loewe wrote:I was tasked to do a reading assignment about Daoism at school, and there was a couple of passages from the Laozi. I decided to translate them into toki pona, since, after all, the whole thing has a considerable influence from Daoism. I purposefully didn't put the English translation because I want the reader to experience the simplicity and vagueness of the Laozi poem.
ken toki pi nasin la
nasin li ala nasin awen.
nasin ni li nasin awen ala And I am not sure about the subjectless sentence before -- passives give tp headaches, but also try to prevent dodging responsibility (no "Mistakes were made"). Maybe 'jan li' or 'ona li' 'toki pi' is one solution for "talk about," but may not be the final choice.
ken nimi e nimi la
nimi li ala nimi awen.
sewi li ma li tan ijo nimi ala.
'sewi en ma' "heaven and Earth" probably 'tan ijo pi nimi ala' "from the no-name thing" rather than "not from the named thing"
ale mama li tan ijo nimi ken.
"parental all" but 'mama ale' would be "all parents" maybe 'mama pi ijo ale' 'kin' (I assume) doesn't go well here, since there is a contrast rather than a continuation. Also, the Mother of All is not from
the Named, but is
the Named,which is probably not a named thing but more abstract/spiritual.
'tan ni la'
mi jo ala e pilin wile la mi ken lukin e ijo kute ala ona.
mi jo e pilin wile la mi ken lukin e ante ona.
'pilin wile' for "passion" or whatever is nice (if that is what Lz meant to say) 'ijo pi kute ala' maybe 'ijo pi kalama ala' for "silent things" What this all means is a great mystery with more solutions than the whole of Sherlock Holmes. But there does seem to be a contrast between the two sentences, which doesn't come out here: between the mysterious Ding an Sich and its manifestations. I have no idea how to do that, though.
toki pona tu ni li sama. taso nimi ona li sama ala.
ona li seme? ni li ijo sona ala.
ijo sona ala mute li nasin tawa ijo kute ala mute.
Probably 'ijo pi sona ala' The rest seems rather clipped, not that I blame you for dodging trying to do superlatives in tp.
ale li lukin e lukin pona lon ijoPIlukin pona la
lukin pona ala li lon.
'pona lukin' is beauty, 'lukin pona' is 20-20 eyesight. 'ike lukin' is better than 'pona ala lukin' probably. Also, the 'lon' phrase modifies the noun phrase, which means it needs (I think) a 'pi'. And the text seems to talk about knowing, not seeing, so 'sona' for the bare 'lukin'
ale li lukin e pona lon ijo pona la
pona ala li lon.
lon li pana e lon ala, lon ala li pana e lon,
ike li ike ala li wan,
That is a nice handling of the mutuality. I think it can also be 'lon en lon ala li pona e sama'
"Bad is not bad and is one" Maybe 'ike en pona li wan' but that doesn't get the notion of interdependence nor of completion.Maybe (very much so) 'ike e pona li kepeken e sama'
suli li suli ala li lon poka,
sewi li tawa sewi ala.
kalama li kalama musi li wan,
kama li lon monsi pi pini.
'...li...li...' is for added predicates not added subjects, so 'suli en lili li lon poka sama' (?) All of these are reciprocal, though it is not clear what the relation is in each case: presumably kalama ('kalama en kalama musi li...') is harmonizing, but the others are not so obvious or we run out of words: they differentiate one another, complement one another, complete one another, order one another, and so on. 'anpa' is better than 'sewi ala' although the X - nonX does look like what you would expect here, but don't, apparently, get. 'pi' requires two words after it, so 'lon monsi pini' (which surely has other meanings).
'tan ni la'
jan [lawa] sona li pali ala
'pali ala' seems weak for wuwei
, but 'pali e ala' is probably worse
li pana e sona kepeken ala toki.
'toki ala' and 'nasin' would do as well as 'sona' here: it seems to be systematic.
ale li kama tan ona. ona li sona e ni.
ona li pali e ale. taso ale li ijo ona ala.
ona li pali tan ale. taso ale li lawa ona ala.
ona li pali e pona. taso ona li awen ala.
ona li awen ala la
ala li tawa.
