1. SubscriberFMF
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    31 Mar '14 10:19
    In the early nineties, I read the Bible ~ both OT and NT ~ in its entirety, in Indonesian, in an effort to take some hefty strides towards mastering the language.

    I used it partly because of the paucity of other suitable learning/reading material, perched as I was in a book-lacking withered little ex-oil town on the edge of Irian Jaya's rainforest wilderness.

    It proved to be an excellent source of sensible everyday-ready vocabulary along with a generous smattering of items that I have probably never had reason to say out loud in the years since.

    Has anyone else used a Bible in their efforts to learn a language?
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    31 Mar '14 11:10
    Originally posted by FMF
    In the early nineties, I read the Bible ~ both OT and NT ~ in its entirety, in Indonesian, in an effort to take some hefty strides towards mastering the language.

    I used it partly because of the paucity of other suitable learning/reading material, perched as I was in a book-lacking withered little ex-oil town on the edge of Irian Jaya's rainforest wilderness ...[text shortened]... t loud in the years since.

    Has anyone else used a Bible in their efforts to learn a language?
    Yes, I have. But as every language has translated from the sources individually with different words, it is of questionable value.

    I rather read other books to learn a language. A thriller or something that you like.
  3. SubscriberFMF
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    31 Mar '14 11:32
    Originally posted by FabianFnas
    Yes, I have. But as every language has translated from the sources individually with different words, it is of questionable value.

    I rather read other books to learn a language. A thriller or something that you like.
    The bible was of questionable value as language learning material? How so?

    I found that when I was at that stage of learning the language, fiction was absolutely useless: too idiomatic, but not in a good or useful way [to the likes of me]. A lot of Indonesian fiction is quite pretentious and 'over-written' making it sort of 'inauthentic'.
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    31 Mar '14 11:56
    Originally posted by FMF
    The bible was of questionable value as language learning material? How so?

    I found that when I was at that stage of learning the language, fiction was absolutely useless: too idiomatic, but not in a good or useful way [to the likes of me]. A lot of Indonesian fiction is quite pretentious and 'over-written' making it sort of 'inauthentic'.
    If you look at different translations. How many ways are "prostitute" translated to? "Rape"? "Slave"? ...and so on. Too many to make a word list out of.

    When I studied Spanish, I used "Eva Luna" by Isabel Allende in paralell with the Swedish translation. A great pleasure to read and a great result of learning the language. Often you cannot find the idiomatic language in dictionaries. The 'street language' is a plus in a book as long you use it in its proper context.

    The only thing bible is good for is the proverbial expressions, like "Let there be light..." and the like.
  5. SubscriberFMF
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    31 Mar '14 12:08
    Originally posted by FabianFnas
    If you look at different translations. How many ways are "prostitute" translated to? "Rape"? "Slave"? ...and so on. Too many to make a word list out of.
    This is interesting. I was only learning one language at the time and I rarely referred to an English Bible. I don't quite understand the vocabulary problem you are raising. If I learn the Indonesian words for "slave" and "prostitute" by encountering them in an Indonesian Bible, what does that have to do with "different translations"?
  6. SubscriberFMF
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    31 Mar '14 12:12
    Originally posted by FabianFnas
    The only thing bible is good for is the proverbial expressions, like "Let there be light..." and the like.
    The Indonesian version [like every other version, surely?] is chock full of everyday verbs, nouns and adjectives laid out in a wide range of grammatical constructions and deployed for all manner of stories and topics.
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    31 Mar '14 12:44
    Originally posted by FMF
    The bible was of questionable value as language learning material? How so?

    I found that when I was at that stage of learning the language, fiction was absolutely useless: too idiomatic, but not in a good or useful way [to the likes of me]. A lot of Indonesian fiction is quite pretentious and 'over-written' making it sort of 'inauthentic'.

    fiction was absolutely useless


    Slip of the tongue?

    --- Penguin
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    31 Mar '14 13:121 edit
    Originally posted by FMF
    The Indonesian version [like every other version, surely?] is chock full of everyday verbs, nouns and adjectives laid out in a wide range of grammatical constructions and deployed for all manner of stories and topics.
    Of course the bible is filled with verbs, nouns and adjectives, but what use is it if you cannot be sure of the words?

    For example, look at the [ThreadId]158525[ThreadId]. In the second page I wrote "I am surprised how many fancy name for 'slave' is used: servant, maidservant, maidslave, and handmaid". This mean that the result of your study in a particular word, you get 5 differnet version of that word. So what is "slave" in your language? You don't know, because the answer depends of with translation you use.

    I've seen the same dilemma of the word "rape" in bible. Many different words are used, some soft, some brutal.

    If you learn English by the King James translation of the bible - how would your language sound like when you are through?

    No, according to my own experience - use a modern book of your choice. Not a 3000 years old book with plausible translations.
  9. SubscriberFMF
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    31 Mar '14 13:43
    Originally posted by Penguin
    FMF: fiction was absolutely useless


    Slip of the tongue?
    No. Why?
  10. SubscriberFMF
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    31 Mar '14 13:532 edits
    Originally posted by FabianFnas
    Of course the bible is filled with verbs, nouns and adjectives, but what use is it if you cannot be sure of the words?

