[tlhIngan Hol] Rendered fat

Ed Bailey bellerophon.modeler at gmail.com
Tue Feb 21 22:39:58 PST 2017

Qu'wIjmo' jIyevnISpu' 'ej Do'Ha' qaSpu' jaj bID je jItaHqa'laHpa'. nI'
QInmeymaj vaj loQ vImISchoH. jItaghqa'meH Daq vItu'.


jagh QaHbe'nISlu' 'a vuDDaj meq qaq buSHa'law' SuStel.

jatlh SuStel:

nuqjatlh? *SuStel seems to ignore his preferable opinion.*

I should have said something like vuDDaj vuybogh meq qaq'e' buSHa'law'

And of course the preferable reason: wot tlhejbogh <-lu'> <-wI'> je
ngaSbogh mu'tlhegh naDpu''a' marq 'oqranD?

In my opinion, the lack of canon -lu' plus -wI' is a stronger argument than
your inference from the rules of TKD. MO can always refine the rules
outlined in his "grammatical sketch," and he could easily say the wording
in TKD 3.2.2 fails to take into account one special case, but if he were to
start allowing -lu' plus -wI' at this point, some explanation for its
apparent rarity is called for.

On Mon, Feb 20, 2017 at 11:35 AM, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name> wrote:

> On 2/20/2017 11:03 AM, Ed Bailey wrote:
> naQjej rurmo' wot, ghantoH <chuH> vIlo'. vay''e' chuHlu'bogh 'oSbej
>> ?chuHlu'wI' 'e' SIbI' vItlhoj.
>> *vay'e' chuHlu'bogh 'oSbej *chuHlu'wI' SIbI' 'e' vItlhoj*
>> or
>> *SIbI' vay''e' chuHlu'bogh 'oHSbej *chuHlu'wI' 'e' vItlhoj*
> <'e'> tlha'laH chuvmey 'e' vIQub. 'a jIQochbe', <'e'> nung chuvmey vImaS
> je.
> *'e'* lutlha'laHbe' chuv. chaq *TKD* 6.7 mojaq *-'e'* je DaqelHa'.
bIlughlaw'. vogh chuvmey nunglaH <'e'> vIlaDpu' qen 'e' vIQub, 'a DaH
Daq'e' vIqawlaHbe'. 'a ghIH mIwvam. DoS DIp qa'meH, reH DoS DIp DaqDaq
<'e'> lanlu'

> In English passive voice, this is true. *-lu'* is not English passive
> voice. In Klingon, when *-lu'* is added, the object remains the object.
> This is the language used to decribe what goes on in Klingon. My point is
> the construction i
> Your sentence seems to have been cut off.

Oops! I think I was saying the language used in TKD attempts to describe
Klingon grammar in terms familiar to the reader, but that Klingons do not
necessarily conceive of their grammar in those terms. Therefore there is a
danger of accepting TKD's explanations too literally, and based on that,
forcing an interpretation of Klingon grammar that Klingons would rightly
consider alien. We know the grammatical forms (at least some of them) and
the semantic relations (for instance, we know the different semantic roles
of the arguments of a verb, one of these being that a noun following a verb
is always an agent). But the familiar grammatical terms in TKD, to
paraphrase Spock in "Errand of Mercy," could well be conventionalizations.
Useless to the Klingons. Used by MO so that language students, such as
ourselves, could have conventional points of reference.

> The language used to describe what goes on in Klingon is
> "someone/something does something to me" and "someone/something does
> something to them," and so on. Only after giving examples in most
> combinations does TKD say "Verbs with *-lu'* are often translated into
> the English passive voice." It then gives the SAME examples translated into
> passive voice. The point is clearly not that what's happening in Klingon is
> grammatically equivalent to English passive voice; it simply means that
> passive voice is often a more colloquial translation. It sounds stilted to
> say "someone/something remembers you"; it sounds natural to say "you are
> remembered."
>> So'bogh DoS DIp chu' jal rom chut je,
>> *The rule of accord envisions a new, hidden target noun*?
> My language here is awkward. An example is called for. When {mulegh ghaH}
> is changed to {vIleghlu'}. The rule of accord requires the prefix {vI-}, so
> although semantically there is a null agent and first-person singular
> patient, grammatically the rule of accord treats this situation as if there
> were a first-person singular subject and third-person singular object,
> although that object is merely a grammatical fiction. This is clearly a
> special situation, and I have to wonder whether OVS accurately reflects how
> Klingon linguists would interpret it.
> *mulegh ghaH* is not changed to *vIleghlu'.* You construct *vIleghlu'*
> directly. There is no transformation from one to another. When I am
> thinking in Klingon and I intend to use an indefinite subject, my mind goes
> straight to *vI-* being the proper prefix.
> The *vI-* prefix does not, according to the description in TKD, treat
> *vIleghlu'* as if it had a first-person singular subject and a
> third-person singular object. TKD explicitly says the prefixes are used to
> mean something else. With *-lu',* *vI-* MEANS first-person object.
> There's no grammatical fiction going on; the prefixes are simply reassigned
> for *-lu'.*
> Now, is it possible that there is some "grammatical fiction" reason WHY
> the prefixes are reassigned? Maybe, but that's pure conjecture and there's
> no evidence for it anywhere.
I wasn't implying that vIleghlu' was a form of mulegh ghaH, but rather
considering the effect on the prefix if the speaker rephrased the sentence
to eliminate the explicit agent. It's impossible (for me, anyway) not to
wonder how verbs with -lu' came to have the prefixes they do. I expect
that, as with any language, that it's just natural and unquestioned for
most native speakers but that it entered speech for a very definite reason
that speakers didn't take for granted at the time. What that reason could
be I won't even try to guess.

> 'a potlhbe', mu'tlheghDaq DI'rujDaq ghap DoS DIpqoqvam chu' tu'be'lu'mo'.
>> wotvaD DoS DIp 'oHtaH nungbogh DIp'e'. moHaqvaD chuHwI' DIp mojlaw'
>> nungbogh DIp. ghu'vam vIqelmeH DIvI' Hol qechmey /subject/ /object/ je,
>> jImISqu'choH. 'ach vuDlIj QIjmeH /subject/ /object/ je wuv SuStel.
>> rarchu'be' tlhIngan Hol, qechmeyvam je 'e' vIQub.
>> ghu'vam le'mo', SuStel vuD vIHon. latlh meq vIghaj. 'oSlaHbe' wot'e'
>> tlhejbogh <-lu'> <-wI'> je, 'eb lonlu'pu' 'ej pagh chavlu'.
>> Hoch 'eb jon Hol 'e' SaHbe' Hol.
> 'a chaq SaH tlhInganpu'. 'eb tu'DI', lulo' 'e' bot nuq? lubotlaHbe'ba'
> tera'ngan Holtej. 'a 'eb lulo' luneHbe' tlhIngan, SIghlaHbe' je tera'ngan
> Holtej.
> Arguing over whether a Klingon would or would not care about a particular
> grammatical feature is not a useful line of reasoning, in my view.
No, but as any of us who've studied a natural language have observed (and
it wouldn't surprise me if this applies to every subscriber on this list),
native speakers are under no obligation to speak the language the way the
student expects, no matter how good the student's reasoning. Our reasoning
is ultimately of a kind with that of the toddler who says "goed" instead of
"went." Some of my favorite moments in studying Klingon are Maltz's
revelations that Klingons don't speak the language the way we'd expect.

There's much to be said for your conservative approach, that it is less
likely to generate Klingon expressions that no Klingon would accept than an
approach that accepts any Klingon expression that canon doesn't expressly

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