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

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Thu Mar 29 06:12:12 PDT 2018

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.

> 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?

> 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.


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