Purple Cow

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Tuyono
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Purple Cow

Post by Tuyono »

I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purple_Cow

How do different natlangs and conlangs handle the use of "one" here?

In Hebrew you could easily leave out the first "one":

,אף-פעם לא ראיתי פרה סגולה
(אני לא מקווה לראות (אחת

ʔaf ˈpaʔam lo ʁaˈʔiti paˈʁa sguˈla
ʔaˈni lo mekaˈve lirˈʔot (aˈχat)

not.even once NEG see.PST;1SG cow purple.SG.F
1SG NEG hope.PRES.SG.M INF\see (one.F)

But you can't really use "be" without an object the same way; and while you could add the word for "one" again, it feels very unnatural to me - Hebrew doesn't use it as a placeholder the same way English does. I ended up using "such", which sounds better.
I made more changes in order to keep a similar meter in my translation (so I changed the cow into a bull because it's a shorter word).

,עוד לא ראיתי פר סגול
;אני גם לא כל-כך רוצה
אבל עדיף אחרי הכל
!לראות ולא להיות כזה

/ʔod lo ʁaˈʔiti paʁ saˈgol
ʔani gam lo kol-kaχ rot͡se
aˈval aˈdif aχˈʁej haˈkol
liʁˈʔot veˈlo liˈjot kaˈze/

still NEG see.PST;1SG bull prurple[SG.M]
1.SG also NEG so_much want.PRES.SG.M
but preferrable[SG.M] after all
INF\see and=NEG INF\be like=this.M

I still haven't seen a purple bull,
I don't really want to, either;
But it's better, after all,
To see and not to be such (a thing)!
Salmoneus
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Re: Purple Cow

Post by Salmoneus »

Bah humbug - I was just about to recite the sequel poem, and you went and linked it...
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Reyzadren
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Re: Purple Cow

Post by Reyzadren »

:con: griuskant (without the conscript)

aesk uvzaei shur skuya jiska.
/'esk 'uvzei 'ʃur 'skuja 'dʒiska/
1SG also NEG want-V see-V
I never hope to see one;

aesk il koena jiska zhur daega.
/'esk 'il 'kɯna 'dʒiska ʒur 'dega/
1SG more shall-V see-V than become-V
I'd rather see than be one.
Last edited by Reyzadren on 30 Mar 2020 03:48, edited 1 time in total.
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Imralu
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Re: Purple Cow

Post by Imralu »

:con: Ngolu / Iliaqu

To be completely literal and unpoetic:

Ti kaua xevas eni u eluamumu moigabo.
Kaua boka xeva u eni.
Mie mue zoi eui nu lo ga
Toi hue mulas eni zuo xeva u eni lo nia zuo gu nu.

PRF never be.seen DAT.1S.ICS NOM.3S.NSPC.ANIM bovine purple
never be.hoped be.seen NOM.3S.NSPC.ANIM DAT.1S.ICS
but able say DAT.2S.ICS NOM.1S.ICS ADV VB-NOM.3S.NSPC.INAN
IRR COMP be.liked DAT.1S.ICS NOM.C be.seen NOM.3S.NSPC.ANIM DAT.1S.ICS ADV NEG.COMP C VB-NOM.3S.NSPC.ANIM NOM.1S.ICS

I've never seen a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see one than be one.
Glossing Abbreviations: COMP = comparative, C = complementiser, ACS / ICS = accessible / inaccessible, GDV = gerundive, SPEC / NSPC = specific / non-specific, AG = agent, E = entity (person, animal, thing)
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Iyionaku
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Re: Purple Cow

Post by Iyionaku »

:chn: Mandarin

Obviously, I'm completely literal and unpoetic. I'm glad if it's correct and natural at least.

我从来没见过一头紫色的牛,
希望将来不看见一头,
但是我告诉你,无论发生,
也与其是一头,我宁可看一头。

Wŏ cónglái méi jiànguò yītóu zĭsè de niú,
xīwàng jiānglái bù kànjiàn yītóu,
dànshì wŏ gàosù nĭ, wúlùn fāshēng,
yě yŭqí shì yītóu, wŏ nìngkě kàn yītóu.


1SG never NEG.PST see-EXP one-CL purple GEN cow,
hope in_the_future NEG see-COMPL one-CL
but 1SG tell 2SG, no_matter_what happen
also before COP one-CL, 1SG rather see one-CL


I have never seen a purple cow,
I hope I will never see one,
but I tell you, no matter what happens,
before I am one, I'd rather see one.


Annotations:

I added 发生 (to happen) in the third line because I couldn't figure out how to let a word like "anyhow" stand on its own in Chinese, so I returned to a structure I'm familiar with. I'm not sure about all the 一头, propably they could be dropped.
Wipe the glass. This is the usual way to start, even in the days, day and night, only a happy one.
Iyionaku
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Re: Purple Cow

Post by Iyionaku »

:con: Paatherye

Nilthēmu ēku vaypī sā tșāya khēhan,
Aynemay nilthēmu vayime sā,
Jū hrantītamay ēku her, sināyun,
Vayamiyas ēku ștu ēsme sā.


Spoiler:
Nilthēmu ēku vaypī sā tșāya khēhan
[nilˈtʰeːmu ˈeːku ˈvai̯piː saː ˈtʃaːja ˈkʰeːhan]
never 1SG.NOM see.IPF.1SG INDEF.FEM.ACC purple.FEM.ACC cow.ACC
I never saw a purple cow

Aynemay nilthēmu vayime sā,
[ai̯ˈnemai̯ nilˈtʰeːmu ˈva.ime saː]
COP.OPT.FUT.1SG never see.INF INDEF.FEM.ACC
I never hope to see one,

Jū hrantītamay ēku her, sināyun,
[d͡ʒuː hɾantiːˈtamai̯ ˈeːku heɾ, siˈnaːjun]
but tell.COND.FUT.1SG 1SG.NOM 2SG.MASC.DAT, every_day
But I can tell you, anyhow,

Vayamiyas ēku ștu ēsme sā.
[vayaˈmi.as ˈeːku ʃtu ˈeːsme saː]
see.OPT.1SG 1SG.NOM instead_of be.INF INDEF.FEM.ACC
I'd rather see than be one.

New word for this challenge:

tșāy - purple, violet
Etymology: from Proto-Ukari *tSajbr- "berry; berry-coloured"
Wipe the glass. This is the usual way to start, even in the days, day and night, only a happy one.
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