[tlhIngan Hol] mu' chu' chabal tetlh!

Felix Malmenbeck felixm at kth.se
Wed Mar 22 20:15:18 PDT 2017

== DISCUSSION ONLY: No new requests in this message. ==

I agree quite a lot with both of you. -'e' really is criminally underused; I've been studying Japanese lately, and I've grown to feel that topic markers are AWESOME. And certainly, there are many cases where it does the job quite well.

However, as SuStel says, the topic marker is quite vague with regard to what role the topic has in a sentence. Consider a sentence like {ghItlhwIj'e' SoHvaD jIjatlhnIS.}

Do I need to talk to you *about* my essay, or is speaking to you part of my process for writing the essay?

Likewise with a sentence such as {parmaq Dotlhmaj'e' jIHvaD jatlhqangbe'law'.}

Does he/she seem unwilling to talk to me *about* our relationship, or is him/her being seemingly unwilling to talk to me an issue of our relationship?

I'm being a bit obtuse, of course, and these ambiguities can probably be sorted out from context without too much trouble, but it illustrates a problem.

Also, because we like to use -'e' to disambiguate relative clauses, more complex sentences like (5) come off as a bit disjointed to me; "Why the space station that our enemies destroyed...? Our CO refuses to talk."

This can be alleviated by splitting things into multiple sentences, though:

{tengchaH luSangta' jaghpu'ma'. tengchaHvam'e' qatlh jatlhQo' ra'wI'ma'?}

Regarding {vay' bop nuv}: I also think that {bop} can probably be used with a person as the subject, but I suspect that it has more to do with a person's focus than about what they talk about; a {bop'eghwI'} might be somebody who's very self-absorbed, for example, which may correlate with talking about oneself, but isn't necessarily the same thing.

Likewise, a person focusing on or considering something while talking isn't necessarily talking *about* that thing. For instance, when talking about city planning, I might not talk much about myself, but I may place too much focus on issues that affect me, and approach them in a way that is relates to my experience (for example by being oblivious to the needs of rural residents).

Alternatively, I might be trying to influence a discussion in a way that benefits me, but if I'm clever about it, I probably won't actually talk *about* myself.

That being said, both the topic particle and words like {bop}, {buS}, {qel}, {Del} and so forth are all useful tools for describing the topic of a conversation, and you can accomplish a lot with them, which is why I don't really consider this to be a lexical "gap", per se.

That being said, I do feel that "talk about (subject)" is a useful enough expression that having a canonical word or expression for it makes a lot of sense (and in particular, a verb would be nice, because those are very versatile).

...and, of course, Marc might end up simply telling us that Maltz thought this was a weird request, and say that we should keep using workarounds like the ones we've discussed here.

And then some of us will grind our teeth for a bit and feel that this was a wasted request, but in the end, we would still end up better equipped for the next time we talk about talking about what it is we talk about.

From: tlhIngan-Hol <tlhingan-hol-bounces at lists.kli.org> on behalf of sustel at trimboli.name <sustel at trimboli.name>
Sent: Thursday, March 23, 2017 03:11
To: tlhingan-hol at kli.org
Subject: Re: [tlhIngan Hol] mu' chu' chabal tetlh!

This has been suggested before, but I think the link between the speech being reported and the topic of the sentence itself is too weak to sustain this argument. Basically, there’s little reason for the listener to expect that the narrator’s topic is the reported speaker’s topic.


From: Ed Bailey<mailto:bellerophon.modeler at gmail.com>
Sent: Wednesday, March 22, 2017 9:56 PM
To: tlhingan-hol at kli.org<mailto:tlhingan-hol at kli.org>
Subject: Re: [tlhIngan Hol] mu' chu' chabal tetlh!

On Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 8:29 PM, Felix Malmenbeck <felixm at kth.se<mailto:felixm at kth.se>> wrote:

- talk about, discuss (verb)

Example sentences:

(1) "I enjoy talking about Klingon."

(2) "We spoke about the fact that bicycles are evil."

(3) "What are y'all talking about?"

(4) "I visited the restaurant that you told me about."

(5) "Why is our CO so unwilling to talk about the space station that our enemies destroyed?"

(6) "She refuses to talk about the project she's working on."

(7) "That blowhard talks about himself too much."

(8) "Those lovers talk about each other too much."
I'm not suggesting these are the ideal (or necessarily even acceptable) way to express your sentences, but lately I've been considering how sentences could be made more concise with the topic marker {-'e'}, which seems underused (by humans, anyway). For many situations, it seems like a shorter alternative to tacking {bopbogh...} onto the object of consideration. So can you indicate the topic of conversation this way before an intransitive verb of speech? How do these sentences strike you?

(1) tlhIngan Hol'e' jIjatlh 'e' vItIv.
(2) mIgh qam Do Dujmey. ngoDvam'e' majatlh.
(3) nuq'e' SujatlhtaH?
(4) Qe'e' choja'ta'bogh vISuchta'.
(5) qatlh tengchaH'e' luSangta'bogh jaghpu'ma' jatlhqangbe'qu' ra'wI'ma'?
(6) jInmol'e' turtaHbogh mujatlhQo'.
(7) tlhoy bop'egh 'eDjenvetlh jatlhtaHvIS.
(8) tlhoy bopchuq parmaqqayvetlh jatlhtaHvIS.
For the last two, due to their reflexive nature, I couldn't see how to use the topic marker without repeating {'eDjen} or {parmaqqay} (though just because of my English sense of style: I seem to recall from TKD something to the effect that such repetition isn't bad style in Klingon). It seems to me that {bop} <be about, be concerned with> can take a person as its subject as well as the usual {bom}, {lut}, etc. If not, I'd cheerfully change {bop} to {buS} or {qIm} or somesuch.

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