[tlhIngan Hol] What is a sentence?

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Sat Jun 10 16:51:43 PDT 2017

On 6/10/2017 1:12 PM, ghunchu'wI' 'utlh wrote:
> On Jun 9, 2017, at 3:03 PM, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name 
> <mailto:sustel at trimboli.name>> wrote:
>> For instance, Captain Klaa's utterance *reH DIvI' Duj vISuv vIneH* 
>> /I've always wanted to fight a Federation ship/ becomes perfectly 
>> reasonable without any special grammatical exceptions if we simply 
>> look at it as *reH [DIvI' Duj vISuv vIneH],* where the brackets 
>> delineate a sentence, not just a "construction."
> It is already an exception, as {neH} does not use the object {'e'}. It 
> has occasionally been suggested that the "previous sentence" is the 
> actual object of {neH}. I think that is no more of a stretch than what 
> you propose.

*neH* is an exception that is given to us as canon. The previous 
sentence directly being the object of the latter sentence is our 
conjecture invented purely to explain the adverbial in Klaa's line.

> I do see the distinction between generalizing and making exceptions. 
> I'm just not sure it is worth generalizing "all SAO constructions are 
> sentences" in order to handle the Klaa example, when a small codicil 
> on {neH} works to explain both the placement of {reH} and the lack of 
> {'e'}.

An SAO is a "complex sentence." Okrand has called them "sentences." 
They're sentences.

And don't presume to tell me my motivations. I'm not interested in 
making up rules to explain one line. The placement of adverbials, 
syntactic nouns, and other expressions on SAOs comes up again and again 
when trying to use Klingon, and knowing whether SAOs are able to do the 
things other sentences can do is essential.

> I think it is uncontroversial to call complex sentences made with 
> conjunctions "sentences". Do we have any examples of such sentences 
> where an adverbial or subordinate clause applies to the entire thing, 
> or do they attach to only one main verb? The comparison isn't 
> perfectly applicable to a SAO, but it could be instructive.

Complex sentences are not just compound sentences.

6. Syntax
     6.2. Complex sentences
         6.2.1. Compound sentences
         6.2.2. Subordinate clauses
         6.2.3. Relative clauses
         6.2.4. Purpose clauses
         6.2.5. Sentences as objects

Sentences as object are complex sentences. Hence they are sentences.

Comparatives and superlatives are not described as complex sentences in 
TKD. /But neither are they called sentences./ They are called 
constructions and formulas, but not sentences. Do you claim they are not 
sentences? They can even have "header" words put on them, as shown in 
our ever-useful *qIbDaq SuvwI''e' SoH Dun law' Hoch Dun puS.* We also 
have adverbials: *reH latlh qabDaq qul tuj law' Hoch tuj puS.* They're 

TKD calls "to be" constructions sentences in TKD, even though they do 
not appear under either "basic sentences" or "complex sentences."

Compound sentences are described thus in TKD: "Two sentences may be 
joined together to form a longer compound sentence. Both sentences must 
be able to stand alone as properly formed sentences." Now see this from 
KGT: *juDev 'ej Dujvam ra'wI' DagheS 'e' vItlhob*/I ask you to lead us 
as commander of this ship./ In order for this canonical utterance to be 
legal according to TKD, *juDev* and *Dujvam ra'wI' DagheS 'e' vItlhob* 
must both be "properly formed sentences." Thus, the SAO is a properly 
formed sentence. There are more of these basic-sentence-conunction-SAOs 
in /paq'batlh./ THEY - ARE - SENTENCES.

We have an example of what you asked for in /paq'batlh/ as well: an 
adverbial that applies to an entire SAO rather than just one of its 
component sentences.

    ghIq pum 'e' mev
         bIQtIq Doq legh
         bIQtIq nguvmoH 'Iw

    Then he sees bright red
         At the end of his fall
         It is a river, blood-colored.

This isn't to be interpreted /he stops that he then falls/; it means 
/then, he stops falling./


Okrand doesn't go out of his way to avoid calling SAOs (and comparatives 
and superlatives) sentences. He just didn't happen to use the word in 
his brief paragraphs about them in TKD. He casually calls them sentences 
elsewhere, as if it's perfectly obvious that everyone can tell they are 
sentences, because it IS perfectly obvious.


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