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Bible as viable learning tool!


techie
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As I continue to learn Chinese, I realize that the more diverse topics in Chinese I read, the more vocabulary I will gain.

So ... I decided to learn from a very good source.... the Bible. Nonetheless this was a difficult task. I wanted to find a bilingual Chinese/English bible from where I could learn and have the translations next to each other. Even though there are many online sources, finding this type of Bible in hardcopy became a bit of a dig!

Later I was confronted with the various types of choices:

Copied from http://www.referencehub.com/Chinese_bilingual_9622937772.html

"There are three main versions

- Chinese Union Version CU [hehe-ben] published by the Chinese Govt inside China

- Chinese Union Version New Punctuation CUNP [xinbiaodian hehe-ben] published by UBS

- Todays Chinese Version TCV [xiandai-ben] published by UBS in HK, Taiwan and Singapore

- Chinese Living Bible CLB [tangdai-ben] published by IBS in America

These versions are equivalent to RSV, TEV, and Living Bible respectively. The new punctuation version of the Union is not significantly different from the old Union version. PRC Christians tend to strongly prefer the old CU, which is freely available throughout China, but the TCV is a lot easier to read. The CLB is a paraphrase. There are also specialist editions such as NIV-CU, TEV-TCV parallel texts, New Testaments with pinyin superscript and CU or TCV Study Bibles."

Apparently there are many types of bibles for sale but they are either Chinese simplified by itself or Chinese Simplified for only parts of the bible.

Finally I found a good source for Chinese simplified/English. Also I discovered where one I could also buy the audio counterpart, in Mandarin, for the entire Bible.

I figure that listening to a selected chapter and reading it in simplified chinese would not only force me to read chinese faster but also will give me the right pronunciation (the audio copies I ordered are done by a woman with a Beijing accent)

I am sure that this Chinese learning strategy will keep me occupy for a long time, in addition to the other resources I already have.

If anybody is interested in pursuing this strategy or would like to know where I bought them, please let me know.

Also, and most important, I would like to get feedback from others like myself who are learning/struggling with the Chinese language and what other strategies are you using to enrich your vocabulary skills.

Regards

There are two scripts

- traditional [fanti hanzi] used in Hong Kong and Taiwan and by overseas Chinese communities.

- simplified [jianti hanzi] used in the PRC and being introduced in Singapore.

Both script types may be printed vertically (read top-to-bottom) or horizontally (left-to-right).

Chinese Bibles are available as Shen Editions or Shangti Editions. Shangti means an edition printed with two characters Shang Di for "God", a Shen Edition means an edition printed with a blank space followed by one character Shen for "God". If not specified it will usually be a Shen Edition. What the difference is between the two terms is open to debate.

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It is very good to study the Bible (not just for religious reasons. I think one needs to learn the Bible in order to understand a lot of things). But I think it may not be a very good tool for learning Chinese as the use of langauge is not the most natural. And I would think that newspapers/magazines are better alternatives.

By the way, if you have a PDA, you may download various versions of the Bible (in many different languages) and the reading software from www.olivetree.com for free. I find it very convenient as I can switch between various versions/languages in a second.

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Ian_Lee

Thanks for your input. That is valuable information specially for those that are catholic like myself and that can get lost in the shuffle of all these different terminology.

Do you have any sites or aditional information to either substantiate or look at the differences of that terminology further?

Thanks.

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Techie:

I attended both Roman Catholic School and Lutheran School during my High School years.

In the former, they call God "Tian Zhu" -- literally the Master in the Heaven.

In the latter, they call God "Shangti" -- literally the King up above us.

Since "Shangti" for God is used for non-Catholics, the term "Shen" which means God is more general. Probably those Bibles with "Shen" should be printed by the Catholic Church.

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  • 9 years later...
  • New Members

Since this is specifically the topic I wanted to open, I'm bumping this old thread instead.

I'm also using the Bible for my Chinese language studies. For those on the same path as I am, I recommend the Bible on the Word Project: http://www.wordproject.org/multi/bi_en_cn_py.htm There, you can read the Chinese bible, available in simplified and traditional characters, side-by-side with English and Pinyin. Best of all, an audio reading is available.

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  • 5 months later...

I have the CU version on my Olive Tree Bible Software account and as a physical book.

 

While, as Skylee said, it's not the easiest/most natural Chinese out there, I think it is invaluable for Christians because if you want to talk about your faith with Chinese people, you need the vocabulary, just like with any other topic.

 

The CU version seems most readily available, both in mainland China and online (I don't know about Hong Kong, Taiwan, or Singapore as I've never been to any of those places and even if I went, I doubt it would be to go Bible shopping).

 

I personally like "Shen" better than either "Shangti" or "Tian Zhu" as it can be read and enjoyed by both Catholics and Protestants, and as an Episcopalian/Anglican I've always felt myself straddling the line between the two anyways. 

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I personally like "Shen" better than either "Shangti" or "Tian Zhu"

There are plenty of 神's that exist in Chinese history and culture - when I visited Taiwan, worship of various 神 is still quite prevalent (far more so than on the mainland) at least amongst the older generation, but plenty of the younger generation too.  With English it's easy to differentiate between a god and the God, but in Chinese how does one separate one 神 from the Christian 神?  I wonder if in that sense 上帝 and 天主 are perhaps less ambiguous?

 

Note: I'm not Christian and I'm asking more out of curiosity about language and culture and how that interplays with religious beliefs, and the difficulty in translating terms and the tradeoffs those translations have to make.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

imron: if you are not a Christian and don't believe in any 神s, what difference does it make? why do you need to make the distinction? aren't they all 神s to you? I'm only curious about your reasons, not trying to make a strong point. I think only Christians would want to make any distinction to "prove" their god is different from all the other gods? Correct me if I'm wrong. I don't think anyone else in any language cares too much about the distinction unless their religion wants to make a point that the Christian god is not a "real god".

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imron: if you are not a Christian and don't believe in any 神s, what difference does it make?

First of all, I didn't mention I don't believe in any 神s, but as I mentioned directly after stating I was not a Christian:

 

 

I'm asking more out of curiosity about language and culture and how that interplays with religious beliefs, and the difficulty in translating terms and the tradeoffs those translations have to make.

 

Also, even though I'm not Christian, that doesn't mean I can't take an interest in Christianity from an anthropological and/or linguistic point of view.  In general, you could say I enjoy educating myself about things.

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But then I think you have to make a distinction between "Chinese spoken by everyone" and "Chinese spoken by Christians containing Christian jargon and special ways Christians use Chinese words" as with any language and figure out in which cases there is a difference between the two and in which cases there isn't. I think the answer to your question might depend strongly on who you ask. I'm sorry I read "you don't believe in any 神s" in there even though you didn't say so. I didn't mean to put words in your mouth.

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But then I think you have to make a distinction between "Chinese spoken by everyone" and "Chinese spoken by Christians containing Christian jargon and special ways Christians use Chinese words"

You could say the same thing about English.  There are plenty of people that don't care about the difference between god and God, but it's meaningful to some people and I was curious about how Christians might go about capturing that in a Chinese translation.

 

I think the answer to your question might depend strongly on who you ask

Which is why I was posing the question to Christians who are more familiar with this sort of usage, to see the response I might get.

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