[tlhIngan Hol] rIntaH and be-verbs

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Thu Jan 23 12:18:37 PST 2020


The one thing I’ve noticed about all of the canon examples cited is that they take the form: [complete Klingon sentence {rIntaH}. None of them have a subject noun following {rIntaH}, similar to the way {tu’lu’} never becomes {tu’} followed by a subject.

Maybe that’s a coincidence and a sentence like *taQ rIntaH DevwI’* is grammatical, but I think we should at least consider that perhaps that should have been *taQ DevwI’ rIntaH*.

It just feels better as “The leader is weird. It is finished,” than “he/she/it/they is/are weird. The leader is finished,” or “The leader finishes that [without using {‘e’}] he is weird.” I just see that as more of a stretch. Maybe that’s how it works, but I’m surprised by that.

Temporarily dropping the willing suspension of disbelief, it looks like {rIntaH} was first invented in ST3 in order to explain why valQIS’s lips were still moving as the actress spoke in English and was overdubbed in Klingon using what should have been fewer syllables, and from that, I interpreted the example to be like the common use of  {tu’lu’} where {lutu’lu’} would be grammatically correct— something fossilized and no longer participating in normal Klingon grammar.

I honestly believed that you just took a Klingon sentence and slapped {rIntaH} at the end as a way of replacing a verb suffix in one sentence with a second sentence adding meaning back to the first one.

I do not claim to know that I’m right. I just wonder which way this works. The very limited canon fails to make it clear.

charghwI’ vaghnerya’ngan

rInpa’ bomnIS be’’a’ pI’.




> On Jan 23, 2020, at 10:34 AM, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name> wrote:
> 
> On 1/23/2020 9:55 AM, Lieven L. Litaer wrote:
>> Am 23.01.2020 um 15:41 schrieb SuStel: 
>>> I should have been more careful with my literal translations of these. 
>>> 
>>> *jIQuch rIntaH 
>>> ... and that happiness is over forever./ 
>>> ... and 
>>> that strangeness is over forever./ 
>> 
>> I never saw {rIntaH} meaning that something is over, it means that an 
>> action is accomplished. 
>> 
>> From ST3 {vIje' rIntaH} means that valkris has bought the thing, the 
>> action of buying is complete, in the sense that this situation will last 
>> forever, not that it's over forever. 
> This is true for action verbs, because the verb brings about a change of state. When you je', you change the owner of the object of the sentence. rIntaH means that the action of buying is over, and the new state of ownership is  permanent.
> 
> This works generally for action verbs.
> 
> maghwI' vIjon rIntaH
> I captured the traitor.
> I set out to capture the traitor and completed that task. What I did was so effective, it can never be undone.
> But verbs of quality (without syntax-changing suffixes) do not describe an action that brings about a change of state. They simply describe a quality. With rIntaH, a quality means you set out to be that quality, you completed being that quality (so now it's over), and what you've done is final.
> 
> Maybe you're right in that rIntaH doesn't imply over forever. jIQuch rIntaH might mean that I set out to be happy, completed being happy, am no longer happy (at least about whatever it was I was happy about at the time), and my achievement of happiness at that time cannot be undone. It doesn't imply that I'm still happy, in fact it says that that particular happiness is over, but it does mean that nothing can be done to blemish the accomplishment of happiness I achieved.
> 
> That sounds good to me. So taQ rIntaH DevwI'  would mean that the leader set out to be weird and accomplished it, completing the weirdness. The weirdness is over now, but that accomplishment of weirdness can never be undone.
> 
> 
> 
>> I'm still not sure this would work with verbs of quality (which was 
>> mayqel's question). 
> I think it works grammatically and semantically. Whether it's something one would commonly say is another matter.
> 
> 
> 
>> If I say {jIQuch} it's "I'm happy". Adding {rIntaH} would imply an 
>> ongoing situiation, not that it has ended.
> Except rIntaH means -ta' with finality. When you have -ta' you have completion of a goal, not something ongoing.
> 
> 
> 
>> Meanwhile, the question is: 
>> Does {jIQuchta'} work, and what does it mean? {-ta'} implies that 
>> something is accomplished, so what do you accomplish, when you {Quch}? 
> It means you set out to be happy and you accomplished it. It means the happiness came to an end, because it's completed.
> 
> If, on the other hand, you want to describe a situation in which you set out to be happy and achieved it and are still happy, you'd say chIch jIQuchchoH 'ej jIQuchtaH.
> 
> We have a bit of relevant canon. From paq'batlh we have bIvalta':
> 
> qeylIS lIjlaHbogh pagh
>     Suto'vo'qorDaq qavan
>     batlh bIyInta' 'ej bIvalta'
> 
> Kahless the unforgettable,
>     I welcome you to Sto-vo-kor,
>     For you lived wise and honorable.
> 
> Here, Kahless has died. He lived honorably (as was his intention, and it is over now) and he was wise (as was his intention, and it is over now). That's not to say he can't be wise in Sto-vo-kor, but Kotar is describing the life of Kahless, which is over, and so therefore is everything he did in life.
> 
> -- 
> SuStel
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