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date: 07 July 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This essay discusses the relationship between Chinese Protestant Bible versions and the Chinese language. It first introduces the varieties of the Chinese language adopted and linguistic techniques used in these Bible versions produced in the late Qing and Republican era, so as to illustrate how Protestant Bible translators’ understanding of the Chinese language informed their choices. It then explains how Protestant Bible translation was relevant to the evolution of the Chinese language with the example of the Mandarin Bible, which contributed to the development of Mandarin from a lingua franca into the national language of China. This essay concludes with a discussion of the value of Protestant Bible versions as materials for the historical study of the Chinese language.

Keywords: Chinese dialects, easy wenli, Mandarin, modern Chinese, national language, Protestant Bible translators, Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky, Union Version, wenyan

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