Jewish Language Research Website

Calque (Word-for-Word) Translations of Biblical Texts

With a close reading of this section, the reader can get a sense of how the calque language differs from non-calque spoken or written varieties.


  1. Hebrew original
  2. English gloss of Hebrew
  3. Judeo-X translation
  4. Transliteration of Judeo-X
  5. English gloss of Judeo-X translation
  6. Non-calque Judeo-X
  7. English gloss of non-calque Judeo-X


Bereshit from the EJP Tafsir of Genesis, MS Firkowicz I 4605, likely 10th or 11th century (with glosses and alternative syntax by Thamar Gindin; 1:1 missing)

Note: The transliteration is reconstructed on the basis of other vocalized words in this corpus and in other EJP texts of similar dialects (northern dialects. This one is probably northwestern and the Tafsir of Ezekiel is northeastern), and on the basis of Middle and New Persian and the known differences between the dialects. Stress is marked by boldtype characters. Persian has no definite pronoun. Words are definite by default. Ē is the indefinite suffix. If they really want to translate "the", they use "that".

  1. 1:2 veha'arets hayeta tohu vavohu vehoshech al-peney tehom veruach elohim merahefet al-peney hamayim.
  2. And-the-land was formless and-empty and-darkness on-face depth and-spirit/wind God floating(fem.) on-face the-water.
  3. ואן זמי בוד תיג ואויראן ותאריכי אבר רוי ניגול אב ובאד כודאהי תרפרף כונא בוד אבר רוי אב.‏
  4. o ān zami bud tiγ o avērān o tāriki abar ruy-i nigul-āb o bād-i xodāhi tarafraf konā bud abar ruy-i āb (or va instead of o)
  5. And that land was void and desolate and darkness on face-of deep-water and wind-of godly (or 'a god' – xodāh-ē) tarafraf (terafref? Hebrew/Arabic loan or onomatopoeia) making was on face-of water
  6. o zami tiγ o avērān būd, o tāriki abar (ruy-i) nigūl-āb (or: āb-i nigul, or: maγāk) [būd]
  7. And the-land void and desolate was and darkness on (face-of) deep-water (or: water-which-is deep, or: Abyss) [was]
  1. 1:3 vayomer elohim yehi-or vayehi-or.
  2. And-said God be—light and-be—light.
  3. וגופת כודאה הי באשד רושנאי ובוד רושנאי.‏
  4. o guft xodā hē bāšad rošnā'ī o bud rošnā'ī.
  5. And said God may be light, and was light.
  6. o xodā guft: rošnā'ī hē bāšad; o rošnā'ī bud (or: rošnā'ī paydā āmad).
  7. And God said light may be; and light was.
  1. 1:4 vayar elohim et ha'or ki-tov vayavdel elohim beyn ha'or uveyn hachoshech.
  2. And-saw God <dir. obj particle> the-light that-good and-distinguished God between the-light and-between the-darkness.
  3. ובי דיד כודאה אזמר אן רושנאי כי ניך הסת ג'ודא כרד כודאה מיאן רושנאי ומיאן תאריכי.‏
  4. o be did xodā azmar ān rošnā'ī ke nīk/nēk hast; judā kard xodā miyān-i rošnā'ī o miyān-i tāriki.
  5. And <verb particle> saw God <accusative preposition used only in translations> that light that good is; separate made God between the-light and between the-darkness.
  6. o xodā rošnā'ī rā dīd ke nik/nek hast. O xodā miyān-i rošnā'ī o tāriki judā kard.
  7. And God light <cc. postposition> saw that good is. And God between the-light and the-dark separate made.
  1. 1:5 vayikra elohim la'or yom velahoshech kara layla, vayehi-erev vayehi-boker yom ehad.
  2. And-called God to-the-light day and-to-the-darkness called night, and-was evening and-was morning day one.
  3. ובי כואנד כודאה פא אן רושנאי רוז ופא אן תאריכי כואנד שב ובוד שבהנגאם ובוד במדאד רוזי יכי.‏
  4. o be xānd xodā pa ān rošnā'ī rōz o pa ān tāriki xānd šab; o bud šabhangām o bud bāmedād ruz-ē yek-ē.
  5. And <verb particle> called God to that light day and to that darkness (he) called night. And was evening and was morning a-day a-one.
  6. o xodā rošnā'ī rā rūz xānd o tāriki rā šab xānd. O šabhangām būd o bāmedād-i yek ruz bud.
  7. And God light <acc. Postposition> day called and darkness night <acc. Postposition> called. And evening was and morning-of one day was.