[tlhIngan Hol] vItlh vs. law'

Lieven levinius at gmx.de
Mon Nov 20 05:32:33 PST 2017

Hello again,

Some people were confused about how to use the verb {vItlh} ("be high"), 
especially about where the difference is to {law'} ("be many").

For the archive: this is printed in qepHom 2017, page 17.
{vItlh} means "be high, great (in quantity, size, intensity)."

It's used for things that are measurable or quantifiable but not 
necessarily countable. So you'd use it for things like speed or distance 
or the price of something: {Do vItlh} "high velocity," {chuq vItlh} 
"great range, great distance." You wouldn't use {law'} in these instances.

For things you can count (like people) (as opposed to things you can 
measure using units of measure, like length or speed), you'd use {law'} 
almost all the time. But you'd use {vItlh} if the number of whatever it 
is you're talking about is higher than normal or greater than before or 
greater than what was expected.

So if you were referring to a lot of warriors, you'd most likely say 
{SuvwI'pu' law'}. But if the high number of warriors is somehow 
important, if it's the point you're trying to make and not just an added 
fact, you'd use {vItlh}. You'd use it if you're not saying merely that 
there are a lot of warriors, but that the quantity of warriors is 
particularly high (higher than usual, higher than expected, higher than 
some other similar group of warriors, etc.). So it sounds like L'Rell 
used {vItlh} correctly in referring to the large number of people who 
died in battle (more than expected, more than before, etc.).

Note that the exact number of warriors (or whatever) doesn't matter (and 
doesn't have to be stated). The idea is that the high number of warriors 
you're talking about is somehow noteworthy (the number of warriors who 
died is greater than the norm for this sort of military unit, for example).

This information from #qepHom2017 will be added to the page "Message 
from Maltz" on qepHom.de:

Lieven L. Litaer
aka the "Klingon Teacher from Germany"

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