Translation:Once in a while we eat chocolate cake, but not too often!
It's true that I speak English natively, but took a few years of French in school. I also frequently use Google Translate to "Double Check" things before posting them here. Translating "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche." into Esperanto, provides "Lasu ilin mangi kuko." as a response.
Check for yourself. https://translate.google.com/#auto/eo/Qu%27ils%20mangent%20de%20la%20brioche.
I have seen Translate do strange things, and fully understand that it isn't always correct, but it usually gives a decent idea of what should be said.
I've read the definition at vortaro, and understand that "Lasi" probably isn't the correct word. I'm still not sure that the volitive conveys exactly what I tried to say. I am "komencanto" however, and have never seen the volitive used with "ili" outside of situations that other languages would call subjunctive.
ekzemple, "Li petas, ke ili alportu la mangxajxon."
Regardless, it was an attempt at humor. Ha-ha, not funny, let's move on.
If "kelkfoje" means "sometimes", how can it mean "once in a while" too? The English "sometimes" gives no indication of how often, whereas "once in a while" implies that it's not very often, but that would make the last 4 words of the sentence redundant. "Once in a while" would surely be "de tempo al tempo" or "tempaltempe".
Kelka is an indefinite non-numeral adjective. Some, a little; several, a few, (a) certain (number of), sundrey. Post kelka tempo = "after some/a little time" kun kelka hezito = "with a short/little pause", kelkaj vortoj = "a few/several words" kelkaj el ni = "a few/some of us" ktp.
If you try to think of it as having a corresponding, 1 on 1, English equivalent then you get questions very like yours. I remember asking stuff like this too.
And, having just had chocolate cake last night, I will agree that it occurs kelkfoje but never tro ofte. When I get tired of chocolate cake, then it will be too often. So I don't see a redundancy, but an effort to make us smile in agreement and understanding.
Because that would be "tre ofte" in Esperanto. In English, "Sometimes we eat chocolate cake, but not too often!" has a slightly different meaning to "Sometimes we eat chocolate cake, but not very often!" The second means, "We rarely eat chocolate cake." The first means, "We eat chocolate cake sometimes, but not sufficiently often to be too much" (whether for health reasons or anything else).
That's a bit convoluted.
I will mildly, and peaceably disagree with parts of your conclusion. The English word too means either "also" or "very" and since the "also" meaning of the word does not fit with this sentence (but not also often? ) then "very" should be the definition which is applicable. This also suggests that one may swap out the two words (too and very) and only change the nuances, not the meanings.
And yes, you did a wonderful job of highlighting exactly those nuances, too.
I'd check my PIV, but right now it's at the bottom of a stack of books waiting for me to finish emptying and replacing a bookshelf
Likewise Fred, I still "mildly, and peaceably disagree". The English word "too" does not really mean "very". For instance, we surely wouldn't say, "I was very tall for the doorway," to mean, "My tallness prevented me from entering/exiting through the doorway."
Am I the only one who has problems with hearing the difference between ni and mi? It annoys me a bit that these two words are sounding so similar. Since the verb is the same, one has to hear the difference of this letter in order to understand the meaning. Has anyone else noticed this difficulty in Esperanto? The lack of redundancy in Esperanto comes with the drawback, that one must listen very well and pronounce very clearly to avoid misunderstandings. This time I listened to the sentence several time and in the end I "disimproved" my translation from we to me.
No, you aren't. Fine tuning one's ears to hear that difference can sometimes take a while. Both M and N are nasals, and both sound very similar.
In Norwegian, the other language which I'm studying here, there are something like 13 different ways to write what English speakers typically perceive as an Ŝ sound. But Norwegians can hear the difference between the Ŝ sound at the beginning of Skitt and Kjøtt, and with practice I'm starting to figure it out, too.
Good luck and keep at it.