On Thu, May 30, 2013 at 4:24 PM, George Corley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Hey, people.  I'm working on a series of shorts for Conlangery on some
> simple phrasebook-style phrases, one of which will be asking for the
> definition or translation of a word.  I've thought of a couple somewhat
> interesting examples from languages I know:
> Spanish: "Que quiere decir (X)?" lit. "What does X want to say?" (with some
> word order fun)
> Mandarin: X有什么意思? "What meaning does X have."
> And of course the more mundane examples that literally translate as "What
> does X mean?" or "How do you say X?" or "What is X?"

fanva zoi gy. Hello gy. la .lojban. fu ma = How [one] translates "Hello"
into Lojban?

fanva = x1 translates x2 to language x3 from language x4 with result x5

{fu} explicitly marks x5 place (the result of the translation).

ma smuni zoi gy. Hello gy. = What is-the-meaning-of "Hello"
smuni = x1 is a meaning of x2 accepted by x3

> So, basically, I'm asking about interesting ways that natlangs or conlangs
> express this idiomatically, as a way to provoke some creative thinking.
>  I'm also interested in how to express the "... in LANGUAGE" bit, as in,
> "How do you say simpático in English?" In the past, I have tended to use an
> instrumental for this meaning, but I'm not sure if this occurs in natural
> languages -- Mandarin might be close, as I believe you can say something
> like 用中文说, "use Chinese to say", but that may be in contexts more related
> to what language a message is conveyed in, and not more generally.