[tlhIngan Hol] And now..

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Wed May 29 06:28:35 PDT 2019


On 5/29/2019 9:06 AM, mayqel qunen'oS wrote:
> ok, now I understand what "to split infinitives" is in english.
>
> but how could I do that in klingon (even if I wanted to) ?

Klingon doesn't have infinitives, so you can't split one.

A verb is called /finite/ if it has a subject. The subject might be 
elided in some languages, but it's still identifiable.

An infinitive is a verb that has no subject. I don't mean an indefinite 
subject like Klingon *-lu'* gives, but actually no subject. A /mission 
to explore/ has the verb /to explore/ without a subject: no one is the 
subject of the exploring.

In English we usually conjugate infinitives with /to/ in front of them. 
The full infinitive form is not just /explore;/ it's /to explore./

Long ago, English grammarians started analyzing English according to the 
rules of Latin, which was largely believed to be a nearly perfectly 
formed language. For instance, Latin noun cases would be applied to 
English nouns, even though English nouns rarely exhibit case. The rules 
of good grammar, they claimed, must obey the rules of Latin.

Latin verbs have their own infinitive conjugations. You don't add 
anything like a /to/ to the word. The Latin for the present tense /to 
read,/ for instance is /legere//./ Since it's a single word, there's no 
way you could possibly put, say, an adverb /inside/ the verb. It has to 
go before or after. But in English, you CAN put an adverb between /to/ 
and /read: to quickly read./

Nonono! shouted the grammarians. Latin's grammar is perfect, so you must 
be doing it wrong. Don't split infinitives with other words! Make 
English work the same as Latin!

This argument is nonsense. English quite happily splits infinitives, and 
there are times when it is preferable to do so. /To boldly go/ sounds 
much more dramatic than /to go boldly/ or /boldly to go./

Another such Latin-is-perfect rule is the rule that you can't end a 
sentence with a preposition. Of course you can end a sentence with a 
preposition.

But even today you'll still find English teachers and grammarians who 
insist that you mustn't split infinitives or end sentences with 
prepositions, or any number of other rules that were imposed unnaturally 
on the language by overzealous grammarians with platforms.

Back to Klingon. It has no infinitive conjugation. Once in a while we'll 
use a purpose clause in an infinitive way (e.g., *ghojmeH taj*/knife for 
learning,/ where the verb has no subject, explicit or implied), but 
there is no special form of the verb to do this and no unique 
construction that requires a verb be infinitive.

So even if you WERE worried about splitting infinitives in Klingon, it 
has no infinitives for you to split.

-- 
SuStel
http://trimboli.name

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