Contractions in Bible Versions

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Rippon, Aug 25, 2007.

  1. Rippon

    Rippon
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    Well , what do you think ? Is it proper to use contractions in a Bible version ? Would their usage somehow diminish the loftiness Of God's Word ? I personally think they are fine , if their occurrence is not too frequent . The Bible is written , but meant to be read aloud as well . I think a natural-sounding speech pattern is appropriate . It would not detract from the majesty of Holy Writ . I do not want the Bible to sound casual either . A balance must be struck .
     
  2. StefanM

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    Deu 30:11 "For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off.
    Deu 30:12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, 'Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?'
    Deu 30:13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, 'Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?'
    Deu 30:14 But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.

    --------------
    Rom 10:5 For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them.
    Rom 10:6 But the righteousness based on faith says, "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'" (that is, to bring Christ down)
    Rom 10:7 or "'Who will descend into the abyss?'" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).
    Rom 10:8 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);
    Rom 10:9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

    ------------

    I see no need for "loftiness."
     
  3. kubel

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    I couldn't help but notice your post was contraction-less :).

    It would definitely make the Bible sound a bit more casual, but I'm not sure it would have that big of an impact. It depends, since some books are written with a little more or less formality than others. Just pulling a random verse (John 4:2 NIV with contraction added):

    ...although in fact it wasn't Jesus who baptized, but his disciples... ​

    It doesn't sound like it's excessively casual to me. It flows very nicely, and it says exactly the same thing that the contraction-less verse says. But if you use them everywhere in very informal cases (like contracting nouns), I don't think that would make for a great version.

    Anyway, that's just my $0.02.
     
  4. Rippon

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    NLTse/ESV

    More snippets follow .

    James

    1:16 : don't be misled
    Do not be deceived

    1:22 : don't just listen
    not hearers only

    1:23 : don't obey
    not a doer

    1:25 : don't forget what you heard
    no hearer who forgets

    2:4 doesn't this discrimination
    have you not then made distinctions

    2:5 : Hasn't God chosen
    has not God chosen

    2:6 : Isn't it the rich
    Are not the rich

    2:16 : don't give that person
    without giving them

    2:20 : Can't you see
    Do you want to be shown

    4:2 : you can't get it
    cannot obtain

    4:2 : you don't have
    You do not have

    4:4 : Don't you realize
    Do you not know

    4:11 : Don't speak evil
    Do not speak evil

    5:9 : Don't grumble
    Do not grumble
     
  5. TCGreek

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    I see it rather as a matter of style. However, one can argue that contraction can take away in some instances from the beauty and flow at times.
     
  6. Rippon

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    Kubel : contractionless ? How bout' ; "they're fine " , "wouldn't detract" , "don't want" from my OP ?
     
  7. Rippon

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    Can contractions lend to the flow at times TCG ? If we are accustomed to speech with a fair amount of contractions , why wouldn't the oral reading of the Word be an improvement over the full form of the words a good deal of the time ?
     
  8. TCGreek

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    Your point is taken. But the man who looks for "sacred" reading of the Word when he goes to church would be disappointed, for the Word would sound too much like talking with his buddies.
     
  9. Rippon

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    NLTse/ESV

    First up : Col.

    1:23 : Don't drift away
    not shifting from

    1:29 : That's why I work
    For this I toil

    2:8 : Don't let anyone
    See to it that no one

    2:16 : So don't let anyone condemn you
    Therefore let no one pass judgment on you

    Phil.

    1:23 : I'm torn between two desires
    I am hard pressed between the two

    1:28 : Don't be intimidated
    and not frightened

    2:4 : don't look out only for your own interests
    Let each of you look not only to his own interests

    3:12 : I don't mean to say
    Not that I have

    4:6 : Don't worry about anything
    Do not be anxious about anything

    4:17 : I don't say this
    Not that I

    Eph.

