[tlhIngan Hol] {jatlh} vs. {ja'}

Daniel Dadap daniel at dadap.net
Thu Mar 29 07:09:22 PDT 2018


Thanks for the analysis.

> On Mar 29, 2018, at 9:12 AM, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name> wrote:
> 
> On 3/29/2018 8:25 AM, Daniel Dadap wrote:
>> Can {ja'} be used to mean “read aloud”, e.g., to describe the functionality of TTS software, or is it more proper to use {jatlh} for this? In other words, are the following two options equally acceptable, or is either one considered more correct than the other, to express something like “say it to me” to a computer?
>> 
>> a) {HIja'}
>> b) {jIHvaD yIjatlh}
> 
> First, a side-note: HIjatlh is allowed by use of the prefix trick.
> 
> To me, a strict reading of the entries for jatlh and ja' suggest that jatlh is about the act of making speech, while ja' is about the act of imparting information.
> 
> In Star Trek III, we get qaja'pu' jonta' neH I told you engines only. The emphasis here is clearly on the information imparted, rather than the saying of it.
> 
> On the other hand, in the same movie Kruge says, in English, "Say the wrong thing, Torg..." And we just happen to get the phrase bIjatlhHa'chugh If you misspeak in The Klingon Dictionary. This is, of course, not a coincidence, because Okrand translated every line by a Klingon whether it ended up being said in Klingon or not. Here, the emphasis is purely on whether Torg says something Kruge doesn't want to hear, not on whatever information he has to impart.
> 
> This is not to say that you can't impart information when you jatlh or be speaking when you ja'. It's just a matter of focus.
> I feel fairly confident in this distinction, but it remains only my opinion.
> 

If I understand you correctly, your interpretation is that using {HIja’} to mean “say it to me” with respect to TTS software would seem a bit off, since the focus of the normal operation TTS software would be on the conversion of a piece of information from written text into speech, rather than on the imparting of that information as speech, but there’s nothing explicitly disallowing it.

>> I am hoping that I can call the TTS app and the extension it exposes {HIja'}, as a pun meaning “tell me” and also “yes”, but I don’t know whether the semantics of {ja'} allow for this, or whether {HIja'} can only mean “tell me” in the sense of “report a piece of information to me” and not “say something to me”.
> 
> I don't think ja' only means to provide with information; it means to talk or communicate in a way that provides information. Consider the word ja'chuq discuss, confer. It's not that the subjects are just shooting off data at each other; it means they're having a conversation.
> 
> I don't know whether a pun would be good in this application; I think it would just be confusing, as most people seeing HIja' will associate it with yes far sooner than they will with tell me! I'm also not sure I see the value of the pun—why would it be funny to interpret it as yes in that particular context?
> 

Creating confusion is exactly the point of the pun. I have a slightly perverse sense of humor.


>> On a somewhat related note, does anybody know whether the fact that {HIja'} means “tell me” in addition to meaning “yes” is intentional?
> I'm sure it wasn't intentional.
> 

It very well may not have been intentional. I was sort of hoping that it was. My slightly perverse sense of humor gave me the initial impression (in speculative Klingon linguistic history) that perhaps {HIja’} meaning “yes” was etymologically derived from saying {HIja’} (“tell me”) to express that the speaker concurs with what was just said (in the vein of e.g. “amen"), and morphed to {HISlaH} as a variant.

> -- 
> SuStel
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