Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Gospel in Many Tongues

John Sharp (ed) - The Gospel in Many Tongues (1921)

Open Library direct link 
Open Library main page

Samples of 543 languages and probably most won't be recognized by anybody not a linguist.  This is mainly a promotional book for the British and Foreign Bible Society (the opening has a plea for donations) and though there's a claim that this will interest philologists the samples are far too short for that.  Still I think it's fascinating to skim for the sheer variety in both the languages themselves and the writing systems.  (And yes Esperanto is included but not Volapuk.)

There's no historical background or information about how the translations were made though it's safe to say that most were from English so they wouldn't be entirely reliable.  Still considering the rocky, shall we say, history of English translation the number presented here is nevertheless remarkable.