inclusive vs. exclusive pronoun (Gen. 3:2)

Many languages distinguish between inclusive and exclusive first-person plural pronouns (“we”). 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, the Jarai and the Adamawa Fulfulde translation both use the exclusive pronoun, excluding the snake.


The Hebrew that is translated into English as “garden” is translated into Naskapi with a word that means “a place for things to grow.”

Doug Lockhart (in Word Alive 2013) explains: “‘Garden’ was another term that had no Naskapi equivalent. ‘There are no gardens here,’ Bill [Jancewicz, a translation consultant] explains. ‘So what word do you use for ‘Garden of Eden,’ and have it communicate something logical in Naskapi? We finally came up with a word that means ‘a place for things to grow,’ like a park.'”