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Gary R Miller (Gary R Miller <justi.miller@...>) on July 5, 2003

Dear Robin,

I’m afraid you have missed the point. My translation of the Qo akti? article does not differ from your translation (which is indeed a very understandable translation based on logic) because of my perception of German, but because my perception of Glosa differs from yours.

You have pointed out that Glosa semantics are based more on vocabulary than grammar. What if a Glosa word has a different meaning in my head than it has in yours? Certainly, Glosa words are not yet that clearly defined.

For example, I said:

“Homo solve anti lingua difere…”

You said:

“Iso u solutio ad difere de lingua…”

I perceived problems caused by language diversity as something to be “fought against.” You perceived them as something a solution can be “applied to.” The original German really had more the idea that you translated, even though you do not know German. (German uses the preposition f�r, more akin to the English “for.”) Logic is a tool that in my hand produced one translation and in your hand produced another. One translation might be more understandable to one person and the other to another. If there were a REGULAR USAGE of either preposition that could be asserted, there would be no argument here. (Or perhaps just my own personality or feelings about international auxilary languages is showing through.)

There are also grammar differences. I like Hogben’s idea of “amplifier,” as seen in my translation here:

Cina-pe detekti id ma no-facili. [Chinese find it more difficult.]

What Hogben calls an amplifier would be called an appositive in English in this instance. (The phrase “more difficult” modifies “it.”) Many languages use appositives. Your solution was a structure using the preposition kausa. Both are understable to me, and both use logic.

One of Noam Chomsky’s favorite sentences was:

Fighting tigers can be dangerous.

This sentence is ambiguous. Does it mean:

gerund / object of gerund / modal / verb / adjective Fighting tigers can be dangerous.


present participle / subject / modal / verb / adjective Fighting tigers can be dangerous.

Esperantists are proud of the fact that such ambiguities cannot occur in their language. Does this make English inferior to Esperanto? No, English can restate the sentences with the proper information to remove the ambiguities when this is needed:

Fighting with tigers can be dangerous. Tigers that fight can be dangerous.

What a headache for a translator who gets only the ambiguous sentence! Every language contains different information attached to its words. Translators must sometimes supply missing information or opt to leave out information that is not usually contained in the second language. This leads to differing translations by more than one translator and even mistakes. The proverbial “It loses something in the translation” also applies here.

By the way, Glosa shares the same structures as English:

Pugna tigri posi es risko. Pugna anti tigri posi es risko. Tigri; qi pugna, posi es risko.

Using the verboid also helps here:

Akti pugna anti tigri es risko. (Akti makes pugna an object, requiring the use of a preposition to connect it with tigri.)

I admire the flexibility of Glosa, as I do the interesting differences in our translations.

Saluta, _ _ /. Gary #/# ###

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Translation - Committee on language planning, FIAS. Coordination: Vergara & Hardy, PhDs.