[tlhIngan Hol] veQpu' or veQmey ?

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Sat May 18 15:33:08 PDT 2019


The thing to keep in mind is that in Klingon, the {wIj/wI’} and {pu’/Du’/mey} determination is like linguistic gender. It’s not a literal comment as to whether a specific entity is a body part or capable of language. It is arbitrary and usually fits the general guideline of body part/language capable/other. That doesn’t mean every noun always lives up to the guideline. 

If you have a noun and you don’t know its typical gender, use the guideline, but if you have a noun with an established gender, like De’wI’mey, which Okrand has given us, you don’t abandon the known gender because of a specific instance. It doesn’t matter if a specific entity is assigned to a noun that doesn’t fit the guideline, that noun keeps the known gender. 

Someone who dearly loves their pair of parrots may use {-pu’}, but everyone, including the speaker knows that it’s grammatically wrong. 

Sent from my iPhone. 
charghwI’

> On May 17, 2019, at 2:18 AM, Rhona Fenwick <qeslagh at hotmail.com> wrote:
> 
> ghItlhpu' mayqel:
> > A Star Trek script writer, comes to you and says: I want you to
> > translate in klingon, the phrase "kahless, my light".
> > Suppose that the "my light" is used metaphorically; would you use
> > {qeylIS, tamghaywIj} or {qeylIS, tamghaywI'} ?
> 
> Others have given good canon-based answers that basically show the most common practice among Klingons is to use the suffixes grammatically appropriate to the literal meaning of the noun - so, tamghaywIj - but that context or individual preference may play a part. Personally, a priori I'd prefer tamghaywIj.
> 
> With that said, context might send me in the other direction if necessary. For instance, in my translation of Shota Rustaveli's The Man in the Panther Skin, for instance, I've run up against this problem hard. In Rustaveli's original poem, formulaic metaphors are extremely common, but often obtuse to the point of incomprehensibility: Georgian sada indoni brol-vardsa / sarven gišrisa sarita literally means "where the Indians surround the crystal and rose with arbour of jet", but it's actually a complex metaphor for the beauty of Avtandil's beloved Tinatin. Because this happens so very often in the text, I decided to break with the more common practice and help the reader out by occasionally making use of prescriptively "incorrect" affixes as a device to signal some of these metaphors overtly. lomo "o (my) lion!" (referring to Avtandil) I rendered in one place as 'o 'IwwI' "o my blood!", and in another place I rendered "narcissuses" (referring to Tinatin's eyes) as SeparDu'Daj "her separ-stones". However, this practice was a contextual decision made for this specific text and for very specific reasons. I wouldn't counsel a learner to do so as a matter of course.
> 
> QeS 'utlh
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