[tlhIngan Hol] Expressing location and “prettier than all others” / Hoch DechtaH tI nIl

nIqolay Q niqolay0 at gmail.com
Tue Jun 12 07:55:17 PDT 2018

On Tue, Jun 12, 2018 at 8:37 AM, Daniel Dadap <daniel at dadap.net> wrote:

> 1) IIUC the generally expected way to express that noun Y is in/on/at noun
> X is {(X)Daq 'oHtaH (Y)'e'}. How acceptable or unacceptable is it to
> abbreviate this to {(X)Daq (Y)}? I’ve used the shorter option below, but if
> that doesn’t really fly I can switch to the longer version; it just means
> that each line of Klingon text following that pattern takes up the musical
> space of two analogous lines from the English version, which would make the
> Klingon version even longer and more annoying than the already long and
> annoying English version.

​In Proper Grammatical Klingon, it wouldn't fly at all. You need to have a
verb. We do know that sometimes grammatical rules get broken for the sake
of poetry, though we don't know what kinds of grammatical errors are
considered more acceptable than others in poetry. ​I don't think we have
examples of "X is at Y" being abbreviated like that. We do have a chapter
of the paq'batlh titled {qamchIyDaq 'uQ'a'} "The Feast at Kam-Chee", which
is a similar construction (that is similarly ungrammatical), though it's a
noun phrase and not a whole sentence. (That is, it's not supposed to mean
"The feast is at Kam-Chee.")

If you wanted to claim poetic license, I'd be willing to accept it, since
the meaning isn't unclear and you're not just doing it because you don't
know how to properly translate "the hole was in the ground". But if you're
trying to go for strict grammar, you're going to need to change it.

2) Would {(X) (Y) law' Hoch latlhmey (Y) puS} mean that X is more Y than
> all other Xes, or that X is more Y than all other things, not limited to
> other Xes? I’m trying to express the former meaning without having to do
> {(X) (Y) law' Hoch (X)mey (Y) puS} every time, partly because being able to
> use {latlh} in every verse strengthens the formula, and partly because it’s
> already slightly awkward to accommodate different syllable counts for the
> different X items that appear in the verses.

What sort of things X is being compared to (i.e., other Xs) will probably
be ​obvious from context. You're fine. Strictly speaking, you probably
don't need the {latlh} at all, but I assume it's there for the syllable

(The usual {X Q law' Hoch Q puS} construction already has an implied
{latlh}: {wo'rIv yoH law' Hoch yoH puS}, if interpreted literally the way
you interpret other comparatives, would mean "Worf is braver than everyone
(including himself).")

> Anyway, here’s my reconstruction of the original Klingon for “The Green
> Grass Grows All Around”. I’m only going to bother with the intended meaning
> in English for the first verse, because the subsequent verses just plug new
> words into the formula:

{qeSHom}: I don't know if you went with {tI nIl} because of the metrical
quality or something like that, but we do have a word for grass: {magh}.​
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