[tlhIngan Hol] {'} as [t] - dialect?

Daniel Dadap daniel at dadap.net
Sun May 20 12:12:43 PDT 2018

> On May 20, 2018, at 13:44, Felix Malmenbeck <felixm at kth.se> wrote:
> It certainly wouldn't be outside the realm of plausibility. In fact, something similar happens in some English varieties, with "bottle" being pronounced "bo-uhl" and so forth. Wikipedia uses the example words "cat", "the" and "button":
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glottal_stop#Occurrence

Yes, in fact I was thinking along the lines of “bo-uhl” here.

> As for Klingon:
> Based on the particular variant of no' Hol that was used in paq'batlh, it appears that word-final {t} morphed into {'} at some point (assuming a direct ancestry; it could simply be a cognate). Perhaps this tendency remains in some dialects, or perhaps it could be a case of convergent evolution.

Wow, I had only vaguely heard of paq'batlh, and was only vaguely aware that it was explained as being ancient (and hence why the title of the book isn’t, for example, batlh paq), but I wasn’t aware that it was actually written in an archaic language.

When I get a bit more experienced with modern ta' Hol I am definitely going to want to check out the no' Hol in paq'batlh, as phonological shifts over time is a particular area of interest for me. The examples you cite below are utterly fascinating, and I find your proposed reconstructions entirely believable.

The occurrence of no'Hol [t] where modern ta' Hol ['] occurs would certainly be a ready explanation for some modern dialects preserving [t], and I find a shift from [t] to ['] perfectly believable.

> Here are some examples (with no' Hol and English from the book; the modernized Klingon glossing is my own guesswork, with word order preserved):
> no' Hol: [...] teq tyot lityanmaq’
> English: [Thus] a second heart was forged.
> Modernized: [...] tIq cha' luchenmoH
> no' Hol: netabq’ot ‘usrutyeDi pog’ ‘eDyayloq’
> English: Their power combined, invincible,
> Modernized: nItebHa' HoSchaj pagh ['e]jeylaH
> no' Hol: ‘ach juqmut wob g’irDet / Dyav q’usru g’ir Dya
> English: The louder they beat, / The larger the storm became.
> Modernized: 'ach joqmo' wab ghurDI' / jev HoS ghur je
> no' Hol: quq’ syisi vivbat
> English: The wind does not respect a fool.
> Modernized: qoH SuS vuvbe'
> no' Hol: teqmaaDoDi jotlhDet / [...] ‘ewDoDi tlhipDet / tlhengon ‘eDinesru
> English: A Klingon must listen / To his hearts / [And] the whispers of his blood.
> Modernized: tIq[maa]Daj jatlhDI' / [...] 'IwDaj tlhupDI' / tlhIngan 'IjnIS
> no' Hol: Durmut / tog'
> English: Out of the end / Came the beginning,
> Modernized: Dormo' / tagh
> Note that the ' in *'ew* has been preserved in the modern/future-day {'Iw}, while the ' in *'usru* appears to have become the H in {HoS}.
> There is also the notable exception of *'qi'tu'* becoming {QI'tu'}.

FWIW, in B’elanna’s (or maybe originally Miral’s) “dialect”, at least according to the tape, the word for blood is (usually, but not always) pronounced something like the English word “you” with a clear [j] glide in the beginning of the syllable.

> We also have a couple of examples of words ending in {oot} morphing into {aw'}.
> [Note that both of these examples include the syllable *me*, which appears to be an archaic verb prefix for "THEY verb THEM".
> They also both contain the plural suffix -maa, which is likely a precursor to -mey but is also used for body parts and beings capable of language.]

Cool, I like the idea of the verb prefix system originally being more complete, with the zero prefix ambiguity only arising as a result of a later simplification. I also like the distinct plural suffixes being a modern innovation, especially since IRL the separate plural suffix for language capable beings developed out of necessity when the meaning of “qama'pu' jonta' neH” had to be radically altered.

> no' Hol: 'qinmaa meqoot
> English: They destroyed their gods.
> Modernized: Qun[maa] [me]Qaw'
> no' Hol: [...] mu’qberet tunsroot teqmaa metyanmuq’
> English: The hearts created [five] forms of mok’bara
> Modernized: moQbara' tonSaw' tIq[maa] [me]chenmoH
> ...and one of words enging in {oy'} morphing into {ay'}:
> no' Hol: moy’ qitqitmut
> English: a fierce battle
> Modernized: may' qu'qu'mo'
> We have one (somewhat questionable) example that may suggest that certain syllables could change depending on their place in a word:
> no' Hol: [...] tubba'lit
> English: [...] unchallenged
> IF this word corresponds to the modern/future-day {tobbe'lu'}, we would have *ba'* as the precursor of -be' in one word, while also appearing as *bat* in the sentence *quq’ syisi vivbat* above.

That would be consistent with proto *t (or another voiceless stop type phoneme) being expressed as allophones [t] or ['] in no' Hol, and developing into ['] in modern ta' Hol. Maybe it was distinguished from the proto-phoneme that developed into modern /t/ (which also seems to have had [t] as an allophone in no' Hol) by place of articulation, being aspirated or not, or something else.

> //loghaD
> ________________________________________
> From: tlhIngan-Hol <tlhingan-hol-bounces at lists.kli.org> on behalf of Lieven L. Litaer <levinius at gmx.de>
> Sent: Sunday, May 20, 2018 19:07
> To: tlhingan-hol at kli.org
> Subject: Re: [tlhIngan Hol] {'} as [t] - dialect?
> Am 20.05.2018 um 17:22 schrieb Daniel Dadap:
> > I was listening to “The Klingon Way” as narrated by Michael Dorn and
> > Roxann Biggs-Dawson, and couldn’t help but notice that it sounds like
> > B’Elanna almost always (but not totally consistently) pronounces the
> > {qaghwI'} as [t]. Perhaps [t] as an allophone of either /t/ or /ʔ/ may
> > have been a feature of Miral’s dialect? Or is it an idiosyncrasy
> > particular to B'elanna?
> I would not regard this tape as being any official dialect, not even a
> canon example of Klingon. SuStel wrote it in a very polite way, but I
> would just say that this audio book version of TKW is really, really
> bad. I listened once to it, and stopped halfway because it hurt my ears.
> Beginners of Klingon should actually never listen to that, because it's
> just bad Klingon.
> This information is included in the German version, but I'll add that to
> the wiki immediately right here:
> http://www.klingonwiki.net/En/TheKlingonWay
> --
> Lieven L. Litaer
> aka the "Klingon Teacher from Germany"
> http://www.klingonisch.de
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