[tlhIngan Hol] To -choH, to -'eghmoH, or to nothing ?

De'vID de.vid.jonpin at gmail.com
Tue Mar 5 00:21:13 PST 2019

On Mon, 4 Mar 2019 at 19:40, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name> wrote:

> On 3/4/2019 1:07 PM, mayqel qunen'oS wrote:
> Have we ever seen in Ca'NoN imperatives without -choH, and without
> -'eghmoH ? e.g. yItam, yIjot, yIQong, etc ?
> *yIn nI' yISIQ 'ej yIchep **Live long and prosper.* (
> http://klingonska.org/canon/1996-08-rt.txt)
> *Dujeychugh jagh nIv yItuHQo' **There is nothing shameful in falling
> before a superior enemy.* (TKW)
> *QaghmeylIj tIchID, yIyoH **Have the courage to admit your mistakes. *
> (TKW)
> I haven't looked for more.
Okrand also wrote {yIpIv} to mean "Get well!" in a letter to Glen Proechel.

The KLI web site also has {yIDoghQo'!} as an example sentence on its list
of phrases:

> By the way, *yIQong* should not be on that list, as it's not a verb of
> quality.

I think this rule is an instance where Okrand was thinking of something
more subtle than what he actually wrote, but didn't want to flesh out the
details for brevity or whatever reason, and covered his escape with the
usual "Generally...".

If I had not known about the rule, the imperatives {yItuj} and {yItaD}
would still sound weird to me in a way that {yIyoH} or {yItuHQo'} or
{yItamchoH} do not. And the reason for that is that one cannot just "be
hot" or "be frozen" (in the literal sense) as if it were an activity one
can perform. However, {yItamchoH} *is* an activity that one can perform,
namely, to become quiet. The {-choH} here is important, I think, because it
makes the command into one to perform a change of state, and hence an
activity. I think {-Qo'} is the same, in that it turns a "be" verb into an
activity, namely, refusal or resistance against being whatever quality the
verb describes.

Also, {yoH} and {tuH} describe internal states, and {yIyoH} and {yItuH}
sound natural to me, whereas {yIyoH'eghmoH} and {yItuH'eghmoH} sound like
commands to take some sort of external action to cause a change of state in
yourself. {yIyoH} "be brave!" (change your internal state). {yIyoH'eghmoH!
'Iw HIq yItlhutlh!} "make yourself brave (steel yourself)! Drink some blood
wine!" (actually do something to embolden yourself) As for {yIchep}, the
command {yIchep'eghmoH} sounds like something a Ferengi would say: "go and
make yourself prosperous". But {yIchep} does sound slightly wrong to me, in
the way that {yItuj} does, as "being prosperous" may not be something one
can just "be". I'd have phrased this with {-jaj}, but as it's a translation
of a Vulcan proverb, maybe it should sound like a slightly weird thing to
say in Klingon.

To answer the original question, no, I don't think one can choose just
whatever he likes. I think the reasoning behind {-'eghmoH} is that whenever
an imperative prefix is used, a command to *perform an activity* is being
given, and so the verb has to be an activity that the listener can
undertake. Whether {-'eghmoH} is required then is a function of the meaning
of the verb and what you intend to command. It's just that "generally",
with verbs of quality, one cannot simply "be" in that state, but must take
an action to change oneself into that state, which implies (absent {-choH}
or {-Qo'}) adding {-'eghmoH}.

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