This soft-cover book is published by Wycliffe Bible Translators, the world's largest organization involved in translating the Bible into the languages of native people. Linguistics professor Joseph Grimes worked with 26 Pidgin speakers in a 12-year translation effort. Grimes was a visiting professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1986 and later moved to the Waianae coast of O'ahu to work on this project after his retirement from Cornell University.
What is Pidgin? Pidgin is a language born of the mix of tongues brought to Hawaii in the late 1800s by immigrant sugar-cane laborers from China, Japan, Portugal, Puerto Rico, the Philippines and other countries. Their need for a common language produced what the translators of this book call "Hawai'i Creole English," popularly known as Pidgin.
One may ask why the Bible should be translated into Pidgin. The answer is found on the book's official Web site and we quote them here:
- "Jesus Christ, he fo everybody. He not jus fo da peopo dat talk English."
- "Get plenny peopo dat undastan da local Pidgin mo betta den da English. Az good, dey check out wat God say, dea own language!"
- "Da Pidgin Bible talk strait to da heart fo plenny peopo. Fo dem, da English talk mo to da head."
- "Da peopo dat know Jesus, if dey goin do good job fo help odda peopo find out bout Jesus, an teach, dey gotta use dose peopo's language, so dose peopo can know him fo real too."
This translation of the New Testament is not without its critics. Many in Hawaii remain opposed to any who attempt to promote the use of Pidgin, however, the critics appear to be outnumbered by those who support this effort as part of the renaissance in Hawaiian Culture and in the cultures of the many races which make up the people of Hawaii today.
The actual text of the translation speaks better than anything else. As found in Matthew 6:9-13, the Lord's Prayer:
"God, you our Fadda.
You stay inside da sky.
We like all da peopo know fo shua how you stay,
An dat you stay good an spesho,
An we like dem give you plenny respeck.
We like you come King fo everybody now.
We like everybody make jalike you like,
Ova hea inside da world,
Jalike da angel guys up inside da sky make jalike you like.
Give us da food we need fo today an every day.
Hemmo our shame, an let us go
Fo all da kine bad stuff we do to you,
Jalike us guys let da odda guys go awready,
And we no stay huhu wit dem
Fo all da kine bad stuff dey do to us.
No let us get chance fo do bad kine stuff,
But take us outa dea, so da Bad Guy no can hurt us.
Cuz you our King.
You get da real power,
An you stay awesome foeva.