Chris Chatteris | Jul 3 2008 - 8:52am | 2 comments
’The Lord be with you. And also with you.’ (Not, ’and with your spirit’). The rendering of ’Et cum spiritu tuo’ in a sense which included the whole person raised eyebrows back then when it first came out. Had a fifth column of Anglo-Saxon, anti-metaphysician, logical positivists infiltrated ICEL some wondered! Since then I have laboured under a delusion. I thought that liturgical English was unique in this particularly ’dynamic equivalent’ translation. Another reason for my continuing delusion was that the indigenous South African languages also translate the Latin literally as ’And also with your spirit’. I recently discovered I was quite mistaken. At a gathering of some fellow African Jesuits I asked each of them how the translation was made in the various languages that they spoke (and, as is common in Africa, some spoke several). It turned out that English is by no means alone, and that ’And also with you’ is precisely how it is rendered in Swahili, Lingala, Shona, Acholi, Lango, Alur, Jonam and Chewa. Those with some knowledge of African languages will note that some of these, particularly Swahili and Lingala, are very widely spoken in areas of Africa with a large Catholic presence. Upon enquiring whether similar changes to those being proposed for liturgical English were being mooted for these African tongues, my confreres said they had not heard of any. Chris Chatteris, S.J.