Language: Dargi, Nakho-Dagestanian language
Location: Republic of Dagestan (Russia)
Published by IBT: Mark (2002, reprint, 2007), Luke (2010), Matthew with CD (2013), Gospel Parables (2016)
Audio recordings: Matthew
Work in progress: John, Acts, Genesis, Proverbs
Long term plans: NT, OT portions
The Dargis (or Dargwa) are the second largest ethnic group of Dagestan after the Avars, forming 16.5% of its entire population. The origin of the ethnonym “Dargi” is not entirely clear, but a folk etymology associates it with the word “middle”, as the Dargis live in the very heart of Dagestan. The Dargi language is one of the most dialect-differentiated ones in Dagestan. During the 20th century its writing system changed twice. First, the traditional Arabic script was changed to Roman script in 1928, and ten years later it was changed to Cyrillic. According to one estimate, there are 70 (!) dialects and sub-dialects in the Dargi language and no fewer than 20 of them are unintelligible to speakers of other dialects. Much research still needs to be done on the sociolinguistic situation of the Dargi people.
History and religion. The ancestors of the Dargis were first mentioned in Arab chronicles in the 9th century. They formed craft and trade communities rather than military units. Their social organization was similar to a confederation. Russian-Dargi relations began in the 16th century and the Dargis became part of the Russian Empire in 1813. In Soviet times, part of the Dargi population moved from the mountains to the plains. Islam became the established religion among the Dargis in the 14th century, although various forms of paganism persist in their daily life and culture. Even the gods of the former pagan pantheon still occupy an important place in common religious practice.
The Bible translation team. An experienced exegete who had previously worked with IBT for many years in other translation projects is now working on the Dargi team. In 2016 the translator and new exegete took part in special study programs in Israel. In 2016 a second translator appeared in the project and translated the books of Jonah, Ruth and Esther. In 2018 another translator joined the project. All three translators are doing distance-training using the multimedia courses on IBT’s website. We have a great need to find a local field-tester.
Bible translation work:
The New Testament – After the publication of “Four Parables from the Gospel of Luke” in 2016, the team started working on the Gospel of Mark and later also on the revision of Luke. By now the Synoptic Gospels have been checked for consistency and a checking session of John is planned in 2019 in order to prepare the edition of the 4 Gospels together. Work is also continuing on Acts.
The Old Testament – The trial translations of ch. 1-11 of Genesis and ch. 1-9 of Proverbs have been checked by the consultant.
Audio recording. Translation work has been completed on Jonah, Ruth and Esther, and they have been checked by the translation consultant. All three books with their audio recording are planned for publication as a single edition in late 2019 or early 2020. One of the main tasks of Scripture Engagement is to reach our potential audience with all possible types of Scripture publications, including audio recordings. We know from our own experience in other projects that very often young people prefer audio books to printed editions.
As for the Dargi project, we have already produced the audio recording of Matthew, and now we continue this tradition with Ruth-Esther-Jonah. Our final purpose is to accompany all our Bible translations with audio recordings. The texts will likely be recorded in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan.
Your donation will help the Dargi Bible translation project to be continued in 2019.