[tlhIngan Hol] verbs with {-bogh} and numbers

nIqolay Q niqolay0 at gmail.com
Thu Oct 19 14:14:08 PDT 2017

On Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 3:53 PM, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name> wrote:
> Is it any more ambiguous than the English *Romulan hunter-killer probe?*
> Is that a hunter-killer probe that hunts and kills Romulans or a
> hunter-killer probe of Romulan make? Why isn't it a *hunter-killer
> Romulan probe?* Doesn't *hunter-killer Romulan probe* sound just plain
> WRONG to you, even though it can't be misinterpreted?
I do think the English phrase "Romulan hunter-killer probe" is potentially
ambiguous. As you point out, trying to clarify the meaning simply by
shifting a word doesn't sound right because of how English arranges
adjectives. If I were worried that context wouldn't make things clear, I'd
probably have to include other words entirely: "a hunter-killer probe built
by Romulans", "a probe that hunts and kills Romulans". Both of those
phrasings include relative clauses, and are a little more complex than a
noun phrase. So I would probably be willing to put up with a little more
grammatical ambiguity before I decide to move away from the simpler
four-noun phrase.

This isn't the case with the Klingon, though. We don't know what sounds
wrong to native speakers, and clearing up the ambiguity simply requires
moving a noun, rather than rephrasing the idea entirely into a somewhat
more complex form. It's less of a hassle to remove the ambiguity than it is
in the English.

> Does Klingon obey those rules? No idea. But when a native English speaker
> invents the language and translates into it, it's possible that he is
> unconsciously following those rules. I wouldn't declare this sort of thing
> solved, but it's worth examining Okrand's possible biases in this light.
That sounds like a reasonable explanation for why he phrased it that way.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the fact that a lot of Okrand's
Klingon is translated from an English original, how that might have
affected the writing style of canon Klingon, and what other sorts of
less-English writing styles there are. But I don't have my thoughts
together enough to really post about it yet.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.kli.org/pipermail/tlhingan-hol-kli.org/attachments/20171019/ee04aadf/attachment-0004.htm>

More information about the tlhIngan-Hol mailing list