    For example, look at the [ThreadId]158525[ThreadId]. In the second page I wrote "I am surprised how many fancy name for 'slave' is used: servant, maidservant, maidslave, and handmaid". This mean that the result of your study in a parti ...[text shortened]... ience - use a modern book of your choice. Not a 3000 years old book with plausible translations.
    In Indonesian, "slave" is 'budak', and "to rape" is 'memperkosa'. "servant" is 'pembantu'. These few words are hardly a barrier to reading the Bible and learning language from it, are they?There are 100,000s of words in the Bible that are used straight forwardly and uncontroversially. I wasn't trying to prepare myself to debate sonship on the OT in Indonesian!

    Do you seriously think that words are not used in creative, confusing, ambiguous, nuanced, subtly synonymous or even ironic ways in fiction like thrillers or literary fiction like that of Isabel Allende ~ and that a whole new layer of variation or deviation is potentially added by it being translated? ๐Ÿ™‚
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    31 Mar '14 14:022 edits
    Originally posted by FMF
    In Indonesian, "slave" is 'budak', and "to rape" is 'memperkosa'. "servant" is 'pembantu'. These few words are hardly a barrier to reading the Bible and learning language from it, are they?There are 100,000s of words in the Bible that are used straight forwardly and uncontroversially.

    Do you seriously think that words are not used in creative, confusing, amb ...[text shortened]... r even ironic ways in fiction like thrillers or literary fiction like that of Isabel Allende? ๐Ÿ™‚
    Well, perhaps the english word for the arameic word xxxxx is slave in english, or is it maiden? You will never know. If you use one bible of one language that you know translated with one translator that you don't know and use another bible in a language you want to learn with another that you don't know either. How can you ever be sure of that the two words in respective language correspond to eachother? You don't.

    And of course every language is written creatively, confusingly and ambiguously in books, but that is not the problem. the problem with the bible is that you don't know the original text, and different translators interprete differently the same text. In the case of the bible, translations are often in series. Arameic to Greek to English to Bemba - what will be the result? You will never know.

    If you feel comfortable with using the bible in your language studies - please do so. I just want to show my experiences in the matter. Good luck! ๐Ÿ™‚
  12. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    31 Mar '14 17:55
    Originally posted by FMF
    In the early nineties, I read the Bible ~ both OT and NT ~ in its entirety, in Indonesian, in an effort to take some hefty strides towards mastering the language.

    I used it partly because of the paucity of other suitable learning/reading material, perched as I was in a book-lacking withered little ex-oil town on the edge of Irian Jaya's rainforest wilderness ...[text shortened]... t loud in the years since.

    Has anyone else used a Bible in their efforts to learn a language?
    The Bible retains considerable cultural resonance in European languages; it's been instructive to compare selected passages of German, French and English Bible versions at different cultural periods.

    Using a concordance is a pleasure all its own.
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    31 Mar '14 18:35
    Originally posted by FMF
    Has anyone else used a Bible in their efforts to learn a language?
    To learn Chinese, I use tv series in combination with an online dictionary. I am also picking up some Korean simply by listening to tv series - but have not yet found a good dictionary.
    I think learning from the Bible would very much depend on the particular translation. Some English translations would only teach you Old English. In Zambia, many of the local language translations are written in the languages as spoken in the villages, whereas what is spoken in the towns is quite different. Also Bible translations would tend to use more formal language and possibly not teach you that much every-day language.

    I have found with Chinese that I can follow a tv series quite well because I have learnt the vocabulary for that, but if I try a documentary or News I am totally lost. So if you really want to learn a language it is best to learn from a variety of sources.
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    01 Apr '14 11:44
    Originally posted by FMF
    No. Why?
    You found the Bible useful but fiction was useless? The bible is fiction!

    Surely any book where you have the original text in your native language and the translation from that in the language you want to learn (or vice-versa) would be useful. The Bible would only be useful if the two copies you had were translated objectively one from the other. Even if you have the King James and the other is translated from the King James, there is likely to be some subjective political or denominational biases in the translation. Other books of undisputed fiction are more likely to be objectively translated than a religious book.

    Penguin
  15. SubscriberFMF
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    01 Apr '14 12:03
    Originally posted by Penguin
    You found the Bible useful but fiction was useless? The bible is fiction!
    I don't think it is, not all of it anyway. It's a version of history of the Hebrews and of early Christians. Some of the claims it makes about the significance of Jesus [for instance] may be manufactured or imagined, depending on your beliefs, but it is not the same as a novel which was the type of "fiction" I had in mind.

    I get what you meant by 'slip of the tongue', though. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Surely any book where you have the original text in your native language and the translation from that in the language you want to learn (or vice-versa) would be useful.

    Well, the personal-story bit of my OP explained that I did not have access to many books. I certainly did not have two 'identical' bibles in the two necessary languages.

    The Bible would only be useful if the two copies you had were translated objectively one from the other.

    I disagree. I was looking for a 'total immersion' approach. Sitting there comparing two texts [translations of each other] was not the way I wanted to go about learning the language. It tends to create learners with long word lists in their heads that they are not always able to use [many Japanese learners of English often suffer from this incapacity... sometimes they know 8,000 words but cannot string a sentence together etc.].

    One needs to deduce and strive and puzzle ~ before looking it up or asking someone! It would be the 'reading' equivalent of the communicative approach ~ much better than the translation approach, I feel. ๐Ÿ™‚
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