Portuguese (X: word; Y: language): "Como se diz X [em Y]?" "O que significa X [em Y]?" "O que quer dizer X [em Y]?" In my under-development conlang Montakielu, a possible structure would be like that: <3rd person> <mean> <thing>-<interrogative particle> <speak> <language> Até mais! Leonardo 2013/5/30 George Corley <[log in to unmask]>: > 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?" > > 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.