[tlhIngan Hol] Suffix-number questions in the KLCP test

De'vID de.vid.jonpin at gmail.com
Tue Nov 26 01:43:43 PST 2019

On Mon, 25 Nov 2019 at 20:54, Will Martin <willmartin2 at mac.com> wrote:

> While your complaint has the air of reason about it, there are a couple of
> reasons one might resist following the advice and changing the test:
> 1. If you are so good at knowing what suffix follows what, then it
> shouldn’t be so difficult for you to map out which numbered suffix it is.
> You know most of the suffixes, and you know how many Types there are (5 for
> nouns, 9 for verbs, plus rovers). Pull out a scrap of paper and doodle them
> out. It’s not that hard.

I disagree with this. I have met students who can almost always put
*two* suffixes
in the right order, but struggle when there are three, *even if* they can
put any *two* of them pairwise in the right order. (One might *think* that
being able to do the one logically enables one to do the other, but that's
not how brains actually work.)

There are different degrees of ability to work with suffixes, and the first
level test shouldn't depend on the ability to memorise the order of five
(or nine) types at once. The tests are supposed to have levels, which is
why you only need simple vocabulary for the first test, and harder, more
complex, or more obscure vocabulary only appear in later tests. I think it
would be fine to be able to put two or three suffixes in order at the first
level, and save being able to put them all in order for a later level.

> 2. Tests are arbitrary. ALL tests are arbitrary. It’s okay for tests to be
> arbitrary. If you eliminate one arbitrary part of a test, you’ll just have
> to replace it with some other arbitrary thing that someone ELSE will object
> to.

No you don't. You could just change the question to, say, given this noun
and these two or three suffixes, either write out the noun with the
suffixes in the correct order or number the suffixes. The question would
test exactly the same ability as it was supposed to do before.

And this isn't the first time I've heard complaints about having to put
numbers on suffixes on the test. I believe I've heard this complaint at
every Saarbrücken qepHom I've attended.

> 3. Respect that the people who created these tests did so voluntarily,
> putting in a lot of time and thought in to what they sincerely thought
> would help people learn the language well. Complaints like this don’t make
> them feel good about that positive spirit they put into their sincere
> effort to give our nerdy little society another helpful resource. Whine too
> much about this sort of thing and we won’t have any tests, or Wikis or Web
> sites or mailing lists, for that matter. Appreciate what people do for you
> and for all of us. So, what resource have YOU created from hours of your
> own work that you voluntarily offered to the rest of us? Share with us how
> much you appreciate it when someone complains about how poorly executed
> your effort was.

I didn't see anything disrespectful in the original message at all. It was
a constructive suggestion, and I think the suggested change is actually an

If *I* had been the creator of the test, I'd be grateful if someone pointed
out to me that a portion of it doesn't test what it's intended to test and
offered a suggestion to improve it.

> 4. If you are so naturally talented that you can intuitively absorb the
> language and know all the suffixes in the right order without learning the
> numbers of the suffix, then why are you bothering to take the test? A
> primary reason for creating the test is to give people guidance about what
> to work on in order to learn the language. If you just know the language
> like the back of your hand, then you don’t need no stinkin’ test.

People want to take tests and earn degrees or pins or whatever for many
reasons. Maybe they're part of a club that rewards points for accomplishing
goals. (In fact, some Klingon fan clubs do this.) Maybe they're part of a
group of friends learning the language together and they want to all take
the test together. *It doesn't matter* why they want to take and pass the

If anything, it's your attitude that beginners shouldn't complain about
established norms or whatever that's what's going to put people off from
trying to learn Klingon.

> I went years without taking the test, and I was one of the founding
> members of the KLI. I appreciated the effort that went into it, but I
> didn’t have anything to prove. Eventually, peer pressure kicked in. “Hey.
> Don’t you want a complete set of these cool little pins?” That sort of
> thing. [sigh] I did it, okay? I did it with some eye rolling because much
> of the test wasn’t stuff that was important to me, but I didn’t care
> because I figured it would be important to somebody else. I didn’t ask for
> a special pass on any part of the test. I didn’t ask to be an exception
> because I was so special.
> And you shouldn’t, either.
> Just do the extra work and pass the test, or don’t do the work and skip
> the test. You’ll still be respected here as a full member even if you don’t
> get to wear the cool little pins.

What even is the point of this paragraph? Because *you* don't care about
having a pin or passing a test, therefore *other people* shouldn't either?
You're not special and don't care about being special (and yet you felt a
need to mention you're a founding member of the KLI), but other people are
not you.

Also, I'm sure that there *are* people who *would* be willing to volunteer
to improve the tests, if only they even knew how to go about doing that.
(And no, making their own tests to share with people in some other way is
not the same, because like it or not, the fact that a particular test is
affiliated with the KLI gives it exposure in a way that other such tests do
not have.)

(This thread just reminded me: I passed the first level but haven't gotten
my pin yet. *Obviously* I care so much about it... that I forgot about it

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