[tlhIngan Hol] Transitivity of qID

De'vID de.vid.jonpin at gmail.com
Wed May 8 01:30:35 PDT 2019

On Wed, 8 May 2019 at 09:13, Lieven L. Litaer <levinius at gmx.de> wrote:

> My opinion is the opposite, that it does *not* have an object. First,
> the transitive version would have brackets in its definition, as in
> "tell (a joke)".

This is contradicted by the examples used during the discussion at
qepHom'a' 2011. One was {Monopoly vIQuj}, where {Quj} is defined as "play a
game". Another was {naQjej yIghuS}, where {ghuS} is defined as "lower
(spear) to horizontal to attack". In this case, the object is indeed in
brackets in the definition, but the verb {ghuS} was acknowledged as
matching the pattern "[verb] a [noun]", *despite* having brackets and no
article. When Okrand described the pattern (verbally) as "verb a noun", I
don't think he's literally saying the definition has to be a verb, followed
by the article, followed by a noun. He was giving the general idea of a

Another similar example, {tlhevjaQ wob}, is in KGT (where {wob} is defined
as "hurl a spear by means of a {chetvI'}"). OTOH {baH} is "fire (torpedo,
rocket, missile)" and can take {cha} as its object, so whether or not there
are brackets when a verb can take an object isn't consistent, AFAICT.

OTOH, we subsequently learned that the object of {DIj} "use a pigment
stick, paint with a pigment stick" is *not* the pigment stick, but the
thing which is touched by the pigment stick! This is why Okrand always says
"generally", "usually", "normally", or some such, whenever he gives a
guideline: so he can overrule it later. Prior to the clarification about
{DIj}, I would've thought the object of {DIj} was the pigment stick, based
on what he said previously about "verb a noun" verbs.

My other point is - why was the verb qID not used in
> Power Klingon? There's an entire chapter about jokes, and the phrase
> only says {meb, lut tlhaQ DaSov'a'?} This would have been a perfect
> place to use {qID}.

The reason may be as simple as that Power Klingon came out in 1993, and
Okrand didn't make up {qID} (uh, I mean, Maltz didn't tell him about it)
until shortly before the publication of KGT in 1997. (But also, even if
{qID} had existed as both a noun and a verb back then, the script to Power
Klingon was written in English and given to Okrand to translate into
Klingon. The most obvious translation of "Guest, do you know any funny
stories?" still doesn't involve either the noun or the verb {qID}. And he
might've also not wanted to say such an obvious pun out loud.)

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