[tlhIngan Hol] teH vs {-na'}

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Wed Aug 14 07:17:26 PDT 2019


For many years I’ve argued about the use of {qamuSHa’} for “I love you.” The problem is that “I love you,” is completely dependent upon context to give it meaning.

A mother means one thing when saying it to her child, a different thing when saying it to her husband, a different thing when saying it to a sibling, a different thing when saying it to HER mother, a different thing when saying it to a childhood friend, a different thing when saying it to her dog, a different thing when saying it to her favorite TV star… etc.

The relationship and the circumstance give meaning to an otherwise uselessly vague statement.

If you want to say it with meaning in Klingon, then either preface it with a lengthy description of the context (either spoken in the conversation, or as a description for the reader to understand wtf you are saying with the vague term), or say what you really mean:

reH parmaqqaywI’ SoH.

tuq’a’ wIchenchoHmoH vIneH. HInay.

puqwI’ SoH. bIquvmo’ choquvmoH ‘ej jIbelchu’.

In other words, say what you mean. Don’t just take the original words and translate the words. Translate the MEANING. Start with the extreme specific, root level meaning of the idea or thought that has already been translated into English (or whatever language you find the original expression in), and translate THAT MEANING into Klingon.

The original idea has already been compromised when stated in its original expression. It was already an imperfect translation of the idea, just to get it on a page or out of somebody’s mouth. The imperfections of different languages do not align particularly well, so starting with a compromised expression and running it through the flawed filter of the second language often results in a further compromised expression, sometimes mangled beyond usefulness.

All too often, people take the shortcut and start with the words instead of the meaning, and this often works well enough, but it is never as good as it would have been if you back up and start with the pre-lingual thought that became the words you are trying to translate. Ironically, the more loyal you are to the original words, the less likely you are to result in an effective translation.

This is what I’m pointing to when I say that Klingon is a language, not a code. If it were a code, then loyalty to the original choice of words and grammar would be a good thing, but when translating between languages, it is a bad thing.

charghwI’ vaghnerya’ngan

rInpa’ bomnIS be’’a’ pI’.




> On Aug 14, 2019, at 9:43 AM, mayqel qunen'oS <mihkoun at gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> SuStel:
> > Say I agree in Klingon. Give it punch.
> 
> I can't. Indeed, saying "I don't disagree" lacks the punch of "I agree". Or the "I reject" word too..
> 
> And an even better example is the {qamuSHa'} which *feels* light years away from "I love you".
> 
> But since it's a constructed language, I guess we'll have to make due with the limited choices we have..
> 
> ~ cjcjcj
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