[tlhIngan Hol] Relevance of language ability to third person singular pronouns

De'vID de.vid.jonpin at gmail.com
Sun Sep 9 07:07:01 PDT 2018

On Sun, 9 Sep 2018 at 10:44, Lieven L. Litaer <levinius at gmx.de> wrote:

> > On Sat, Sep 8, 2018, 20:05 Lieven L. Litaer, wrote:
> >     I found that in a documentary about constructed languages:
> >     http://www.klingonwiki.net/En/CreditedAsConLangers
> Am 09.09.2018 um 02:21 schrieb De'vID:
> > His notes which didn't make it into the movie aren't *necessarily*
> > canon, since he could've changes his mind during filming. (We've treated
> > those ones which have appeared in HolQeD as canon, but I think only
> > because HolQeD counts independently as a source of canon.)
> >
> > Also, the word *{Hovtretlh} which appears in one of the titles is very
> > obviously someone's attempt to write "Star Trek" in "Klingon".
> These are two absolutely different pairs of shoes!

I wasn't drawing any connection between them. I was commenting, as an
aside, about the fact that in your link, you had a question mark for the
translation of *{Hovtretlh}. It's very obvious what it's intended to be.
It's intended to be the words "Star Trek".

> On one side, you have those titles who were created by some producers of
> the documentary who obviously had no idea what they're doing,

They very clearly *did* know what they were doing. They were trying to
produce an animation where the title words "Phonology", "Grammar", and
"Translation" morph into text which visibly "looks like" Na'vi, Dothraki,
and Klingon, under the constraint that the same-meaning text in each of the
languages had the same number of blocks (letters). They would be extremely
lucky if this happened to coincidentally work for one title in one
language, but for all the titles in all the languages to coincide in this
way would be a miracle. They very obviously chose "words" which looked good
for the animation without regard for the meaning, sneaking in "Star Trek"
as a joke. Their goal wasn't to translate Klingon.

> and then
> we have those notes which are with a very high probability the original
> notes made by Okrand made for the production of ST6 -- I mean, honestly,
> why would he make up something only to show in that documentary?

Nobody has said he made them up. They're probably - I would even say
definitely - his original notes. Okrand certainly has many more notes from
his work on various projects than he's published, some of which are early
drafts which were "discarded" in the sense that they contain ideas which
were subsequently abandoned. I'm sure his early Star Trek III notes, for
example, use {ma'} with the meaning "to tell". If such a note appeared in a
documentary, it wouldn't mean that {ma'} means "to tell", it means that
that was an idea at one point that he abandoned, which we already know.

He's had plenty of opportunities to publish the notes shown in this
documentary. His notes for Star Trek III became The Klingon Dictionary, and
his notes for Star Trek V were published in HolQeD. At least some of his
notes for Star Trek VI and Star Trek TNG went into creating the TKD
Addendum, and his notes from DS9 and Voyager went into TKW and KGT. The
fact that he hasn't explained anywhere that {DIvI'} is or can be referred
to using {ghaH} or produced a sentence like {jagh ghaH DIvI''e'} anywhere
else is a sign (though not one indicating a certainty) that that's an early
draft where he made a mistake or changed his mind.

And just like with the ST5-notes from HolQeD, these words were not used
> on screen, but Okrand HAS written them.

But unlike the ST5 notes, he hasn't *published* them. I believe that makes
them very different.

When he publishes his notes, he edits them and cleans them up first (but,
being human, of course he sometimes makes mistakes). When he's writing
something for himself or for a small audience (like when he signs a book),
he's sometimes written questionable things or been much less strict with
rules. One example: in a "get well" letter to Glen Proechel written in
1998, he wrote {yIpIv!} This is despite that in KGT (published 1997), he
makes a big deal out of having to add {-'eghmoH} when you give a command
with a verb describing a state of being. I would class {jagh ghaH DIvI''e'}
with {yIpIv!} It's something that maybe a Klingon *could* say, but it's not
a good example to follow.

> Am 09.09.2018 um 03:10 schrieb SuStel:
>  > Without a statement making them canon, I
>  > consider them useful, but not absolute.
> I agree. As long as something seems wrong, I would ignore it. But this
> one interesting sentence I quoted reveals an interesting way of
> thinking, even though it surely does not answer the other question which
> started this thread.
> Until it's explained in detail, we can't know for sure, I agree.

It would be interesting if Okrand were to now declare that collections of
things, like a federation, are grammatically singular but take on a
different pronoun ({ghaH} or {'oH}) depending on what the collection is
made of (i.e., whether it's made up of beings capable of language). I'm not
sure he could do it now without contradicting canon (which he's free to do,
of course).

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