soul (breath / life)

The Hebrew phrase in 1 Kings 17:21 that is translated in English as “this child’s soul” or “this child’s life” is translated into Turkana as eyari (“breath”) which is the same term used in 1 Kings 17:17 (in English: “there was no breath left in him”).


The Greek that is translated into English versions as “throne” is translated into Naro as ntcõó-q’oo: “he will rule.” The figure of the “throne” cannot be translated in the egalitarian Naro culture, so the idea had to be expressed more explicitly. (Source: Gerrit van Steenbergen)

In other languages it is translated as “stool/seat of the king” (Marathi), “seat of commanding/chieftainship” (Highland Totonac, Kituba), “seat of the Supreme one (lit. of-him-who-has-the umbrella)” (Toraja-Sa’dan — the umbrella being a well-known symbol of power in various parts of South and South-East Asia), “glorious place to sit” (Ekari) (source: Reiling / Swellengrebel), “where God sits and rules” (Estado de México Otomi), “where God reigns” (Central Mazahua) (source: John Beekman in Notes on Translation, March 1965, p. 2ff.), or “bed of kingship” (Kafa) (source: Loren Bliese).

peace offering

The Hebrew that is rendered in English versions as “peace offering” is translated into Pökoot as pöghisyö: “gift of peace/fellowship”. This term has the connotations of fellowship, wholeness, restored relationships, etc. The word pöghisyö is also used as a common greeting (much like Shalom in Hebrew).


The Greek that is translated into English as “crucify” is translated into Naro with xgàu which literally means “to stretch” as is done with a skin after slaughtering in order to dry it. The word is also widely accepted in the churches. (Source: Gerrit van Steenbergen)

Similarly, Balinese and Toraja-Sa’dan also translate as “stretch him.” (Source: Reiling / Swellengrebel)

In Ghari it becomes “hammer to the cross” (source: David Clark), in Loma “fasten him to a spread-back-stick” (source: Bratcher / Nida), in Sundanese “hang him on a crossbeam” (source: Reiling / Swellengrebel), in Aguaruna “fasten him to the tree,” in Navajo “nail him to the cross”, in Yatzachi Zapotec “fasten him to the cross” (source for this and two above (source for this and above: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.), and in Apali the different aspects of the crucifixion have to be spelled out: “nail to a tree piece put cross-wise, lift up to stand upright (for the crucified person) to die (and in some contexts: to die and rise again)” (source: Martha Wade).

See also cross.

helpless, in despair, overcome

The Hebrew that is translated in various ways in English versions, including “helpless,” “overcome,” or “in despair” is translated into Pökoot as akikïmeghanïn mu: “my stomach is dead to me,” a figurative expression meaning “having completely lost all courage.”

See also despair and see Seat of the Mind for traditional views of “ways of knowing, thinking, and feeling.”


The Hebrew that is rendered in English as “proverbs” (or “Proverbs” as the title of the book) is translated into Pökoot as ngötïnyö (or Ngötïnyö), which refers to use of figurative language that is used in such a way that things are being said in an indirect way. At the same time they communicate general wisdom.

form, nature

The Greek that is translated in English versions as “form” or “nature” (in “though he was in the form / nature of God”) is translated into Naro as the same “color” (tc’úúan) as God. This expression is widely used and generally known in Naro. (See also God’s nature.)