Stories from Scripture in the Even language
March 12, 2018

IBT has published an illustrated book of stories from the Holy Scriptures in the Lamunkhin dialect of the Even language. The Lamunkhin dialect is spoken by 800 people (out of a total of about 5,600 Even speakers), making it the largest of the dialects of Even. It is also the dialect that has maintained the greatest number of vocabulary items having to do with the traditional Even culture.

The book contains 25 stories that cover key Scriptural passages, from the creation of the world to the second coming of Christ as described in Revelation. The 41 color pictures were produced by an Even artist and take an overtly “domesticating” approach to illustrating the text, i.e. they show the world of the Bible as it might be seen through the eyes of an average Even. The approach to producing the text for this edition is also somewhat different from IBT’s usual approach: mother tongue speakers of Even were asked to retell the Bible stories using typical features of their oral tradition, and this text was afterwards written down. In other words, the Even text is more of a free retelling than a verse by verse translation. Nevertheless, the resulting text was checked for accuracy against the “spirit” of the Scripture text in the original languages.

The Russian text that accompanies these stories (for Evens who are no longer very familiar with their language) is an edited back translation directly from the Even text. 250 copies of this edition will soon be distributed to speakers of the Lamunkhin dialect in their villages. An audio version of this text was recorded by a resident of Sebyan-Kul’ village. It is available on IBT’s website, together with the PDF version of the book.