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 (Matthew 26:33)

Following are a number of back-translations of Matthew 26:33:

  • Uma: “After that, Petrus said: ‘Even though all people’s faith in you (sing.) is shaken, Lord, not me!'” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “So-then Petros said to him, ‘Even if all of them leave you, Sir, but I, I will certainly not leave you.'” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And then Peter said to him, ‘Even if the faith of all of these my companions becomes weak, my faith, by contrast, won’t get weak no matter what happens.'” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Whereupon Pedro said, ‘Even if all these my companions run-away, I will not abandon you (singular).'” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Pedro spoke saying, ‘Even if the belief/obeying of all of them in you is lacking, as for me I will never leave/desert you.'” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Peter said to him: ‘Even though all the others will desert you, yet I will not desert you,’ he said.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)