The Gospel According to Matthew:
A New Translation and Commentary

The following new translation of the Gospel according to Matthew is based on The Four Gospels in the Seneca Language, American Bible Society, New York, 1874. In a day of ever refined translations from ever refined, restored Greek texts, it appears that something different is required. A retranslation into English of a text that is already a translation from the King James Version seems just the thing. Jesus has already appeared as an Elisabethan, as a cowboy, and as a US senator, in such translations as the KJV, ASV, and most recently the NIV, perhaps the worst of the lot. Why not a Native American medicine man?

I give those with only slight skills in speaking or reading Mingo an avenue into the one classic of printed Mingo literature. The Gospels were published together in 1874 by the American Bible Society, although Bible translation in bits and pieces goes back to native scholars nearly fifty years earlier. Little published material besides the Bible and hymnbooks has ever been available.

The text of the 1874 edition of the Gospels is the basis of the Mingo portion of the Gospel text. Although it is carefully done, and in many ways represents the best Mingo language in existence, it is hardly accessible to anyone not fluent in spoken Mingo. The orthography does not recognize the grammatical distinctions within the long Mingo word-phrases, so that a beginner can make little sense of them. Besides that, some sounds go inadvertently undistinguished in writing, so only a fluent speaker can recognize the words or pronounce them correctly. We have gone through the text, examined each word, determined what it actually is and how it sounds, and then rewritten it in a way that both expresses all of the sounds as well as recognizes the grammatical structure. Anyone having learned our system of writing can pronounce the word correctly on sight before understanding it, even without any knowledge of the language as such. In sum, we have simplified and standardized the orthography.

Many of my comments merely list the basic forms of each new word, and some related words of special interest. The basic forms chosen to be listed are the first person singular if possible, (transitive expressions are given as in the text or as I/you) of the stative (I've seen it), eventuative (I finally saw it), past (I used to see it), habitual (I see it), factual (I see/saw it at a particular moment), future-continuative (I shall continue to see it), and optative (I might see it). Nouns or stative-limited words are given in a simple form and sometimes in a common incorporated form.

Uiwa' Skát: Chapter One
Uiwa' Tekní: Chapter Two

JL & TM, 17 July 1996
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