[tlhIngan Hol] -meH nouns

Steven Boozer sboozer at uchicago.edu
Wed Aug 30 11:32:40 PDT 2017

I’m not quite sure I understand what Lieven’s FaceBook critic meant by “some kind of tool”, but here are a few purpose clauses that probably don’t – depending on how you analyze them - involve “purpose nouns”:

Dochvetlh DIlmeH Huch 'ar DaneH
How much do you want for that? TKD

cha'puj vIngevmeH chaw' HInobneS
Give me a permit to sell dilithium, your honor. PK

Heghlu'meH QaQ jajvam
It is a good day to die. TKW

bIQapqu'meH tar DaSop 'e' DatIvnIS
To really succeed, you must enjoy eating poison. TKW

HIvmeH Duj So'lu'
A ship cloaks in order to attack. TKW

noH QapmeH wo' Qaw'lu'chugh yay chavbe'lu' 'ej wo' choqmeH
 may' DoHlu'chugh lujbe'lu'
Destroying an empire to win a war is no victory, and ending
 a battle to save an empire is no defeat. TKW

vISeHmeH Hoch nuHmey Qay!
[Transfer] All weapons to my control. (Clipped?) (ST5 NOTES)

motlh ray' luSamlaHmeH De' Qatlh cha' tlhIngan Duj jIH'a'
The main viewer on a Klingon ship is usually overlaid with
 a complex target acquisition grid. SP3

luchovmeH 'oy'naQmey lo'
[Warriors] who test him with painstiks. S9

labmeH 'evnagh Se' lo' tlhIngan QumwI'
A Klingon communicator sends a signal through subspace radio. S19

ngoQvam luchavmeH ghawran maghpu' be'nI'pu'. woQ luSuqmeH
 jIjpu' chaH romuluSngan'e' je.
To this end, the sisters have acted against Gowron, going as
 far as to work with Romulan factions in order to gain power. S26

tlhutlhmeH HIq ngeb qaq law' bIQ qaq puS
Drinking fake ale is better than drinking water. TKW

jonlu'meH wo'maj pop tIn law' Hoch tIn puS
Our Empire's highest bounty has been placed on his head. (ST5 notes)

There are others I could post.


From: tlhIngan-Hol [mailto:tlhingan-hol-bounces at lists.kli.org] On Behalf Of SuStel

On 8/30/2017 11:24 AM, Lieven wrote:
Which nouns make sense in a {[verb]meH [noun]} phrase?

In a discussion in Facebook, someone asked to translate "Tell me why you did that" and I suggested {DamaghmeH meqlIj yIDel} "describe your reason for betraying him".

Somebody corrected me that the noun in such a phrase should be some kind of tool, as in {pe'meH taj} and {ja'chuqmeH rojHom}.

Is there any evidence for or against any of this?

I feel that {maghmeH meq} sounds reasonable (no pun intended) but others don't.

Most of our examples seem to follow the pattern that purpose clauses attached to nouns are theoretically infinitive—they don't have subjects or prefixes—while purpose clauses attached to verbs are finite.

So, ja'chuqmeH rojHom truce to confer, but maja'chuqmeH maghom we meet to confer.

I believe there are counterexamples, so take that with a grain of salt, but I think that's the basic idea.

As for maghmeH meq, I don't like it because your motive doesn't have the purpose of betraying; your motive leads to betraying. In ja'chuqmeH rojHom the purpose of the truce is conferring. In pe'meH taj, the purpose of the knife is cutting. -meH on a noun describes the mission of that noun. The mission of your motive is not to betray; the cause of your betrayal is your motive.

I wouldn't translate tell me why you did that! so literally. I'd just say qatlh Data'pu'? why did you do it? If the original action done were specified (tell me why you betrayed him!), I'd use a better verb: qatlh Damaghpu'? why did you betray him? If I absolutely had to include the tell me! part, I'd just add a HIja'! at the end of it or, if I don't want it to be confused with yes, I'd say jIHvaD yIja'! And if it truly, unfairly had to be a single sentence about telling, I'd say jIHvaD maghpu'ghach meq yIja' tell me your betrayal motive! And if you insisted that, nononono, not just betrayal but betraying him, I'd say go away, I'm done.



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