inclusive vs. exclusive pronoun (Exo. 13:14)

Many languages distinguish between inclusive and exclusive first-person plural pronouns (“we”). (Click or tap here to see more details)

The inclusive “we” specifically includes the addressee (“you and I and possibly others”), while the exclusive “we” specifically excludes the addressee (“he/she/they and I, but not you”). This grammatical distinction is called “clusivity.” While Semitic languages such as Hebrew or most Indo-European languages such as Greek or English do not make that distinction, translators of languages with that distinction have to make a choice every time they encounter “we” or a form thereof (in English: “we,” “our,” or “us”).

For this verse, translators typically select the inclusive form. (“These words were to be spoken for generations to come, so that through this ritual all Israelites will be able to feel themselves included in the deliverance from Egypt and come to understand Yahweh’s deliverance anew.”)

The Adamawa Fulfulde translation uses the inclusive pronoun.

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