English equivalent.

So what do you think? Click the link to read the entire article

Teri Ann Paisley (Gleaner on-line writer)

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29 Responses to “Patois Bible – A Change for the ‘betta’?”

  1. jo bent says:

    Our youths will have to compete on the Global market, our world is changing and it’s ok for
    patois to be spoken among us on the playgrounds etc, however English being our official language should be known and spoken in
    our nation, to not insist on our children speaking proper english is silly, that in itself causes some of the childrens stuggles in english tests, not being able to articulate past, present tense also writing struggles.

    I have nothing against this bible, but what will this do for us Jamaicans or the country?,
    put another notch on our belts for coming up
    with another min-ute brainstorm? Some pastors already preach in patois because its the way
    they speak in everyday life.

    I am not knocking this bible but how many Jamaicans can read patois, how many can write it?,one first must be literate to master this feat.

    Regarding translation I can see ppl interpeting
    this version their way,” an di lawd god almighty seh galang forth go multiply” , or “by
    di sweat a dem brow dem ago nyam bread” LOL

    I marvel when watching CVM interview some ppl in certain positions how much they struggle to put a proper english sentence together, patois is ok but I prefer it as a private communication between us, ever notice how the Africans teaches no ome their dialects? I’ve known ppl who marry them and they will not teach them their dialect, but they teach their kids, We run our mouths and want to sell every piece of our culture

  2. jo bent says:

    PS A few pickney lef yaad go a farrin, an dem
    put dem inna ESL class causa seh dem coulda
    neba undarstan weh di poor pickney dem a seh a di school a brooklyn.


  3. Vivian Stephenson says:

    Smadi a try fi mek a dunza. All kinda angle inna di juggling.

  4. Joan Denton says:

    Dat is a tall arda. Mi love mi patios and mi tek it wid mi evi whe mi go.But a patios Bible? no sah! Even some a di most edicated people mi kno struggle wid both readin an writing patois. So mi ask yuh who is the patios Bible fah? Di people dem wid dem good command a di hinglish langwigh nah guh read it except fi spoot an dem whe a struggle wid hinglish neida a guh understan ar hav time to. Dam a go too busy tryin fi larn hinglih. At least Latin had mensa mensa mensam. No mi fren, dis a nuh whe wi want pon di table right now. A waste of money if yuh ask mi!!!

  5. June says:

    This is so ridiculus ,The time would be better spent in teaching and encouraging Jamaicans all to learn and speak the world’s most widely spoken language. Where can any go and get a job speaking only Patois. Foreign investors come to the country do you expect them to learn Patois they can easily find some other island. There is no Patois dictionary people just say what they want. One can certainly make better use of there time by learning the language of commerce.

  6. June says:

    The Language of commerce should be taught and spoken . Anywhere in the world you go you will find someone that speaks English

  7. Maria Davis says:

    Rubbish, I cant even read patios much less read patio bible.

  8. Ras Howard Henry says:

    Of course i think to express the bible in the language of patois would be a great move for the jamaican people,i think they would be able to separate the realities from the illusions in such book that even contradicts itself in various ways.

    The bible is filled with parables even more than the litheral stuff,it was mean’t to be a book easy to overstand when read but instead it’s one of the most complicated book,it’s full of confusion if read by persons who are not on the level of overstandings.
    Take for instance in the very beginning the book of genesis where it states a serpent talking to eve inorder to mislead her,there are lots of people who think that this serpent was as a snake leave them wondering how can a snake talk leaving them in nothing but confusion.

    I think by using the patois to reset such book will help jamaicans to see how mush they were been brainwash away from the real truth only the truth can set our people free.
    There are so many lies been potrays in the bible that i think the patois will able the jamaicans to see and acknowledge more clearly,it also can caused problems for these preachers who keep lying to their congregations at every meet so im saying to do such expression in patois lets not only look on the good results but lets also prepare ourselves for other things that can occurs.
    There is a jamaican proverbs that say,sweet to the mouth but bitter to the belly.

    Ras Howard Henry
    521 westmoreland ave
    syracuse new york
    315 863 1024

  9. LadyJA says:

    It’s alright speaking patois when you are among friends and family. But many Jamaicans who go to foreign places dont realise that they cannot communicate that way with non-Jamaicans. But unfortunately they do because they dont know better, and mistakenly believe that english-speaking people should be able to understand what they are saying. This is most unfortunate and is a factor in the many obstacles Jamaicans are up against when them leave “yaad” in search of opportunities abroad. Patois is not a language; it is a distortion of the english language (as in badly spoken). I know of Africans who can speak it just from being around Jamaicans. We are still a young nation trying to find our way in a fast moving technological world that is not going to wait for us to catch up. Sorry but no, with patois we are going “backwud” instead of forward.

  10. teriann says:

    I think everyone has raised vital points. The one that I agree with the most is Joan, it took me ages to read her comment (written in patois) most people can not read patois so it would defeat the purpose. Oh well the debate rages on….

  11. aj says:

    If you are going to do a patois Bible then you have to make patois a subject in school, where it is studied. Only English is taught and so people read and understand in English. Patois is learned naturally in our day to day runnings but sad to say only a handful of people can actually read and understand it. Seeing it on paper it looks like a foreign language and I am not sure of the pronunciations so a Bible like that would be of no help for a lot of Christians like myself. De concept good but it nuh practical at dis time.

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  13. Jo Bent says:

    Patois is not an official language, it has no dictionary, are we to furthur confuse our youths when most have not mastered english yet?

    @ Ras are you saying there would be a new interpetation of the parables from a Jamaican prospect, seem like it would be a new bible to move away from what it now says, I’m not saying
    that getting away from Thou, thee, shalt etc would not be geeting away from the old speech version, but changing parables?????

    Back to patois everybody seem to do their own thing with no order some will say “mi seh” or
    “mi sey” “unnu” “uhnu”.

  14. Great pieces as usual…

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  16. paulette says:

    I read the post with great interest,but patio is for socialising with friends who will understand it,patio is like a foreign 13yrs old daughter left jamaica at age six ,she visit the island every summer ,she like to hear people talk patio .when she try to make a sentence in patio is as if she is try in very hard to get the word form.patio should be left for people whom is comfortable wiht it

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