[tlhIngan Hol] vIta'pu'be' vs vIta'be'pu'
felixm at kth.se
Fri Mar 9 13:46:58 PST 2018
> The difference between completing not-doing and not completing doing seems too hair-splitting for Klingons...
I'm sure there are hair-splitters in just about any culture with enough people.
Also, while the case of "not-doing" may be a bit artificial, I'd say it can be quite a meaningful distinction. It becomes clearer when using -ta' rather than -pu', though:
jIQongta'be' - "I have not successfully slept" (...because I have insomnia)
jIQongbe'ta' - "I have successfully not-slept" (...because I was on watch)
vIbejta'be' - "I have not successfully watched it" (...because my reception is terrible)
vIbejbe'ta' - "I have successfully not-watched it" (...because I promised we'd watch it together)
chaH vIja'ta'be' - "I have not successfully told them" (...because I haven't known how to break it to them)
chaH vIja'be'ta' - "I have successfully not-told them" (...even though I'm dying to)
You can even go a step further:
jIQongbe'ta'be' - "I have not successfully not-slept" (...because I was just so sleepy)
vIbejbe'ta'be' - "I have not successfully not-watched it" (...because I was just too eager to see what would happen next)
chaH vIja'be'ta'be' - "I have not successfully not-told them" (...because I'm terrible at keeping secrets)
> or even English, since I have to resort to made-up terms like not-doing to describe it.
We do make distinctions like that all the time, though; we just usually don't use the word "not" to do it:
"I have remained awake." vs. "I have not slept."
"I have fasted." vs. "I have not eaten."
"I have refrained from reading the book." vs. "I have not read the book."
In Klingon, many words don't have (known) separate known stems for their contradictions or opposites; we usually express those using negations.
Qoch ("disagree"), vIH ("move"), vul ("be unconscious"), jaQ ("be deep"), yoy ("be upside-down"), qur ("be greedy"), etc.
This gives us a natural way to express more complex negations that sound clunky in English ("I need to not-eat", "I can not-count", "I have successfully not-completely destroyed it"), which I think is pretty neat.
From: tlhIngan-Hol <tlhingan-hol-bounces at lists.kli.org> on behalf of SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name>
Sent: Friday, March 9, 2018 20:19
To: tlhingan-hol at lists.kli.org
Subject: Re: [tlhIngan Hol] vIta'pu'be' vs vIta'be'pu'
On 3/9/2018 2:15 PM, Felix Malmenbeck wrote:
I'd say you probably could say «vIta'be'pu'.» and be understood, but «vIta'pu'be'.» is more categorical: Not only has there been an instance of me not doing it, but also there have been no instances of me doing it (in the scope of time being considered).
I don't think there's any difference in meaning between vIta'be'pu' and vIta'pu'be' as far as anything we've ever seen. The difference between completing not-doing and not completing doing seems too hair-splitting for Klingons... or even English, since I have to resort to made-up terms like not-doing to describe it.
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