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Tuesday, November 15, 2005
 
TXT: Bible as koine ::

Although produced just across the ditch, I have up to now managed to avoid commenting on the Bible Society in Australia's SMSBible, but a rant on the esteemed if:book just changed that.

This reads like the complaints one regularly hears from people who can't stand change, and continues the snobbery of the highbrow:
...the SMS version changes the voice of god from that of a wizened poet to that of a text-messaging teenager. Here's an example:

4 god so luvd da world

I'm all for reading on cellphones and other portable devices, and I understand using a shorthand language for keying in messages, but why does the published book need to look like an electronic stenographer's notepad? I realize that the form of the electronic "page" is changing the way we write, but I'll be more than a little disappointed if this is the direction we are going—toward a cutesy-looking shorthand that compromises the integrity of the text for the sake of expediency.
Kim White concludes: Are you with me when I say that they jst dun hav d powR of d orignL txt.

TXT IS ugly, has no place in print (yet), and yet in many communications contexts it is (currently at least) convenient. For example, I use TXT (badly, as I naturally try to spell things in full and use punctuation too ;-) when communicating on MSN with my daughter. Though when we can I prefer to use voice, she often prefers TXT - since she is also carrying on three other "conversations"... For some things TXT is best.

So, God knows I am with Kim, in some things, but there is also a spare and contemporary flavour to the extracts from the TXT Bible that seems to work. Remember too that the original Greek of much of the New Testament was no literary linguistic masterpiece, but was koine the langauge of the streets and everyday letters - the TXT of the first century?



PS, by a nice synchronicity Wayne has a post on similar issues at Obsolete and archaic language in Bible versions.


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