It wouldn't be the first time it's been compared. When Orwell lived as a tramp in Paris during the 1920's, he would stay with his auntie (an Esperantist) from time to time, who lived with, and later married Eugène Lanti, a prominent anti-Stalinist socialist (maybe where Orwell got his ideas from) and Esperantist. He supposedly developed a dislike for the language when they tried to force him to learn it, when he only really wanted was help practising his French (throughout the French part of the book, Down and Out in Paris and London, he is repetitively referred to as "the Englishman", which indicated his French wasn't perfected). And yes, "ungood" is supposed to be a play on "malbona".
The suggested alternative translation of "The large coffee" seems a better fit to me. But, large and big are the same word in Esperanto.
It seems to me that the English is just a bit weird for this one, as usually big/large are both able to be used without either sounding weird - just not in this example.
"The large coffee isn't good," as you wrote, would be the translation for "La granda kafo ne estas bona."
ne estas bona (is not good).
Malbona, on the other hand, means bad (literally "ungood"), but don't confuse "ungood" with "not good."
estas malbona (is bad)
ne estas bona (is not good)
Essentially they mean the same thing. When people part ways they might say one of the following: "See you later." or "See you again." or "See you soon." although literary these are three different sentences, essentially in every day language they all mean the same. Hence "The big coffee is bad." is the same as "The big coffee is not good." And for the sake of instilling positive emotions and associations with the act of learning a new language I believe the lessons should accept both translations as correct.
I know that (as others have said) we say "A large coffee" in English to mean "A large cup of coffee", but if (as I imagine) the same isn't true of every national language, then I suggest it's safer, to avoid misunderstandings, to say, "La granda taso de kafo estas malbona." It would rather defeat the object of Esperanto if we ended up with a version using English idioms, another using Icelandic idioms, another with Japanese idioms, and so on.
Yes and no.
There is a word mava which specifically means "bad", but it's not used a whole lot.
For a lot of opposites, Esperanto just has one word for the one side, and uses mal- to create the word for the other side: bona/malbona (good/bad), granda/malgranda (large/small), dekstra/maldekstra (right/left), varma/malvarma (warm/cold) and so on.
There are, for some cases, separate words for those "missing" opposites, especially for use in poetry where a given syllable count can be useful or you want to use a greater variety of synonyms, but in everyday language, most people use the "mal-" words for those opposites.
So I would recommend that you use "malbona" for "bad".
They translate "granda" as big, large or great, then I use one of those adjectives for coffee and they say I am wrong. I wrote in english: "the great coffee is bad" well it is contradictory I know but no one says the sentences has to be truth, only to translate it exactly as they write them.
When translating you do have to intuit the most likely translation (if a possible context exists). As far as I can remember, no set of directions tells you to translate sentences exactly as written.
You can definitely suggest the alternate translation to Duolingo if you feel strongly about it. But I'm pretty sure they're not going to accept it.
Yes, you can say either.
On Duolingo, though, it's usually better to stick to sentences like "estas malbona", because Duo doesn't know grammar -- it only accepts the alternatives that the course creators have typed in, and they can't account for the many many variations that are possible in the language when they create the accepted alternatives for each sentence.
No, "not good" does not automatically mean "bad"; something could be on the middle in between the two extremes "good" and "bad" and then it would be neither good nor bad.
Consider somebody who has an average face. They are not "beautiful" but they are not "ugly", either - they simply have average looks.
Similarly, a piece of cake may have a neutral taste; it is not very good but it is not really bad, either.
So "good" is the reference to create "bad" as what is "not-good", whereas "man" is the refference to "woman" as what is "not-man" or "girlish man"? This lgg is made-up, I hope to see the world communicating with an easy an fair lgg, so I think there is still room for changing, ha?
No, there is no room for changing any more, and hasn't been for the last 100 years.
At the very beginning of the language, some things were still getting hammered out, but now, one of Esperanto's strengths is its consistency: people know that this is basically a finished language and that they can learn it with the confidence that the creators are not continually tinkering with it, making you have to relearn much of it every few years.
Some parts of it might not be "optimal", depending on what you consider "optimal", but they are not going to change.
If you would prefer a language that is almost Esperanto but with some bits changed (for example, perhaps you would prefer a word for "parent" from which then "father" and "mother" are derived, rather than having "mother" being derived from a basic word "father"), then what to do is not seek to "reform" Esperanto -- there have been more than enough proposals for this anyway.
You can have a look to see whether an existing reform pleases you (for example, Ido has "fixed" this particular thing with male and female) and then join that instead. Or "fork" Esperanto again and give your newly-created language a new name. But attempting to change Esperanto while keeping the name is not likely to go over well.
A more natural sentence would be "the large coffee tastes bad/terrible", or perhaps "don't get the large coffee, it's terrible". As it is, the coffee's presumed deficiency is more general than would make sense with the current sentence structure, which is an opinion or a statement of fact, as opposed to an advisory statement.
Well, as a native English (Quebec English dialect) I would never say "The large coffee is bad" I would say "The large coffee is not good" Translation conveys meaning, not grammar. One does not say "Not Good Dog!" when punishing a dog, one says "Bad Dog!", and one does not say "The coffee is bad", one says "The coffee is not good", unless of course the coffee is jumping up off the table of it's own volition and dumping itself on your head, at which point it is a very bad coffee indeed. Irrespective of the litteral meaning of the esperanto - if it's being translated, it needs to follow the idiom of the language it is being translated into.
I'm not sure why using "the" for "la" should be painful - if it really is painful, you'll have a problem with Esperanto, because "la" in Esperanto means "the" in English.
Anyway, "a big coffee" and "the big coffee" are not the same. Imagine two people going into a cafe. They order one big cup of coffee, and one small. The small coffee is fine, but the person with the big coffee takes a sip, and finds the coffee has a strange taste. He wouldn't say to the waitress, "A big coffee is bad." That would imply that any large coffee was bad. Rather, he'd say, "The big coffee is bad."
But apart from all that, the Esperanto we were given to translate was, "LA granda kafo estas malbona." If the meaning had been, "A bad coffee is bad", the Esperanto would have been, "Granda kafo estas malbona".
I hope that makes sense.
3 reasons: First, the Esperanto sentence starts with "La" which means "The", so it means "The large coffee". Second, you put "coffe" instead of "coffee". Thirdly, "is not good" is "ne estas bona", not "malbona" which means "bad". I hope that helps.