Buk Baibel

Yesterday, I purchased a whopping 1,769 page book from the local store – the Buk Baibel.  It is, so you know, the Tok Pisin translation of the whole Bible, and it’s very handsomely done – complete with sketches every so often, a dozen full color photos of Biblical settings, and introductions to each book.

Already, I’ve found it a great help for my language learning (though I’m still woefully behind my comrades here), especially just the basic sentence structure.  But you probably don’t really want to hear about that.  Instead, I’ll give you a taste for how it actually reads.

Here’s Genesis 1:1 –

Bipo bipo tru God i mekim kamap skai na graun no olgeta samting i stap long en.

If you read it out loud, you’ll notice that a lot of the words (‘skai’, ‘graun’, ‘mekim’) have some English equivalent, since the language itself has a great deal of english influence.

An odd thing about the language, though, is that with such a limited vocabulary, sometimes a simple word in English needs far more words in tok pisin to translate it properly.  Take, for example, the way to say “zoo” in Tok Pisin:  bikpela gaden ol i putim long en olkain pisin na ol wail samting i save wokabaut long bus.

Which is why Matthew 5:3 in English is:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

And in Tok Pisin is:

Ol manmeri i save, ol i stap rabis tru long ol samting bilong God, em ol i ken amamas. Ol dispela manmeri bai i kisim ol gutpela samting bilong kingdom bilong heven.

By the way, on a somewhat unrelated note, I used the russian doll set (pictured previously) to tell my haus meri all about my wondrous family today (in Tok Pisin, mind you).  She was much amused.

And she said plenty of things I didn’t understand at all.

6 thoughts on “Buk Baibel

  1. Needless to say, Banagrams takes much longer to play (has a game of Tok Pisin Banagrams ever been completed?)…and takes 6 sets of regular Banagram game pieces.

  2. Reminds me of an app for some phone in recent commercials…as the guy travels the world, it translates his jokes in the language of the country he is in. it’d be great if they had one for Tok Pisin, but not nearly as much fun or as challenging.
    Love your entries, Alan.

    Karyn folmar

  3. i painim pinis tok pisin i no inap! (as is evidently described here) I cannot imagine undertaking reading the Bible in another language. Still, you are young and (unlike me) your brain still works. I thought of your classroom yesterday b/c I went to the Ham to help my daughter set up her classroom. we had a time trying to fit 26 desks into a not so big room, plus a bookshelf, a filing cabinet, etc. i sure hope they have calculated her class sizes incorrectly. all i could think about was how stark the room was in comparison to yours. it had no character or charm, and nary a chalkboard to be found. it was all white erase boards. so, we did our best to cozy it up a bit. sure would love to have your hard wood floor!

  4. “zoo” is the next foreign word they should bring into their lexicon. Just saying… says Helen


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s