[tlhIngan Hol] teH vs {-na'}

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Wed Aug 14 06:45:49 PDT 2019

I’m suspecting you are missing something even more fundamental here than language. There’s a cultural association here about “light” and “darkness” that may not be directly translatable using words in Klingon that refer to the presence or absence of light. Klingons may simply use these words for the stuff our eyes use to form images. It may have nothing to do with goodness and evil, which is clearly your intent. This association between light and goodness and dark and evil may very well not be universal.

It is symbolic and abstract, and symbols are cultural, not linguistic. A Swastika is probably meaningless to a Klingon. A cross is probably meaningless to a Klingon. The anarchy symbol is probably meaningless to a Klingon. The Triforce symbol is probably meaningless to most humans here in the real world AND to Klingons. Your use of light and darkness may very well be of a similar nature.

For that matter, good and evil are abstracts. Different cultures would construct different lists of what is good and what is evil, which is at the root of your original intent. The Star Trek Universe is rich in this specific contrast between cultures.

What you are really saying is, “What *YOU* (and your culture) perceive as the most extreme evil is what I (and my culture) believe to be the most extreme good, and my culture is right and yours is wrong.”

That’s a pretty complex concept. I’m not sure that any of us have enough skill with the Klingon language and thorough familiarity with Klingon culture to confidently translate your meaning. To do so would require extreme presumptions about specific abstract meaning within the combination of Klingon language and culture. There’s the additional cultural complexity of your failure to identify the culture you are representing, and its absence from the Star Trek Universe that Klingon language and culture is based upon.

A Klingon would not understand the term “The Dark Side”, since it has a very specific meaning within the culture of a fictional Universe that does not exist in the fictional Star Trek Universe.

I honestly believe that every Klingon Bible Translation Project has similar problems because the Christian mythos is absent from the Klingon culture and the Star Trek Universe.

You could have more success if you were to similarly represent the cultural value differences between Klingons and Ferengi (Honor vs. Greed/Financial Success), or Klingons and Romulans (Honor vs. Dominance Through Deception), or Klingons vs. Humans (Resolution Via Violent Dominance, vs. Peaceful Diplomatic Negotiation), or Klingons vs. Cardasians (primarily different in that Cardasians are more blatantly racist, with less focus on honor).

I’m guessing that Romulans would be the closest cultural equivalent to the Star Wars Dark Side, though they lack the psychopathic dyad of Emperor and Dark Lord as political leaders, and they lack all the metaphysical/magical powers associated with the Dark Side, so I suspect it would lack much of the passion you want to translate.

It’s like trying to explain Quantum Physics in terms of Relativity. The two ideas are fundamentally disassociated. Einstein originally argued against Quantum Physics because it didn’t fit the Relativistic model, but later decided that both Relativity and Quantum Physics had been proven as accurate, though no one has succeeded in developing an acceptable Grand Unification Theory that offers one explanation for how both of these fundamental systems of the laws of physics could coexist.

Except for me, of course, but I have no academic credentials, so my idea is obviously without merit (even though it’s a really beautiful model I enjoy pondering when the real world doesn’t distract me too much).

For the most part, I’ve learned to keep my interesting ideas to myself (most of the time) and focus conversations on contexts that are appropriate for the subculture participating in the conversation with me.

Mixed success on that...

charghwI’ vaghnerya’ngan

rInpa’ bomnIS be’’a’ pI’.

> On Aug 14, 2019, at 6:26 AM, mayqel qunen'oS <mihkoun at gmail.com> wrote:
> Recently, charghwI' wrote and I replied:
> charghwI':
>> don’t expect everyone who reads what
>> you’ve written or hears what you’ve said
>> to be keenly aware of whatever fine
>> shade of meaning that you intended to
>> convey by choosing one or the other.
> jIH:
>> This is a wonderful comment indeed.
>> I've noticed, that as the years go by, and
>> the more I use klingon, I tend to *feel* certain
>> words in a certain way, without though this "perception"
>> of mine actually being based on solid Ca'Non.
> As it seems, I just noticed one such case..
> Yesterday, I wondered how to express "darkness is the real light". So
> instinctively I wrote:
> {tamghayna' 'oH Hurghchu'ghach'e'}
> I used {-na'} because in my mind, I had attributed to it the meaning
> "to be real, true" as opposed to "counterfeit". In other words,
> somewhere along the way, I started perceiving the {-na'} to be
> conveying a meaning opposite to the verb {ngeb}.
> Luckily though, yesterday, I had the idea of checking with the tkd.
> So, lets remember, the way {-na'} is defined:
> tkd:
>> {-na'} <definite>
>> This is the counterpart of {-Hey.} It indicates that there is no
>> doubt in the speaker's mind as to the accuracy of his or her
>> choice of words. Once the Klingon officer referred to above is
>> sure that the object the scanner has found is a vessel, he might
>> report the presence of {Dujna'} <a definite vessel, undoubtedly a
>> vessel.>
> So, after reading the relevant tkd part, I understood that by saying
> {tamghayna' 'oH Hurghchu'ghach'e'}, I'm not actually saying "perfect
> darkness is the true light" (true as opposed to fake/counterfeit).
> By saying {tamghayna' 'oH Hurghchu'ghach'e'}, i'm actually saying
> "perfect darkness is the definite light" as in "perfect darkness is
> surely the light".
> Perhaps there doesn't seem to be any significant difference between
> these two translations..
> Or is there ?
> Lets read:
> "perfect darkness is the true light"
> "perfect darkness is the definite light"
> But if I say "perfect darkness is the definite true light", then
> perhaps a difference starts to show.
> Saying "perfect darkness is the definite true light", means that
> perhaps there are many kinds of light which can be considered "true",
> but only one is actually the true one, while the rest only appear as
> being true.
> So, I think, that by saying {tamghayna'} i'm not expressing the
> concept of "true light" (as opposed to counterfeit). I'm rather
> expressing that "it is definitely a light", but a light which may be
> of the counterfeit variety.
> So, to say that "perfect darkness is the true light" (as opposed to
> the counterfeit kinds of light), perhaps I should write:
> {tamghay teH 'oH Hurghchu'ghach'e'}
> Anyways, in no way am I sure that my analysis is correct, so any
> thoughts and comments are mostly welcomed.
> ~ hjkhkjkhhjk
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