Zsuzsanna Olach (Johan)
New sources in Karaim language history: the Karaim Bible translations
(65th Meeting Astana, 2023)
Since 2019, an international team of researchers at the Jagiellonian University have been working on Karaim Bible translations written in the 15th – 20th centuries in different variaties of the Karaim language. The project is entitled (Re)constructing a Bible. A new approach to unedited Biblical manuscripts as sources for the early history of the Karaim language (KaraimBIBLE). The immense amount of new texts provides great opportunity to discover new data and so far unknown characteristics. In the presentation, an atypical feature of Karaim morphology, the use of –(X)p and its distribution in the different manuscripts will be discussed. New lexical elements occurred in the newly edited Karaim Bible translations will be presented as well. For example, the word krolik ʻrabbit, conyʼ appears in Psalm 104. This lexical item is of Slavic origin, cf. кролик.
Besides the linguistic data, the comparison of different Karaim translations created from the Hebrew Bible makes it possible to identify additions in the texts that offers also some background information about the faith of Karaim people. For instance, there is an important difference in the interpretation of Psalm 2:7 where the Trakai Karaim translator gives a shorter and a simplier translation in respect of the relationship between God and Israel („my son, today I have made you big”). The Halich Karaim translator, on the other hand, provides a deeper meaning and reflects a strong bond between them („you are my son, today I have created you”).