Gordon Swaby

Patois Bible? Are you kidding?…..

Over the last few weeks i have been paying close attention to the debate on whether or not the bible should be translated to patois.Good points seemed to have been raised on both sides of the table.  I will go on to give my 2 cents on the whole thing.

Should it be translated?

No, certainly not. $60 Million could be better spent elsewhere. Also, there is no standard in which patois should or should not be written.

The Matter of Literacy

It is unfortunate, but a good amount of Jamaicans can barely read or not able to read at all…how would they go about reading patois?.  Sure! it’s easy to communicate with it, but writing and reading it is totally a different kettle of fish.  Use the money to fulfill more meaningful resolves.  I’m sure we can find more “creative” ways to express our beautiful language that is loved by many…translating the bible to patwa is not one of them.

I also suggest we move away from calling it “patois”.  The meaning of patois is “uneducated or provincial speech”,can’t be associating or dialect with such a word now can we?.  Call it Jamlish (Not a word…yet) or something along that line, that would certainly be a step forward.

Translating the bible to “patois” will not mircaciously gain it new readership.  What will happen is that a few curious folks (like myself) will skeem through this “patois bible” just for the sake of curiosity; it would then be put aside and not be read…just like the english one.

Written by Gordon Swaby

Gordon Swaby

Founder and CEO of social learning service EduFocal.com. I’m passionate about technology, the internet and the use of technology in education. I am a recipient of Governor General’s Youth Award, the PSOJ’s 50 Under 50 Award, The commonwealth Youth Award and many others.


Lovingly made on Wednesday, June 25th, 2008 at 8:16 pm. Filed under Interesting, Jamaica/Politics, Rant.

  • http://mythoughtsonstuff.com Leon

    True words. It’s just a waste of money. Written patois is mainly for tourists in my opinion.

  • Anton

    The only comment I would make is that in some countries and areas, the Bible became to standard why which a common spelling or written form came about. There are some people for which a written form was invented by the writing of a Bible in their language. In fact, English spelling was standardised primarily by popular works of literature (bible, Shakespeare, etc.)until a dictionary was written.

  • G

    I share the SAME sentiments. But people still read the KJV and the NIV etc. I don’t think you were saying people don’t in general. Oh, but like how u no read your bible those acronyms mean King James Version and New International Version 🙂

  • Gavin Price

    I believe the patois bible is good in the sense that we still have a national pride and a pride for our language but still doesnt justify why it should be done. If we put the bible in patois it could draw away the message that is suppose to be brought across and even place some emphasis on certain areas which may seem demeaning. An example is the virgin birth where the angel said Mary you shall have a baby in patois it would read something like ths the “virgin did a breed”. That seems a bit demeaning to me concubine – whore etc. Nah dont do it. ppl hardly understand the english already which how we gonna understand a language that is not constant which range from parish to countries its a waste of funds that could be used for something else its good that we are thinking about God but i would think God would want the 60 million to help the needy.

    Do the right thing help the needy or help people to learn English and patois before we think of translating the bible into patois.

  • Tilly

    Give me a break. We don’t need a patois bible. How about mastering the English language first. Let’s not perpetuate ignorance with this. We don’t need yet another interpretation of the bible circulating out there.



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