    2:11 : don't forget
    Therefore remember

    3:13 : So please don't lose heart
    So I ask you not to lose heart

    4:20 : But that isn't what you learned
    But that is not the way you learned

    4:26 : And don't sin
    and do not sin

    4:29 : Don't use
    Let no

    5:6 ; don't be fooled
    Let no one deceive you

    5:7 : Don't participate
    do not associate

    5:15 : Don't live like fools
    walk , not as unwise

    5:17 : Don't act thoughtlessly
    Therefore do not be foolish

    6:9 : Don't threaten them
    stop your threatening
     
  10. robycop3

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    I see nothing wronr with using'em, as they're part of current English.
     
  11. Jerome

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  12. Rippon

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    Well , Jerome that certainly is taking things to an extreme that I would never condone . Remember I like a reasonable balance . ( But if your link was just for laughs then ---:laugh: )
     
  13. Exile

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    I've been reading the HCSB lately, and it uses contractions liberally. They do disrupt the flow, especially in the Psalms, but after a while I didn't notice as much. It's more a matter of what we've come to expect, rather than fidelity to the text.
     
  14. Faith alone

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    Why not? I can't think of a reason to not use contractions. Anything that makes the Bible read by more people and understood - is good. :thumbs:

    FA
     
  15. kubel

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    Those weren't in your OP, I added them when I quoted you a second time ;).
     
  16. Ed Edwards

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  17. Bro. Williams

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    Does it matter? Really?
     
  18. kubel

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    I think it has mattered to a lot of people over the years. Some people want a more formal translation, and I have to admit, a contraction-less-ized verse does sound a lot more formal when read, especially aloud. On the other hand, some people want a translation that flows better. I think the big question is, to most people, do contractions make the Bible sound too informal (so much that people might take offense to the translators/revisers 'disrespecting' the word by taking too much liberty making it sound so informal)?
     
  19. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    When I started translating into Japanese my goal was a very colloquial version. My partner "Uncle Miya," however, was more old school and formal, having cut his Christian teeth on the Bungoyaku Classical Bible. We often clashed as we were developing our method.

    Two things converted me to using a more dignified style. (1) Uncle Miya's view that the translation of the Word of God should be dignified. (2) A Buddhist salesman who came to our door. As it turned out he had read the Bible quite a bit, but was disappointed in the lack of style in the Bible we use. He got me thinking more in the direction of a dignified translation. Having said that, we do strive for a style understandable by the typical Japanese high school student.

    If you are going to use contractions in an English translation, it shouldn't be done indiscriminately. Definite principles should be developed as to when to use contractions We use a normal spoken style (with the Japanese equivalent of contractions) in the conversations in the narrative sections of our translation, but not as a whole. Personally, I would never use contractions in the book of Psalms, for example. I would want to preserve the dignity of the Word of God while striving for readability--a balance, as Rippon has said.
     
  20. Rippon

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    Number Of Contractions In The Psalms

    I thought I would count the number of contractions in the first ten book of the Psalter. In the course of doing that I was able to benefit from the actual reading of the texts from five versions.

    ISV = I;NLTse = N;TNIV = T;HCSB = H; NIrV = R

    Chapter 1

    I = 2
    N = 0
    T = 0
    H = 0
    R = 4

    Chapter 2

    I = 3
    N = 0
    T = 0
    H = 0
    R = 0

    Chapter 3

    I = 1
    N = 0
    T = 0
    H = 0
    R = 0

    Chapter 4

    I = 2
    N = 1
    T = 0
    H = 0
    R = 0

    Chapter 5

    I = 3
    N = 0
    T = 0
    H = 0
    R = 3

    Chapter 6

    I = 5
    N = 0
    T = 0
    H = 0
    R = 4

    Chapter 7

    I = 4
    N = 0
    T = 0
    H = 0
    R = 2

    Chapter 8

    I = 0
    N = 0
    T = 0
    H = 0
    R = 0

    Chapter 9

    I = 8
    N = 0
    T = 0
    H = 0
    R = 1

    Chapter 10

    I = 4
    N = 1
    T = 1
    H = 0
    R = 3

    Grand Totals

    I = 32
    N = 2
    T = 1
    H = 0
    R = 17
     

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