Jacob 7:27. French in the Book of Mormon

Jacob 7:27. French in the Book of Mormon

Jacob 7:27 ends with the French word “adieu.” Since the Nephites did not speak French (which didn’t even exist until centuries later), how can this be justified?

Book of Mormon FrenchJoseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon into English. Though English is a Germanic language, it adopted many French words, beginning in 1066, when the French-speaking Normans invaded England and became the ruling class. The King James version of the Bible also has many words of French origin, of which the following are examples:

Bruit, “noise, rumor, report” (Jeremiah 10:22; Nahum 3:19)
Choler, “anger” (Daniel 8:7; 11:11)
Grisled, “streaked with gray” (Genesis 31:10, 12; Zechariah 6:3, 6)
Laver, “washing basin” (Exodus 30:18, 28)
Manger, “feeding trough” (Luke 2:7)
Travail, “work, labor” (Genesis 38:27; Exodus 18:8; Isaiah 23:4; 53:11; 54:1)
Champaign, “countryside” (Deuteronomy 11:30)

The word “adieu,” along with other words of French origin, is listed as an English term in Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary, which reflects American English of Joseph Smith’s day.

Other examples are included in John A. Tvedtnes, Defining the Word: Understanding the History and Language of the Bible (American Fork: “Covenant, 2006).