[tlhIngan Hol] The book of our good captain

De'vID de.vid.jonpin at gmail.com
Fri Jul 15 00:34:31 PDT 2016

On 14 July 2016 at 17:44, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name> wrote:
> On 7/14/2016 11:29 AM, De'vID wrote:
>> Just before that, it says "The grammatical construction is a bit aberrant".
>> The way it's written, it suggests that the only problem is the missing
>> {-taH}.
> Yes, but put all those things I mentioned together and you have a highly
> suspect sentence.

Here's the whole passage:
<More literally, this is "Dying while standing is preferable to living
while kneeling." The grammatical construction is a bit aberrant; one
would expect "{QamtaHvIS}" ("while continuing to stand") and
"{tortaHvIS}" (while continuing to kneel"). In proverbs, however,
grammatical shortcuts are not uncommon. Even the Federation Standard
might be considered somewhat incomplete. One would expect "*It is*
better to die on our feet than *to* live on our knees.">

It reads to me like the Klingon sentence is no more aberrant than
"Better to die on our feet than live on our knees" is in English. The
grammar of the English proverb isn't constructive either, i.e., you
couldn't just construct an arbitrary sentence of the form "Better to X
than to Y" and not have it sound strange in most cases.

>>> and the explanation in TKD that
>>> "Klingon verbs ending in Type 9 suffixes (other than -'a' interrogative
>>> and
>>> -wI' one who does, one which does) always occur in sentences with another
>>> verb,"
>> And here, that verb is {qaq}. Embedded within this comparative are the two
>> implied sentences {Qam[taH]vIS qaq Hegh} and {tor[taH]vIS qaq yIn}.
> But you said this suggested that QamvIS Hegh and torvIS yIn satisfied the
> noun phrase parts of the comparative, as if such phrases could stand alone
> as noun phrases. Besides this crazy proverb, there is no evidence that -vIS
> can do this.

What I'm suggesting is that {Hegh} and {yIn} satisfy the noun phrases,
while {Qam[taH]vIS} and {tor[taH]vIS} are subordinate clauses in which
the other verb is {qaq}.

I'm not suggesting anyone construct sentences of this form, only that
it's analysable using grammar in TKD. Perhaps such sentences were
grammatically kosher in the past, but are no longer, and such
constructions are found only in fixed proverbs.


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