gullah new testament


I think this is really cool. There’s a rich community on the coast of Carolina (mostly around Charleston). It’s the Gullah. They now have the New Testament translated for them. Here’s an excerpt:

John 1:1-5 from De Nyew Testament
1 Fo God mek de wol, de Wod been dey. De Wod been dey wid God, an de Wod been God.
2 Fo God mek de wol, de Wod been dey wid God.
3 Shru dat Wod, God mek ebryting. Ain nottin een de whole wol wa God mek dat been done dout de Wod.
4 De Wod, e de one wa all life come fom. An dis life yah de life wa da mek all people see de light.
5 De light da shine een de daak, an de daak ain neba been able fa pit out dat light.

John 1:1-5 (NIV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was with God in the beginning.
3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

Thanks to Steve for the tip.

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  • Cool indeed! I have linked to you post from one on my blog.

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  • Jo

    I didn’t realize people who talk that way could read! I’m not trying to be disrespectful, it just baffles me.

    I think that I heard this dialect being spoken on an audiobook of “Tree Castle Island.” The story takes place in the okefenokee swamp. It’s quite intriguing. I found it in the children’s section of OCPL, but it’s engaging enough for adults.

  • I noticed your mention of the Gullah New Testament translation. I was part of the Sea Island Translation team. On the question of how people would be able to read the Gullah, I will try to explain a little. There have been hundreds of scripture translations produced for languages that don’t have a written tradition, so the question of how the speakers are going to be able to access the written translation is a common one. There are a variety of approaches, usually involving the development of a literacy program among the language group. In this particular case, there are thousands, and even hundreds of thousands, of people who are biligual in Gullah and English and who know how to read and write English. (There are also thousands of Gullah speakers who aren’t strong in English.) The writing system used in the Gullah translation is geared towards Gullah speakers who already know how to read and write English. This is explained in the preface to the Gullah New Testament, if you can get a copy.

  • Sharon Leonard

    I am extremely intrested in the Gullah New Testament and would love to purchase a copy! Please forward any information you have about how I can obtain a copy.

  • The simplest way to get a copy of the Gullah New Testament, if you don’t live in the lowcountry, is to go through or call their toll-free number 1-800-32-BIBLE (1-800-322-4253). To find it on the web site, you might have to do a search on “Gullah.” is a distribution outlet for the American Bible Society, publisher of the Gullah New Testament. The cost is $9.99.