[tlhIngan Hol] mughmeH laH vs mughlaHghach

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Tue May 15 18:42:21 PDT 2018

On 5/15/2018 8:37 PM, Ed Bailey wrote:
> On Tue, May 15, 2018 at 6:49 PM, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name 
> <mailto:sustel at trimboli.name>> wrote:
>     On 5/15/2018 4:28 PM, Ed Bailey wrote:
>>     On Tue, May 15, 2018 at 4:01 PM, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name
>>     <mailto:sustel at trimboli.name>> wrote:
>>         On 5/15/2018 3:57 PM, Ed Bailey wrote:
>>>         *mughlaHghach* seems to me to be ambiguously synonymous with
>>>         both *mughmeH laH* and *mughlu'meH laH*. Without context,
>>>         I'd expect these two phrases to mean respectively "ability
>>>         to translate" and "ability to be translated."
>>         *mughlu'meH laH* means /ability in order for someone
>>         indefinite to translate,/ not /ability to be translated./
>>     My point was not whether passive voice was suitable for
>>     translating this term, which I'd say it is in this case, but how
>>     the term would be applied. *mughlu'meH laH* clearly does not
>>     apply to the translator. Therefore, I would expect it to be used
>>     in talking about a text.
>     *mughlu'meH laH *clearly DOES apply to the translator. The only
>     difference between *mughmeH laH* and *mughlu'meH laH* is that in
>     the latter the subject doing the translating is explicitly
>     indefinite. In the former there is NO subject. Purpose clauses are
>     the only verbal clauses that allow you to ignore verb conjugation.
> If you are talking about a particular translator's ability, would it 
> make sense to talk about his *mughlu'meH laH*? It seems to me that 
> *-lu'* would be out of place if the speaker and listener have a 
> particular translator in mind.
> But if you were talking whether a particular text were translatable 
> (i.e., whether there was anyone who could translate it), wouldn't that 
> be a logical context for talking about *mughlu'meH laH*? For instance, 
> *ghItlhvam mughlu'meH laH chavlu'pu'be'* as a way of saying "No one 
> has figured out how to translate this manuscript."

This says "One has not achieved this manuscript's ability in order that 
one translates." That is, the manuscript has an ability to translate 
something (not itself). Another reading, making the purpose clause 
attach to *chav* instead of *laH,* would be /In order that one 
translates this manuscript, one has not achieved the ability./ This is 
close to what you want, but look closely at the grammar. And look also 
at this post <http://klingonska.org/canon/1998-01-18b-news.txt> by 
Okrand, wherein he tries to resolve the problem of applying purpose 
clauses to negative statements by avoiding the problem altogether. (Did 
you carefully try not to achieve the ability, so that you could 
translate the manuscript?)

I think you're confusing attaching a purpose clause to a verb (or 
clause) and attaching a purpose clause to a noun. Purpose clauses are 
different than other dependent clauses. You can attach purpose clauses 
to sentences like other dependent clauses *(Heghlu'meH QaQ jajvam),* but 
you can also attach purpose clauses to nouns *(qa'meH vIttlhegh).* In 
the latter case, the resulting phrase, purpose clause plus head noun, is 
a noun phrase. Notice that in the example *qa'meH vIttlhegh, *the noun 
is not the subject of the purpose clause. Notice also that the purpose 
clause has not been given a subject or object: it's a 
/proverb-for-replacing,/ not a /proverb-for-him-to-replace./

The rules for when purpose clauses must take subjects or objects are not 
given by Okrand. In general, it appears that purpose clauses attached to 
verbs (sentences) get subjects (possibly indefinite) and objects, while 
those attached to nouns don't. But he's broken that general trend from 
time to time *(qaSuchmeH 'eb; qIpmeH Qatlh'a'; *and even the 
object-but-no-subject *SuvwI' DevmeH paq**).*

> So would you agree that *mughmeH laH* and *mughlu'meH laH* are not 
> synonymous, and that *mughlaHghach* is ambiguously synonymous with 
> both of them?

No. *mughmeH laH* and *mughlu'meH laH* mean the same thing, though 
*mughmeH laH* is the expected form.

In the first form, the verb is completely without arguments. It's like 
in English how the /translate/ in /ability to translate/ has no subject 
or object at all. Klingon has no infinitives, but this is close.

In the second form, the verb is not close to an infinitive: it has an 
explicit indefinite subject. Just as *qaSuchmeH 'eb* means /opportunity 
for me to visit you,/ *mughlu'meH laH* means /ability for someone 
indefinite to translate. /There is no significant difference between 
/ability to translate/ and /ability for someone indefinite to 
translate./ I wouldn't bother with the *-lu',* but if it's there it 
makes no difference. I could say *jImughmeH laH* /ability for me to 
translate,/ and now it means something different, but adding an 
indefinite subject to a verb that had no subject to begin with doesn't 
change the meaning. And I see no significant difference between that 
meaning and *mughlaHghach*/ability to translate./


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