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I’m currently doing Chinese winter school, and I thought I would try to translate the first line of the daodejing into Greek, as a fun exercise. Can you help correct my grammar? :)

´ο λογος τουτον μπορώ λεγεται, ´ο αιωνιος λογος μυ εστι. ´ο νομος τουτον μπορω νομεται, ´ο αιωνιος νομος  μυ εστι.

(Apologies, my phone Greek keyboard does not do breathings and accents.)

My English translation for reference:

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal name.

The original Chinese, if you’re curious:

道可道非常道
名可名非常名

I thought it would be fun to translate because λογος and 道 are both notoriously deep and complex philosophical terms that have a roughly equivalent range of meanings and popped up on opposite sides of the globe in completely different cultures at around the same time in history. The daodejing is a beautiful poem so I wanted to have a go at rendering some of it it in Greek. How did I do?

  • Off the top of my head, do you mean μυ or ουκ? I've never seen μυ used as a negative in Greek. – Draconis Jul 5 '18 at 23:47
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    Μπορώ also isn't a word I've ever seen—is this Modern or Ancient Greek? – Draconis Jul 5 '18 at 23:50
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    @Draconis: it's Modern Greek for "I can", ultimately from < εὐπορῶ "to prosper (in doing something)" – Nick Nicholas Jul 6 '18 at 6:47
  • This is modern Greek, or rather a google-translate style parody of it. – fdb Jul 14 '18 at 23:34
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The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal name.

ὀ λόγος ὃς λέγεται οὐ λόγος αἱώνιος. τὸ δ’ ὄνομα ὃ ὀνομάζεται οὐκ ὄνομα αἰώνιον.

To keep things oracular, I've left out "can"; if you must have it,

ὀ λόγος ὃς λέγεσθαι δύναται οὐ λόγος αἱώνιος. τὸ δ’ ὄνομα ὃ ὀνομάζεσθαι δύναται οὐκ ὄνομα αἰώνιον.

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