Short answer: The best thing to do is be careful, think about what you are writing, and watch out for any ambiguities. Avoid using negative constructions, especially in questions; the word NOT is a troublesome one to translate.
1) Frequent use of U(N) and PLU.
This helps the reader/listener to distinguish nouns from verbs.
2) Use a lot of prepositions.
When you use a preposition, a noun is likely to come somewhere after it. In this way, prepositions are much like U(N) and PLU. (Consequently you do not have to use U(N)/PLU after prepositions.)
Do not, however, translate English prepositions literally. Do you really depend ON someone? That makes it sound like someone is carrying you— you’re ON someone— and that expresses it poetically. In Glosa, however, we want to express this logically. You are getting something FROM someone, so here the Glosa preposition DE would be a better translation of the English ON.
Another good clue about which preposition to use is to copy the particle found at the beginning of the verb. For example:
U viktimi-pe pa grafo u DEskribe DE u-la krimi-pe.
The victim wrote a description about ABOUT the criminal.
U bali-pe pa INklude u qantita de valuta IN grama-ve.
The sender included some money IN the envelope.
U skience-pe pa KOmbina plu kemi oxigena e hidrogena KOn alelo.
The scientist combined the chemicals oxygen and hydrogen WITH each other.
Sti KOmpara de u-ci KOn u-la.
Compare this WITH that.
U mikro komerci pa akti u KOmpeti KOn u mega.
The small business competed WITH the big one.
Fini, na gene KOmunika KOn hetero planeta.
Finally we are communicating WITH another planet.
U neo-pe pa KOnfusi plu pomi KO plu orange.
The novice confused apples WITH oranges.
Also be careful of the dual meanings of English prepositions. If you fight WITH your brother, are you fighting AGAINST (Glosa: ANTI) him or AT HIS SIDE (Glosa: KO, PARA)? If you have a medicine FOR coughs, does it HINDER (Glosa: STO) coughing or STIMULATE (Glosa: STI) coughing?
Glosa DE is considered the most general of all prepositions. Use it if you can’t think of a better preposition. If you want to be accurate, avoid it.
3) Use verboids.
The Glosa textbooks mention— but don’t insist on— the use of verboids. VERBOIDS are words that tend to be verbs— although really any word in Glosa can be a noun, verb, adjective, etc.
Professor Lancelot Hogben used verboids in nearly all his Glosa sentences. They are:
What this means by example is instead of saying, “He jumped”— JUMP is not a verboid— you say:
An pa akti u salta. He did a jump.
An pa face u salta. He made a jump.
An pa sti u salta. He “turned on” a jump.
In the above sentences the word JUMP is always a noun, and the verboid is always the verb. Use whichever verboid most precisely conveys the meaning you have in your head. AKTI has the most general meaning and can be placed before any noun to make a verb out of it. For example:
/- Translation -\
English word Without verboid With verboid
die morta lose bio
live bio habe bio
love filo este filo
translate translati akti (u) translati
unite uni akti (un) uni
In translating with verboids I often skip U(N)/PLU to give a very general meaning. AKTI TRANSLATI means “translating” in general, while AKTI U TRANSLATI means that I am referring to only one certain translation.
I do not use verboids 100%, finding them redundant at times. Consider:
Fe pa dromo a boteka.
She ran to the store.
(Here there is no verboid. DROMO is the verb.)
Fe pa dromo kine a boteka.
(Literally:) She “runningly” went to the store.
(Here the verboid KINE was used, so DROMO had to become an adverb.)
To demonstrate how the last two points above give Glosa more accuracy in meaning, consider the following sentence using the word MANU [English: HAND] es a verb:
Fe pa manu id.
Any word in Glosa can be used as a verb. But how do you translate this sentence? Think of all the things you can do with your hand:
1) She handed it over.
2) She shoved it.
3) She slapped it.
4) She patted it.
5) She petted it.
6) She applauded it.
Now let's translate these sentences, forcing ourselves to use a verboid. Notice also how using the preposition PER helps to add accuracy to the meaning.
1) Fe pa dona id per manu.
She gave it by hand.
2) Fe pa moti id per ge-tensio manu.
She moved it with an out-stretched hand.
3) Fe pa bate id per ge-tensio manu.
She struck it with an out-stretched hand.
4) Fe pa gentili bate id itera e itera.
She gently struck it again and again.
5) Fe pa gentili bate id per frika moti.
She gently struck it with a rubbing motion.
6) Fe pa monstra latri per manu-fono.
She showed praise with hand-sounds.
Look at the “back translations.” Sure, they sound a little strange to our English-accustomed ears. Each one, however, is much more accurate in meaning than “FE PA MANU ID.”
Yes, there are other ways to translate the six meanings above. FRIKA could be used as a verb in number 5, and LATRI could be used as a verb in number 6. The idea of this exercise is that you see the discipline involved in using verboids and see that they can force you to be more accurate.