In Aekyom, years are counted as “turtles” (ambum).
Norm Mundhenk tells this story:
“Recently I was checking some New Testament material in the Aekyom language of western Papua New Guinea. It seemed relatively clear until suddenly we came to a passage that started, ‘When Jesus had 12 turtles, …’ Surely I had misunderstood what they said.
“‘Did you say that Jesus had 12 turtles?’
“‘Let us explain! Around here there is a certain time every year when river turtles come up on the banks and lay their eggs. Because this is so regular, it can be used as a way of counting years. Someone’s age is said to be how many turtles that person has. So when we say that Jesus had 12 turtles, we mean that Jesus was 12 years old.’
“It was of course the familiar story of Jesus’ trip with his parents to Jerusalem. And certainly, as we all know, Jesus did indeed have 12 turtles at that time!”
In Tok Pisin, krismas (derived from “christmas”) is taken as the fixed annual marker, so Jesus had 12 “christmases” (Jisas i gat 12-pela krismas pinis) or Abram (in Gen. 12:4) had 75 (Abram i gat 75 krismas) (source: Norm Mundhenk). In Nyongar it is biroka kadak or “summers had” (source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang).
See also advanced in years.
(To view the different translations of this term in a simplified graphical form on a new page, click or tap here.)
The Hebrew and Greek terms that are translated as “circumcise” or “circumcision” in English (originally meaning of English term: “to cut around”) are (back-) translated in various ways:
- Chimborazo Highland Quichua: “to cut the flesh”
- San Miguel El Grande Mixtec, Navajo: “to cut around”
- Javanese: “to clip-away”
- Uab Meto: “to pinch and cut” (usually shortened to “to cut”)
- North Alaskan Inupiatun, Western Highland Purepecha: “to put the mark”
- Tetelcingo Nahuatl: “to put the mark in the body showing that they belong to God” (or: “that they have a covenant with God”)
- Indonesian: disunat — “undergo sunat” (sunat is derived from Arabic “sunnah (سنة)” — “(religious) way (of life)”)
- Ekari: “to cut the end of the member for which one fears shame” (in Gen. 17:10) (but typically: “the cutting custom”) (source for this and above: Reiling / Swellengrebel)
- Hiri Motu: “cut the skin” (source: Deibler / Taylor 1977, p. 1079)
- Garifuna: “cut off part of that which covers where one urinates”
- Bribri: “cut the soft” (source for this and the one above: Ronald Ross)
- Amele: deweg cagu qoc — “cut the body” (source: John Roberts)
- Eastern Highland Otomi: “cut the flesh of the sons like Moses taught” (source: Ronald D. Olson in Notes on Translation January, 1968, p. 15ff.)
- Newari: “put the sign in one’s bodies” (Source: Newari Back Translation)
- Central Mazahua: “sign in his flesh”
- Hopi: “being cut in a circle in his body” (source for this and above: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)