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Learning Ido, I stumbled upon the following sentences in Ido, that Louis de Beaufront (the creator of Ido) thought were hard to translate to Esperanto. Beneath are the Ido sentences, with a close English translation. Could you please help me find their valid translations in Esperanto?

“le x, le y, le z; le a; le 1, le 2.” (the x's, the y's, the z's; the a's; the ones, the twos.)

“Il ja kontas bone, ma il ankore kalkulas male.” (He already counts (adds up) well, but he still calculates badly.)

“Ili sideskis avan eli, eli sideskis ante ili.” (They (male) sat in front of them (female), they (female) sat before them (male).)

“Il dicis lo ante me ed avan vu ipsa, koram vua parenti.” (He said it before me and in front of yourself, in the presence of your relatives.)

“Prizentar kozo, to esas nek propozar, nek ofrar, nek sakrifikar ol.” (To present a thing, is neither to propose, neither to offer, neither to sacrifice it.)

“Vartez la treno, se vu volas lo, ma ne expektez la arivo di vua amiko; il ne venos.” (Wait for the train, if you want to, but do not expect the arrival of your friend; he will not come.)

“Forsan es posibla agar altre.” (Maybe is it possible to do otherwise (in another way).)

Source: Taktiko-Manualo por Ido-propago, Heiz Jacob & Ilmari Federn, 1931, Ido-Centrale, Berlin, p. 41.

Dankon!

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    Is that book called something like “Guidebook for Ido Propaganda”? It might as well be called “How to Troll Esperantists for Dummies” :p – Neil Roberts Jan 25 '17 at 21:32
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    Actually, it would translate better as “Tactic Manual for Ido Propagation” (“propaganda” being “propagando”). I don't personally care with the title nor the intend of the book, I am learning both languages and I am just interested in how to translate sentences from Ido to Esperanto, and vice versa. – maliktunga Jan 25 '17 at 21:40
  • The grammar of Ido seems to be much more complex than Esperanto, so it would be difficult to translate. To go from a complex language to a simple language is hard. – Lumo5 Jan 26 '17 at 6:21
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    I don't think this question is really about grammar or that one language is more complex then the other. It is about Esperanto words that are ambiguous, words that have multiple meanings. – Robin van der Vliet Jan 26 '17 at 18:06
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This is an interesting exercise, but very dated. A lot of it simply focuses on gaps in the word-stock of early Esperanto. (If you find any more of the same kind in Ido books, I am interested in seeing them.) Here are my translations:

  • La iksoj, la ipsilonoj, la zooj; la a-oj; la unuoj, la duoj.

Before the 1920s the names of X and Y were not yet standardized in Esperanto. I have spelt out their names there, but you can write X-oj, Y-oj, Z-oj.

  • Li jam nombras bone, sed ankoraŭ komputas malbone.

This turns merely on the ambiguity of kalkuli. The word komputi could be replaced with aritmetiki.

  • La viraj sidiĝis fronte de la inaj; la inaj sidiĝis antaŭ ol la viraj.

  • Li diris ĝin antaŭ ol mi, kaj en via ĉeesto, kun viaj parencoj apude.

Plenty of languages get by fine without sex-segregated they. The word antaŭ can mean "before" in both time and space, but it is not hard to disambiguate: ie antaŭ versus iam antaŭ, antaŭ ol, pli frue ol, unue de.

  • Prezenti aĵon, tio estas nek proponi, nek permesi ties uzon, nek oferi.

All of these verbs are Fundamental, so I'm not sure what this one is about.

  • Atendu la trajnon, se vi volas, sed ne anticipu la alvenon de via amiko; li ne venos.

How sad! You could probably just use atendu for both.

  • Eble oni povas fari alie.

This seems to expect a clash between eble (possibly) and eblas (it is possible) but I don't see any difficulty here.

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    This answer seems to very aptly translate all sentences without ambiguity, which was obviously what Beaufront wanted to challenge. I really appreciate your analysis of the nuances behind the words you used—and even of their history! For bonus points: I like the fact you don't compare Ido with Esperanto, which some other respondents did. Finally, I respect the fact you don't complain about the exercice. Your answer is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you! – maliktunga Jan 26 '17 at 20:58
  • Most people use "kalkuli" only for "to calculate", and always say "nombri" for "to count". Given that, the contrast will be clear enough even with the use of "kalkulas" in the second sentence. I would not recommend using "komputas" here, as that is normally only used for the the computation performed by a computer. If one really wants to avoid the ambiguity of "kalkuli", one should use "aritmetiki", but especially when used in contrast to "nombri", the ambiguity completely disappears anyway. – Marcos Cramer Jan 27 '17 at 9:30
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In my hammered dulcimer band we play a tune called "Dulcimer Reel." The notes that the tune came on include a note that this tune is very difficult for fiddle players to play. We like to announce this at shows. Quite honestly, though, I have no idea - and I confess to having a feeling of not wanting to find out. (Our guitar player was going to have one of his fiddle-playing friends learn the tune.)

