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

Daniel Dadap daniel at dadap.net
Tue Jun 12 16:00:23 PDT 2018

Thanks, nIqolay, SuStel, voragh je.

> On Jun 12, 2018, at 09:55, nIqolay Q <niqolay0 at gmail.com> wrote:
> If you wanted to claim poetic license, I'd be willing to accept [ yavDaq QemjIq], 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.

I’m not necessarily going for strict grammar, but I also don’t want to break rules unless not breaking them is overly burdensome. I suppose in the Terran version, the equivalent phrases are sentence fragments as well (“Oh the wing on the bird, and the bird in the egg” is roughly equivalent grammatically to “bo'DeghDaq tel, QImDaq bo'Degh”), but since there’s a reasonable likelihood that someone might actually look to these songs as examples of Klingon grammar, I should be safe and do e.g. “vaj bo'DeghDaq 'oHtaH tel'e', 'ej QImDaq 'oHtaH bo'Degh'e'”. Like I said, it works metrically, it just consumes 2x as much time as the equivalent English lines, making this song even longer and more annoying. However, since I consider how long and annoying this song to be a feature and not a bug, that’s not a problem for me.

> 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 count. 

Yes, “Hoch 'IQ puS” isn’t quite enough syllables for what I want. I’ve also used “latlhmey” instead of “latlh” because I read a rule that says explicitly plural nouns after Hoch make the Hoch read as “all”, and non-explicit plural nouns make Hoch read as “each”, though I suppose either meaning is fine for my purposes.

> {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}.​

It was just because I already knew the word {nIl}, and didn’t bother looking up a word for grass. {magh SuD} works just as well metrically, although unless someone knows for sure that grass on Qo'noS is also SuD, I might leave it as {tI nIl} to keep it planet-agnostic. Or maybe {magh nIl}, if that doesn’t sound as redundant in Klingon as it does in English.

SuStel wrote:
> the alternative is more complicated to say, so why not use what Okrand gave us?

Because I wanted more syllables than I could get with “Hoch 'IQ puS”, and also because my knowledge of canon is not yet well developed. Until maybe three months ago or so (when the Duolingo Klingon course launched), anything more advanced than “nuqDaq 'oH puchpa''e'” was beyond my ability to understand and analyze.

Now that I have a better mental model of Klingon grammar, I think it’s probably time to read the grammar section of TKD front-to-back. I had tried doing that in past attempts to learn Klingon, but didn’t build a good enough understanding to be able to retain anything that I read, so I just gave up and memorized the more amusing phrases from the phrase list instead.
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