Proverbs (Wise sayings of Suleiman) in the Dungan language
April 27, 2015

IBT has published the book of Proverbs in Dungan, a language closely related to Mandarin Chinese with influence from Arabic, Persian, Russian, Kyrgyz and other languages. About 110,000 Dungans live in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, with up to 10 million more in China. While Dungans in China use the standard Chinese writing system, since the 1920s Dungans in Central Asia have used a separate orthography, which was converted to Cyrillic letters in the early 1950s.

The first book of the Bible translated into Dungan was the Gospel of Mark, published by IBT in 2002. This was followed by the Four Gospels and Acts in 2006 and the Pentateuch in 2012. Proverbs was chosen as the next Scripture portion because Wisdom literature speaks a universal language that is understood equally well by all cultures around the world. This edition received official approval from the Center for Dungan Studies at the Academy of Sciences of Kyrgyzstan. Dungan scholars wanted to make this book as accessible as possible for Dungan speakers, which is why the translation was published in parallel columns together with the text of Proverbs in Russian, Chinese, and Pinyin (Chinese spelled with Roman letters), as well as with an accompanying audio recording of the Dungan text on a CD. The book was likewise illustrated by a Dungan artist in Dungan artistic style in order to maximize its visual appeal to potential readers.

The Wise Sayings of Suleiman were officially presented to Dungan society in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, on April 24. The presentation was organized by IBT together with the Center for Dungan Studies and the Chen He International Foundation for Cultural Integration, and was held at the Kyrgyz National Library. It is our sincere hope that many Dungans will be interested in this publication.