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How far through the Bible can a 100-word vocabulary get you? April 2, 2011

Posted by Pete B in Uncategorized.

England’s Italian football manager Fabio Capello claims he can manage his players with just 100 words. How far could a skilled Bible translator or preacher get with the same limitations?
For more on the football manager see the BBC article here. The BBC then went on to issue the 100 word challenge  calling on people to say something meaningful with only the 100 most commonly used words in (printed) English.
In my second attempt I went for a verse of scripture:


So here’s your first challenge. What other verses can you translate using just the BBC’s 100 word list?

I’m expecting a few of my readers to do quite well but there are definitely rather a lot of things you won’t be able to say.
Perhaps a more realistic challenge is to try reading scripture in any language where you have a limited vocabulary. Perhaps you know 100 words of something perhaps a 1000, but if you are not fluent there will be bits you miss.
Visit www.bibles.org or one of the other great sites on our Bible resources page and give it a go.

If 100 word vocabulary is too limiting you might like to know (and tell others) that there is a translation of the Bible in Easy English that uses a 1200 word vocabulary. (Also stories in even simpler Accessible Easy English designed for people with learning difficulties)

For some reading the Bible in a second language is a choice, for others it is a challenge faced every time they go to church or encounter scripture in other ways, in languages they only partially understand.


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