[tlhIngan Hol] irrealis {net jal} and the {net jalchugh}

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Wed Feb 26 07:34:59 PST 2020

It sounds like Okrand has done some work to explain how one might express the irrealis in Klingon. I’m ignorant of that explanation. Forgive me, if I’m digging at something that I should just be accepting. I’m honestly trying to understand this mechanism.

If I read {muleghpu' 'avwI' net jalchugh, qab ghu', 'ach…} instead of interpreting it as "If the guard had seen me, the situation would have been bad, but…”, I’d be more likely to interpret it as “If one imagines that the guard had seen me, the situation (that one is imagining that the guard had seen me) is bad, but…”

In other words, one's imagining that the guard had seen me disturbs me. I disapprove of the event of one imagining this. That event of imagining is a bad situation. I don’t see the leap connecting the bad situation and the imagined event. I see the bad situation being the imagining of that event.

In other words, if one, today, imagines that yesterday, the guard had seen me, the situation, today, is bad. Yesterday’s situation? It’s fine. The guard didn’t see me.

I don’t want to just snipe at what might be a valid expression. I just don’t quite understand how the expression works. I also don’t want to just leave the problem open. I want to try to make a clearer expression, from my limited perspective and the grammatical tools my aging mind remembers.

The way we used to do it was: {muleghpu’be’ ‘avwI’, vaj QaQ ghu’.} "The guard has not seen me, thus the situation is good."

We could also use a rhetorical question, as is common in American Sign Language: {qatlh jIQuch? muleghpu’be’ ‘avwI’.} “Why am I happy? The guard didn’t see me."

If we want to talk about bad situations instead of good ones, {muleghpu’be’mo’ ‘avwI’, ghu’ qab vIjunta’.} "I have evaded a bad situation because the guard has not seen me."

Sticking closer to the original suggestion:

{muleghpu’ ‘avwI’ net jalchugh, ghu’ qab jallu’pu’.} "If one imagines that the guard had seen me, one has imagined a bad situation."

Now, the bad situation is pretty obviously the one that has been imagined. I’m not talking about the event of imagining the situation. I’m talking about the situation that one has imagined.

So, enlighten me. What do I have wrong here?

charghwI’ vaghnerya’ngan

rInpa’ bomnIS be’’a’ pI’.

> On Feb 25, 2020, at 9:08 AM, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name> wrote:
>> Assume that there are two klingons speaking, with regard to a recent romulan incursion. So, one of them asks: "how did it go ?" And the second wants to reply by saying "it could have been bad, but luckily..".
>> I'm wondering.. Could we express this by saying something like the following ?
>> {qablaHpu' ghu' net jal..}
>> The literal translation would be "the situation has been able to be bad"; but why couldn't we translate this klingon sentence as in the {net jalchugh} case, thus producing the meaning: "the situation could be bad" ?
>> Could we use the {net jal} on its own, producing  a similar irrealis, (or however the @!#@ it's called), with the {net jalchugh} ?
> I don't think so. net jalchugh sets up the condition for an irrealis. It's a set phrase. net jal only means that someone is literally imagining something. There's no condition, so no irrealis, only someone imagining something.
> To translate something like this, you might want to establish the conditions of the irrealis of being bad. muleghpu' 'avwI' net jalchugh, qab ghu', 'ach... If the guard had seen me, the situation would have been bad, but...
> -- 
> SuStel
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