[tlhIngan Hol] teH vs {-na'}

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Wed Aug 14 08:02:27 PDT 2019


We don’t disagree as much as you think.

I think it is fine to use {qamuSHa’} for “I love you,” whenever sufficient context is known by the recipient of the expression. For that matter, a hug or a smile can convey the same thing. I’m not saying that Klingon requires a more specific expression, but if you are translating the expression for a third party, ignorant of the context, it would be good to either provide that context, or choose a different, more specific expression.

I’m just trying to convince people that they should not look at “I love you,” and say, “Oh yeah. In Klingon, that’s {qamuSHa’},” as a one-to-one, perfect, always applicable translation. Just provide the equivalent phrase and your work is done. Stop thinking. Just do it.

My comment was particularly intended as a response to the suggestion that “I unhate you,” doesn’t really convey the meaning of “I love you.” If you intend to say, “I love you,” and you want to convey something that {qamuSHa’} doesn’t feel right for, then don’t use {qamuSHa’.} There are a LOT of alternatives that may more clearly express your personal meaning. Feel free to dig deeper and come up with the expression that is closer to your intent. In fact, you are probably doing a better job of translating what you mean when you say, in English, “I love you,” if you abandon the words and look into what you mean to express.

Actually, I recommend this in English, too. “I love you,” is less of an expression than it is a confirmation or affirmation of something both parties are already assumed to understand. The understanding doesn’t come from the expression. It comes from the context. The vagueness is rooted in the extreme dependency on context.

I often tell my wife that I love her. I also often go to the additional effort to more specifically express the elements of my feelings for her so that I don’t fall back on ritual and habit, confirming unexpressed, specific meaning, enabling me to drift away from actually loving her, continually confirming my affection for her while feeling it less intensely, until one day one of us has that sad moment of realization that we’d rather be with someone else or even be alone instead of continuing to be annoyed by the proximity and intimacy of this person we used to like a lot, but we can’t quite remember why.

I work, every day, at being clear about what I mean when I tell her that I love her. I still say it the vague, confirming expression, but I persistently push to state more specific appreciation, affection, respect, support, and the joys of her excellent company. I point out the positive changes to my life that are all her fault.

I don’t just say, “I love you,” and leave it at that, and I don’t recommend that one always says, {qamuSHa’} and thinks they have accomplished translation perfection. Job done. Move along. This is not the more specific expression that you are looking for.

charghwI’ vaghnerya’ngan

rInpa’ bomnIS be’’a’ pI’.




> On Aug 14, 2019, at 10:32 AM, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name> wrote:
> 
> On 8/14/2019 10:17 AM, Will Martin wrote:
>> 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.
> I love you is not uselessly vague, as you have just demonstrated. It is a phrase that has many meanings, given the context. When your spouse does something nice for you and you feel gratitude and say I love you, it means a very specific thing. The words themselves don't convey the specificity, but both of you know the exact meaning.
> 
> So who says this doesn't happen in Klingon? Why is Klingon ultra-specific in your mind? I mean, sure, there's the bit in Power Klingon about Klingon being accurate, not approximate, but this doesn't have to apply to intimate moments like this. The stuff in PK is all about how to maintain the respect of the people and animals around you, not the finer points of Klingon subtlety.
> 
> I don't necessarily think that qamuSHa' has a one-to-one relationship with I love you, but if Jadzia does something really nice for Worf, who feels gratitude, why can't he say qamuSHa' and both of them know exactly what he is talking about?
> 
> Klingon actually has a lot of scope to be vague in very useful ways. I once wrote a story in Klingon and when I was done I realized I had not given a single clue to the reader about the sex of any of the characters. Then I thought, does it matter? My story wasn't really focused on character development. The Klingons were just performing their duties.
> 
> Being specific is nice when you need to do it, but if you're translating something that is already vague in the source language, then it's perfectly fine — maybe even more faithful — to keep it vague in the target language.
> 
> -- 
> SuStel
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