Sundanese Version

Sundanese Version Sunda is a dialect spoken in the west of the island of Java, near the Straits of Sunda, and prevails over the third of the island. The dialect belongs to the great Polynesian stock of languages, and the difficulties in mastering the same are best described by the Rev. G. J. Grashius, who studied the language with a view of rendering the translation of the Scriptures as idiomatic as possible. Mr. Grashius writes thus to the British and Foreign Bible Society (60th Report, 1864, p. 30):

"You will not be surprised to hear that I have as yet obtained but little insight into the Sundanese language. And this is not exactly a consequence of the difficulty and extent of the subject which is to be mastered — no, it is occasioned by the form in which the matter presents itself. Propose to yourself to learn a language which represents itself to you as a sea in miniature, with all conceivable motions of swelling and floating objects. At one moment you see something, the next it disappears again; at one moment you think you have got hold of something, and formed a right conception of it, and the next you perceive that you are mistaken.

"The study of the Sundanese is, for the greatest part, made more difficult by the childishness which characterizes the language. There is no by-law its it, but yet such a composition of laws that a novice experiences an anxious feeling on first making acquaintance with it anxious, namely, whether he will penetrate with pleasure into that childish form of thinking and speaking. The fear which at this point I entertained begins gradually to vanish, and I hope soon to be able to speak and write the Sundanese well, if God will but bless and prosper my undertaking.

"By-and-by I shall master the vocabulary; but in this I by no means hurry myself, because otherwise I might easily take things for granted which, by a closer insight into matters and significations, I should be obliged to unlearn. To unlearn takes lime, and is very unprofitable for the freshness of mind which is a first requisite for the study of the Sundanese language." In 1870 the British and Foreign Bible Society's Report shows the publication of the Gospel of St. Luke in the Sundanese, and this seems to be the only part printed by the British and Foreign Bible Society, while the Dutch Bible, Society has printed the New Test., translated by Mr. Coolsma, who has also translated the Old Test. From the 74th (1878) Annual Report of the British and Foreign Bible Society we see that the Netherlands Missionary Union have requested the London committee 'to undertake the publication of Mr. Coolsma's translation of the Old Test., and that- the committee have resolved to print the book of Genesis on receiving satisfactory reports as to the reception of Mr. Coolsma's New Test. translation. (B. P.)

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