[tlhIngan Hol] Expressing "must"

David Holt kenjutsuka at live.com
Wed Nov 16 10:15:06 PST 2016

jatlh SuStel:

> Here's<http://www.engvid.com/modals-of-necessity/> an excellent video explanation of the difference between

> need and have to (and have to equals must). It says that have to

> focuses on the consequences of not doing something, while need

> focuses on the benefit of doing something. If you have to do

> something, there is some agency requiring it of you; this is not

> the case with need.

> However, the reality isn't all that clear-cut. People interchange

> need, must, and have to all the time.

I agree with SuStel that you can't "count too much on these terms having distinct meanings when used in colloquial English."  In my own use of English I mostly use them interchangeably with no difference of meaning.  When I do distinguish them (as in "I don't have to, I need to"), it's not a question of consequence versus benefit, but rather a question of choice versus reason.  I agree that "have to" implies some sort of agency that will force you, if you choose not to and "need to" implies there is a purpose to the action (either obtaining benefit or avoiding consequence).  But I interpret the agency of "have to " pretty broadly in my use.

I have to go to the grocery store, because if I don't, then my body will rebel against me and begin to shut down.  In a strict interpretation, I don't HAVE to go to the store - I could just lie here and die.  But in reality, it's not actually much of a choice and I do HAVE to go to the store.

If, someone in the Klingon High Council simply said, {maSachnIS}.  They might possibly mean that the  benefits to Empire would be so great that it is the only sensible choice.  But once they add {mataHmeH maSachnIS}, it no longer becomes a choice.  "IF we are going to continue, the only course of action that leads to that result is expanding."  "In order to continue, we have to expand, not need to, but have to."  The rules of the universe demand it!

And what about the sentence {yInlu'taH 'e' bajnISlu'}.  It doesn't imply the same thing as {yInluHtaH 'e' bajchughlu'} "If you work hard, you can survive."  Working hard is not a good idea because it results in a benefit of survival.  Working hard is the only path to survival.  If you want to survive, then your only choice is working hard.

I clearly see {-nIS} being used not only for desirable outcomes, but also for when no choice is given except to do the action tagged with {-nIS}.  Who exactly is forcing these choices or enforcing these outcomes?  I have difficulty limiting such agency in any usable way.

{maSopnISbej.}  Sure there is not an actual person standing there force feeding us.  None the less, there are forces at work which drive us to eat even when we don't really want to - perhaps even when we think it is a bad idea.  If we haven't eaten in days and we come across rotting food that is likely to cause us to be very sick, can't we still use {maSopnISbej} to describe the instinctual drive to eat even though we know it's a bad idea.

> For instance, while nIteb SuvnIS DevwI' is translated with must

> instead of need, there is no sense in this sentence that any

> agency is imposing lone-fighting on a leader; rather, it's saying

> that a leader has a personal necessity of lone-fighting.

Human nature dictates that others may abandon him.  Honor dictates that he must fight alone, even when abandoned.  Psychology dictates that even when he is not abandoned that because he is leading and the others are following, he will feel like he doing something different and thus is alone.  He has the choice to not fight and there is no being making him fight like a puppet or threatening consequences if he doesn't, but there are many pressures pushing him forward into that fight.

Let's draw up a scenario where Kirk and his crew are captured and forced to fight others.  Perhaps for the amusement of their captors or perhaps for the right to be freed, or whatever.  Kirk is put into the arena with three opponents and argues that he should be allowed to have some of his crew members help him fight, but the captors refuse.  Here there is clear agency.  The captors are the one's setting the requirement to fight alone.  Is it being suggested that we cannot apply {nIteb SuvnIS DevwI'} to this situation?

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