These sentences strike me very much the same way.

le x, le y, le z; le a; le 1, le 2.” (the x's, the y's, the z's; the a's; the ones, the twos.)

It's hard to know what the concern was here. Andrew speculated that it had to do with the words for X and Y in 1931 (and/or before the 1920's) but my hunch is that these expressions were contrived to demonstrate Ido's plural article "le". Since Esperanto doesn't have a plural article, we must do the "hard" task of tacking the plural on the end, along with a vowel to make it easier to pronounce. Ironically, the English translation does exactly that. "Ex" becomes "exes" or "x's" just as "Z" becomes "Z-oj".

“Il ja kontas bone, ma il ankore kalkulas male.” (He already counts (adds up) well, but he still calculates badly.)

Others have already demonstrated that it's possible to avoid the double meaning of Esperanto "kalkuli" (which means both to count and to do math). Quite frankly, I find this just silly. I remember being told that in Spanish you can't distinguish between "sky" and "heaven" because there's one word for both. Esperanto is the same way. Still, you can always make sure your meaning is clear the same way you do in any language - by carefully choosing your words.

“Ili sideskis avan eli, eli sideskis ante ili.” (They (male) sat in front of them (female), they (female) sat before them (male).)

Looks like this one is difficult to say in English too... or is it? (The guys sat in front of the ladies, but the ladies sat down first.) Some of the next few exploit the same double meaning.

“Vartez la treno, se vu volas lo, ma ne expektez la arivo di vua amiko; il ne venos.” (Wait for the train, if you want to, but do not expect the arrival of your friend; he will not come.)

Atendu la trajnon, sed ne atendu ke...

The word atendu is used twice but there is no double meaning.

“Forsan es posibla agar altre.” (Maybe is it possible to do otherwise (in another way).)

Eble eblas...

Povas esti ke ni povas...

Povas esti ke eblas...

Eble ni povas...

I know a bit about Ido, having been the voice of Helmut von Druhler, the angry Idist from Radio Verda, read at least three books in Ido, and spent countless hours either debating or collaborating with Idists online. In the end, it's like arguing about which runner-up team should have won the tournament. It may be fun to say that your language has tunes that are difficult to play on the fiddle, but the truth might be something different.

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They aren't hard to translate and the name of the book that you reference is odd. I will translate 3 of them for you from the English that you provided:

He already counts (adds up) well, but he still calculates badly.

Li jam nombras bone, sed li ankoraŭ kalkulas malbone.

They (male) sat in front of them (female), they (female) sat before them (male).

La viroj sidis antaŭ la virinoj, kaj la virinoj sidis antaŭ ol la viroj.

He said it before me and in front of yourself, in the presence of your relatives.

Li diris ĝin pli frue ol mi, kaj antau vi, ĉe via familio.


You can do this with any language. For example, translate this into English:

  • Mi konas lin, sed mi ne scias lin.
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    Just to be pedantic, but the second sentence presupposes we're talking about humans here, whereas the Ido sentence just has (gendered) pronouns that presumably can apply to other beings as well. So you can only approximate the meaning in Esperanto. Which, btw, I have no problem with -- I sometimes think we don't really need gendered pronouns anyway. Why should a person's gender be the defining characteristic over their other features? – Oliver Mason Jan 26 '17 at 9:13
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    What does "mi scias lin" mean? – Tomaso Alexander Jan 26 '17 at 19:49
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    I do not think "mi scias lin" makes any sense. – maliktunga Jan 26 '17 at 20:46
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    "Mi scias lin" means literally "I know him completely and wholly". So, I imagine it means, "I know him, but I don't know every aspect of him". – Evildea Jan 27 '17 at 1:28
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    It does not literally mean "I know him completely and wholly". Scii ion means to mentally possess something. It's possible to scii facts, languages, and poems, but not people. – Tomaso Alexander Jan 28 '17 at 21:17

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