[tlhIngan Hol] can we say {vay' QaQ} ?

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Mon Apr 6 06:17:53 PDT 2020

In English, word order is highly variable, yet certain phrases become fossilized (like the Klingon {tu’lu’}) so that the whole phrase becomes something like a word. You COULD change the word order to express the same meaning, but people are so accustomed to hearing it one way, it feels weird to hear it any other way.

“To boldly go where no man has gone before” and “To go boldly where no man has gone before” have equal meaning, but one of them sounds weird. See?

Klingon has stricter rules about word order. When you translate Klingon, think more about the meaning than the “literal” translation. I’ll catch grief for pointing this out, but Klingon is a language, not a code. A Klingon sentence doesn’t represent an English sentence. It’s a Klingon sentence. If you want to make an English sentence out of it, you can’t just run it through a process to figure out what English sentence it represents.

Okrand’s translations don’t match what one might always expect. That’s not an accident.

> On Apr 6, 2020, at 9:04 AM, mayqel qunen'oS <mihkoun at gmail.com> wrote:
> In English we can say: "something good has happened", and in case
> someone wonders we can say *exactly* the same in Greek too.
> And now suppose we want to say this in Klingon..
> Option A: {qaSpu' QaQbogh vay'}.
> Option B: (qaSpu' vay' QaQ).
> As far as option A goes, all's good. But there's something weird with
> option B; if I read {vay' QaQ} without translating it in english I
> "feel" it ok. But if I translate it as "good something", it "feels"
> weird.
> So, I'd like to ask:
> Meaning-wise, is the {qaSpu' vay' QaQ} a "normal" construction, or is
> this klingon phrase as weird as saying "(a) good something has
> happened" ?
> ~ mayqel qunen'oS
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