(From Lognet 91/1. Backtranslation from Lognet 91/3. Used with the permission of The Loglan Institute, Inc.. Note that there were some mistakes in the Loglan that was published in the 91/1 issue. Since these mistakes are discussed in the back translation, and since they illustrate some of the ways Loglan has changed over the years, I've left them in.)
The chief grammatical problem for the translator of Whitman's poem is that a long string of lepo-clauses precedes the main clause of the first sentence. The latter doesn't appear until the third line from the end.
In what follows we first give the Loglan line as it appeared in LN90/1, then its correction if it needs one, then a back-translation into "loglanized" English, and finally the English line as it appeared in the original Whitman poem.
Na Lepo Mi Pa Hirti Le Cirflo Tarsesmao
(When I Heard the Learned Astronomer)
Na lepo / mi pa hirti / le cirflo / tarsesmao, /
At the-event-of I before hear the learned (learn-full) astronomer (star-science-maker), [end lepo-clause]
When I heard the learned astronomer,
[Guo belongs grammatically at the end of the first line; but to give the poem "a better rhythm", we followed the pattern of Mengarini's 1976 translation and put this marker word at the beginning of the next line . I'm not sure now that, in modern Loglan, this was a good thing to do.]
At the-event-of the-mass-of proofs (the instruments by which truths are discovered) and the-mass-of numbers before are-arranged (neat-made) [inverse modifier] vertically in the front (front-space) of me, [end lepo-clause]
When the proofs, the figures were arranged in columns before me,
[There's an error in this line as published: the nu's before sumdui, raordui and merli should have been eliminated. They were left over from a version in which cei preceded these predicates. When cei was put after them to restore the original word-order, these nu's should have been removed. They weren't. So the line should read:]
.... na lepo / mi pa fu vizmao / le cartu ze sistcu, / e le durfoa je lepo sumdui, / e raordui, / e merli / gu cei guo, /
At the-event-of I before am shown (made-to-see) the chart(s) and-jointly diagram(s) (system-picture(s)), and the method (do-form) of the-event(s)-of adding (sum-finding) and dividing (ratio-finding) and measuring [end connected predicate] c (the charts and diagrams jointly) [end inner lepo-clause] [end outer lepo clause]
When I was shown the charts and diagrams and how to add, divide, and measure them,
[The question of how to "anaphorize" the mixed description le cartu ze sistcu arose. We decided to use the initial letter cei of the mixed predicate since logically it constitutes a single idea.]
[There were many logical and semantical decisions to be made in rendering this line, most of which were helped by very few clues in Whitman's English. Reviewing last winter's work, I think we made three mistakes, and I'm going to take this opportunity to correct them. One is an incorrectly made complex. ? Prusaa was intended to mean "approve-sign" (from prusa sanpa) but in fact it means "test-sign" (from pruci sanpa). ? Rusysaa is the correct construction from the intended metaphor; but because it's not a good one for the verbal predicate 'applaud', which is what we need to make, I'm going to remake it as rusysonmao ("approve-sound-make"). Second, if the place-structure is '...applauds ...for...', then the converse we want here is nu, not fu. Third, I now think that Whitman intends the phrase 'with much applause' to be a modifier of 'lectured', so I'm now going to render it with the inverse structure go mutce nu rusysonmao ('very applausedly'), which main-tains the original word-order. Finally, if 'in the lecture-room' is intended to modify the ja-predicate, as I believe it is, then it lies within the scope of the ja-clause; so no gu is required to end it. Executing these four changes we get:]
.... na lepo / mi ja skitu / pa hirti le tarsesmao, / ja dictaa / go mutce nu rusysonmao / vi le dictaakru, / Guo ....
At the-event-of I, who-incidentally sits, before hearing the astronomer, who-incidentally lectures (teach-talks) [inverse modifier] very applausedly (with many approval sounds made for him) in the lecture-room, [end lepo-clause]
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
[*Malveo reflects the 1975 definition of malbi ('is a disease...') and is now simply malbi. ('is sick with...'). Hence:]
.... ue mi pa kukra / ce no nu klimao / ge tarle ce malbi cenja /
Well, I before quickly and not explainably type-of tired and sick became,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
[This rendering puts e kincle cangoi in the lepo-clause, which I think is a mistake. Although this Whitman line gives no overt hint of it, I think we need to start a new sentence here--the second sentence of the poem; all that precedes this is the first--with the English words 'I wandered off by myself...' So we require an I-word, then a first argument, and probably a tense word to mark the main predicate of the second sentence. Finally, to reflect the English word-order more exactly, let's make kincle an inverse modifier:]
Pia lepo / mi stamao mi, / e viva smugoi. / Ifa mi pa cangoi go kincle /
Until the-event-of my rising (stand-making myself), and here-to-there gliding (smooth-going). And-afterwards, I before wandered (chance-went) [inverse modifier] alonely (companion-less-ly)
Till rising and gliding out I wandered off by myself
[Thus the 'Till rising and gliding out' clause now applies only to the events of the preceding line--that is, to his malaise, which apparently endured until he rose and glided out--not to his wandering off by himself. The last two lines of the poem tell us what happens then.]
[In zvonaa, we have a badly constructed metaphor from the '75 dictionary which we need to correct. Mystical things are not a variety of natural things, but of outside things, namely those that are outside nature. So the modern complex should be narzvo. And metlo, of course, should be changed to modern cetlo:]
Vi le narzvo ce cetlo / ge natli kerti,/ e nu rilri /
In the mystical (nature-outside) and wet type-of night air, and irregularly
In the mystical, moist night air and, from time to time,
[*Ganti should of course be ganta. This was a spelling error in Bill Mengarini's 1976 original and blindly perpetuated by us last winter. Somebody ought to write a spell-checker for Loglan!]
Ge purfe kalsai / ge ganta bleka lo tarci.
Looked up in perfect silence at the stars.
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