BHSU professor to discuss how Bible translations influence the English Language in next Geek Speak

Author: BHSU Communications/Friday, October 26, 2018/Categories: Events, Students, College of Liberal Arts, Community, Events, 2018

Dr. Andrey Reznikov, professor of English at Black Hills State University, will present “The Role of Bible Translations in Establishing the English Language” Thursday, Nov. 1 at 4 p.m. in Jonas Hall Room 110. The lecture is part of the Geek Speak lecture series sponsored by the University Honors Program. The event is free and open to the public.

Reznikov says he wears multiple hats as an English professor - one in linguistics, or language, and another in translation. He finds it extremely important to understand the origin of the English language. For this lecture, Reznikov is focusing specifically on the role of the Bible on the interpretation of the English language, especially as the King James Bible recently celebrated its 400-year anniversary.

During Reznikov’s Geek Speak lecture, he will first discuss the history of English translations of the Bible and the problems that translators faced. Then, he will cover many of the idiomatic expressions used today that originated in the Bible – like the phrase ‘the 11th hour,’ for example.

Although there are many influences on the English language, including Shakespeare for example, the Bible had the greatest affect, according to Reznikov. He says, “Shakespeare, in contrast, created a lot of words. Bible translations didn’t create a lot of words, they made many English words and idiomatic expressions become popular and part of the language.”
“Today we have about 150 phrases that became part of the language when they were first used in those translations,” says Reznikov. “I don’t mean quotations from the Bible – I mean phrases that people use every day.”

Reznikov says the Bible has been translated numerous times, frequently even translated from other translations. Even now, new translations of the Bible are being created and interpreted. “There are many more resources now, though, that they didn’t have in the early 17th century – like the Dead Sea Scrolls and older versions of the Bible texts,” he says. Plus, unlike in the 14th century, Reznikov mentions that today’s translators aren’t punished or burned at the stake for their efforts, like those who had to do so secretly in the past.  

For students who want to learn even more about the origins of the English language, including the effects of Shakespeare and others, Reznikov teaches a course “The History and Structures of English Language” at BHSU.
About BHSU Geek Speak:
The Geek Speak lecture series, sponsored by the BHSU Honors program, features academic discussion and topics not normally discussed in the traditional classroom. The goal of the weekly lectures is to expose students and the community to diversity within the disciplines. Some Geek Speaks are also presented at the Jacket Zone store located on Main Street in downtown Spearfish. All lectures are free and open to the public.
Upcoming lectures include:
  • Nov. 8: Aaron Bauerly, system librarian: “You are the Hero: Interaction with Mythic Archetypes Through Games”
  • Nov. 15: Du-Lu Hsiao, assistant professor of Spanish: “How to be Spanish”
  • Nov. 29 – Dec. 6:  University Honors Capstone Defenses
  • Jan. 10: Desy Schoenewies, associate professor of art: “Drawings from China: Experiences from the BHSU/Baoding University Partnership BHSU Artists at Baoding University”
  • Jan. 17: Tami Haaland, professor of English at Montana State University Billings: A Poetry Reading
  • Jan. 24: Tracy Hunt and Chelsey Groseclose, counselors: “The Matrix Within: from Insomnia to Lucidity, the Powers of Sleep and Dreaming”
  • Jan. 31: Instructors Altman Studeny, Carrie Gray-Wood, Tim Steckline: “Twisted Fibers: Felt as Art, Technique, and Social Critique”
  • Feb. 7: Dr. David Cremean, professor of English:  “Bruce Springsteen as Storyteller”
  • Feb. 14: Jeffrey Winter, instructor of mathematics: “Secrets and Unconventional Uses of Microsoft Office”
  • Feb. 21: Dr. Holly Downing, professor of biology: “Why Our Mascot is Not a Bee—The Frustrations of a BHSU Entomologist”
  • Feb. 28: Dr. Max Marc, professor of management information systems: “Artificial Intelligence vs. Humans: Thought Experiments on the End-Game”
  • March 14: Dr. Jarrett Moore, assistant professor of research and assessment: “Manufacturing (Real)ity”
  • March 21: Dr. Chris Hahn, assistant professor of music: “We’re All Musicians: Exploring the Brain-Music Relationship”
  • March 28: BHSU Research Symposium Keynote Speaker, Meier Hall
  • April 4: Petrika Peters, sustainability coordinator at BHSU: “Global Dumping: What Happens to Your Electronic Waste?”
  • April 11: Christopher Landauer and Chris Fuchs: "Wizard, Fighter, Rouge RPG Design: Community Building Through Gaming"
  • April 25: Courtney Huse Wika, associate professor of English: “A Spontaneous Overflow of Powerful Feelings: A (Very Brief) Poetry Writing Workshop”
To read short descriptions of each lecture topic, visit
For more information, contact Dr. Courtney Huse-Wika, associate professor of English, at 605-642-6918 or email

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