The Scriptures in Unusual Languages

The count made in 1997 by the United Bible Societies showed that all or part of the Scriptures had, at that time, been translated into 2,092 languages of the world.  The Ramseyer-Northern Bible Society Museum Collection has only a bare one fifth of this output, but among the ones which it does have are some which are noteworthy in being unusual representatives of the work of translators over the last couple of centuries. 

Fifteen items will be on display from January through March 1999, including such ancient languages as Syriac, Ethiopic and Coptic, and such modern tongues as Gullah, spoken in the Sea Island off Georgia, and Nama, a "click" language spoken in Namibia.  Also to be seen will be the phonetic form of Mandarin Chinese (Chu Yin), Aztec, two of the dialects of Romany, the language of the Gypsies, and two of the dialects of the Sami language, formerly referred to as Lappish. 

Also on display will be an example of the unusual script of Bugis, spoken in the Celebes, and an unusual form of Arabic written in Hebrew characters


Aztec is still the mother tongue of a million or so Mexican Indians and is related to indigenous languages of the south-western United States. The Catholic Lectionary in Classical Aztec which is on display was published in Milan in 1858.    #F80

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