Gark! I don't quite know what to do about this philosophically, so I'll stick to just grammar for now. Well, just one: things don't come from him, so also he doesn't know that they do. Things just happen and he doesn't ignore them (or something like that). It is important here that the sage doesn't even claim things or the credit for things. "He makes from everything, but everything is not his leader"? 'ona li lawa ala e ali' "He does not control everything"? The rest is grammatically OK, I think, but doesn't do the original much justice. (OK, so I lied about philosophy).
sewi li ma li awen.
'sewi en ma li...'
ni li tan ona li pali ala e ona.
'ni li tan ni: ona ...' No subordinate clauses in tp.
tan ni la ona li awen
jan pi jan lawa sona li lon monsi. taso jan lawa
sona li lon sinpin.
jan sona li lon ala insa. taso ona li jo e lon.
Contrast between what the sage does and what happens to him: goes to the rear, yet finds himself at the front ("The last shall be first, ..."); ignores his needs, yet is taken care of ("Consider the sparrows...")'jan sona li tawa monsi. taso ona li kama lon sinpin
ken ala ken la ona li ike tan ona li pona?
I don't think the 'ken ala ken' construction can be used (alone) in the 'la' slot. The question is apparently rhetorical, in any case, so probably should be just a statement in tp (which isn't big on rhetoric)"It's because they are unselfish that they satisfy their own needs." 'jan sona li pilin pi (or e ijo ) sama. tan ni la ona li awen' or so.
pona sewi li telo sama.
'sama (e?) telo'
telo li pona tawa ala. taso
ona li wile ala sewi. ona li lon poki ike.
ona li lon poka nasin.
'tan ni la ona...'
ma li pona tawa tomo,
ma li pona tawa jan sona lon tomo (maybe even 'tomo la ma li pona tawa jan sona' but I don't want to press my luck just to get a nice parallelism going, for the next few lines are "in x, he likes ..." so make the appropriate changes down the line.
sona li pona tawa lawa,
kon pona li pona tawa toki kulupu,
'kulupu toki'? Why laughter rather than kindness? (not that I know how to say "kindness")
nasin li pona tawa jan nasin lawa.
'lawa nasin'? I don't think paths like things
ken li pona tawa pali,
tenpo li pona tawa pali.
utala li ala
tan pilin wile sewi li ala.
ona li utala ala. tan ni la jan ala li toki e ni: ona li pali ala e ike
o lili e ma e nanpa pi jan.
'nanpa jan', 'pi' needs two words after
o toki tawa jen e ni: "o kepeken ala e ilo sina."
o toki tawa jan e ni: "o sona e moli. o tawa ala utala
Whence this conversation? and where is the "have enough" before the "don't use"?
jan mute li jo e tomo tawa e tomo telo. taso jan
mute li kepeken ala e ni.
jan mute li jo ilo utala. taso jan mute li pali ala
E kulupu pi jan utala.
o toki tawa jan mute e ni: "o kepeken e linja sona."
'linja sona' is nice for quipu, but whence the address? These are all optatives "let X be...", so just 'o jan mute li kepeken e linja sona' and so on for the others
moku pi jan li kama suwi,
len jan li kama lukin pona,
tomo jan li kama lon pona,
nasin sewi jan li kama musi.
not relgion so much as custom, 'nasin kulupu' say.
where is the puncline?
How was it? You might recognize some passages if you've read Laozi before. Any translation or grammar suggestions? I did this quite hurriedly, so there may be odd mistakes.
I think I'll add some more passages later. It's not very difficult to translate the Laozi passages. It's hard to express the meaning, however.
I have to admit that I have long made a joke of people starting off in a language by translating the most language-specific and esoteric works before doing Dick and Jane. And Laozi and Lewis Carroll are my favorite examples of this. But this is a decent job from a standard English trat. It helps to have several translations around (and the original, if you can piece it out somejow).