formal pronoun: disciples addressing Jesus

Like many languages (but unlike Greek or Hebrew or English), Tuvan uses a formal vs. informal 2nd person pronoun (a familiar vs. a respectful “you”). Unlike other languages that have this feature, however, the translators of the Tuvan Bible have attempted to be very consistent in using the different forms of address in every case a 2nd person pronoun has to be used in the translation of the biblical text.

As Voinov shows in Pronominal Theology in Translating the Gospels (in: The Bible Translator 2002, p. 210ff.), the choice to use either of the pronouns many times involved theological judgment. While the formal pronoun can signal personal distance or a social/power distance between the speaker and addressee, the informal pronoun can indicate familiarity or social/power equality between speaker and addressee.

Here, individual or several disciples address Jesus with the formal pronoun, expressing respect. Compare this to how that address changes after the resurrection.

In most Dutch translations, the disciples address Jesus before and after the resurrection with the formal pronoun.

complete verse (Luke 24:18)

Following are a number of back-translations of Luke 24:18:

  • Uma: “One, named Kleopas, asked Yesus, he said: ‘Have you (sing.) just arrived in Yerusalem that you do not know what happened several days ago?'” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “Then one of them, his name was Kelopas, answered, he said, ‘Is it that you don’t know what has happened recently in Awrusalam but all the people there know?'” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And one of them, named Cleopas, answered and he said, ‘You must be the only person who has come here to the town of Jerusalem who doesn’t know what’s going on.'” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Then one of them who was named Cleopas said, ‘You (singular) must be the only one staying in Jerusalem who doesn’t know what has happened there in these days that have passed.'” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “One person whose name was Cleopas said, ‘Probably you alone of all the people in Jerusalem don’t know these things which happened here these days.'” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)