exclusion of oneself with the use of non-first personal pronoun

In Alekano it is not possible to use a non-first person pronoun to not exclude oneself in those being referred to. “Thus in the translation of Romans chapter 9, when the apostle Paul speaks of the heritage of the Jews , he says, ‘they are God’s chosen people; he made them his sons . . . ‘ etc . This meant to the hearers that Paul was not a Jew; so the whole passage had to be recast using the first plural pronouns instead of the third plural.”


The Hebrew and the Greek that are translated as “covenant” in English are translated in a variety of ways. Here are some (back-) translations:

  • Mossi: “helping promise”
  • Vai: “a thing-time-bind” (i.e. “an arrangement agreed upon for a period of time”)
  • Loma (Liberia): “an agreement”
  • Northwestern Dinka: “agreement which is tied up” (i.e. “secure and binding”)
  • Chol: “a word which is left”
  • Huastec: “a broken-off word” (“based on the concept of ‘breaking off a word’ and leaving it with the person with whom an agreement has been reached”)
  • Tetelcingo Nahuatl: “a death command” (i.e. “a special term for testament”)
  • Piro: “a promised word”
  • Eastern Krahn: “a word between”
  • Yaka: “promise that brings together” (source for this and all above: Bratcher / Nida)
  • Q’anjob’al: “put mouths equal” (representing agreement) (source: Newberry and Kittie Cox in The Bible Translator 1950, p. 91ff.)
  • Manikion, Indonesian: “God’s promise” (source: Daud Soesilo)
  • Natügu: nzesz’tikr drtwr: “oneness of mind” (source: Brenda Boerger in Beerle-Moor / Voinov, p. 164)
  • Tagalog: tipan: mutual promising on the part of two persons agreeing to do something (also has a romantic touch and denotes something secretive) (source: G. Henry Waterman in The Bible Translator 1960, p. 24ff.)
  • Guhu-Samane: “The concept [in Mark 14:24 and Matthew 16:28] is not easy, but the ritual freeing of a fruit and nut preserve does afford some reference. Thus, ‘As they were drinking he said to them, ‘On behalf of many this poro provision [poro is the traditional religion] of my blood is released.’ (…) God is here seen as the great benefactor and man the grateful recipient.” (Source: Ernest Richert in The Bible Translator, 1965, p. 81ff.)

complete verse (Romans 9:4)

Following are a number of back-translations of Romans 9:4:

  • Uma: “Long ago the Israel people received many blessings from God, because they are the people that God made his portion from of old, he made them his own children. He showed them his power. From the promise(s) of God to the Israel people long ago they have a connection with God. He gave them his Laws, he taught them their worship customs. Many are the good promises of God to the Israel people.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “God gave much good to them. They are the tribe/nation chosen by God to be his people. And they were also made his children by him. He showed his brightness to them. Several times God covenanted with them. It was to them he gave his law. They were taught by him how they should honor him. Many were his promises to them that he really would help them.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “For they are also descendants of Israel. God adopted them long ago as His children, and He showed them his powerful shineyness and He promised them that He would bless them, and He gave them the Law, and He taught them the proper way to worship Him. And there are many other good promises that He made to them.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “They have many advantages (lit. distinguishing-places), because they are the descendants of Israel whom God chose to be his people and they are the ones whom he made his children. They also are the ones to whom God showed his godhood. They are the ones who inherited what God repeatedly-promised their ancestors and he also promised them many-things. They indeed also are the ones to whom God gave his law and to whom he made-known the correct way to worship him.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “The Jews are the descendants of Israel. God called them to make them his children. These saw the power of God. They received the agreement. They were given the law they must follow. They were told the way they were to worship. Beautiful was the word God promised to do for the Jews.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)


The Greek that is translated in English as “Law” or “law” is translated in Mairasi as oro nasinggiei or “prohibited things.” (Source: Enggavoter 2004)

In Yucateco the phrase that is used for “law” is “ordered-word” (for “commandment,” it is “spoken-word”) (source: Nida 1947, p. 198) and in Central Tarahumara it is “writing-command.” (wsource: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)