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Ancient Bible text discovered in Birmingham December 19, 2019

Posted by Pete B in Dialect versions.

Sometimes all you have to do is Google, at other times finding old translations takes a little more digging and knowing the right person to ask.

I’ve had a copy of Kate Fletcher’s Gospels in Black Country Dialect (as spoken in parts of the West Midlands, England) for a while now. It was originally published in 1986 but some research (I googled) just uncovered an older retelling of the Christmas story…

“Yo’m gooin ter av a babby,” said the angel.

That shook er, and er looked at im an said: “Doh be saft. I ay marrid.”

“That do mek no difference,” ee answered. “If God says yo’ll av a babby, yo’ll ava a babby, yo will an that’s it. Yo’ve got ter call im Jesus.”

Michael Prescott, 1968, reprinted 2013, expressandstar.com/news/2013/12/25/have-yourself-a-bostin-christmas/

The script has since been recorded in the local dialect and made available on Vimeo.

As with a number of colloquial retellings there is a certain amount of interpretation in the story. It was the work of someone from outside the community, a Londoner, who used to get children in his church Sunday school to tell stories from the Bible in their own words.

Geoff Broadway, Kate Jackson, Alex Williams, Juanita Williams
Commissioned as part of ‘Where’s Our Spake Gone?’ project.

The Bible translations many of my friends and colleagues assist in go through many stages of drafting and checking to ensure that they stay true to the meaning of the original text while bringing the story alive.

Each year new groups hear it for the first time in their own language, while others discover texts and videos that have been around for a while, but which they never knew existed.


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