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Sunday, June 19, 2005

languagehat blog post

I have frequently visited the interesting blog, called languagehat. It's nice to see that he has taken notice of the Better Bibles Blog and was able to tell that we don't like the prescriptive grammar approach to using "proper English" in Bible translations. It is not always easy to explain why it is so important to me that English Bible translators use good quality, "proper" English in their translation, which is different from saying that English Bible translators should follow all the rules that prescriptive grammarians have said we should follow in speaking or writing English, such as:

1. Don't end a sentence with a preposition.
2. Don't split an infinitive (a rule carried over from Latin, and which doesn't apply to English).
3. And never begin a sentence with the word "and."

By "proper English" I always mean proper English, as it is defined by usage among good, fluent speakers of English, who can write good literary English. There are several English Bible versions which have been produced in recent years which use English which I find painful to read. It breaks so many of the normal usage rules of English. Our English Bibles would be so much more effective if they only used English which followed actual English usage grammatical and semantic rules, not syntax or word combinations which are imported from the original biblical languages. We can leave the latter kind of English for interlinear translations of the Bible. For real translations, let's have real English!

Some of you might like to visit the languagehat blog sometimes. It has been in my Linguablogs blogroll for a long time, and you can also get to it by clicking on the title to this blog post.

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