[tlhIngan Hol] asking what am I ?

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Wed Jan 8 06:55:19 PST 2020

I think your question is valid, in that it is not fully thought out and I think you want to know what ideas would bring you to think it through more thoroughly.

What is {‘Iv jIH?} asking? 

It is really saying, “Given the set of beings capable of using language, identify which one I am.” It is not asking what TYPE of entity you are. It’s asking which unique entity you are. A name is an identifier. A role (my wife’s husband, my boss’s employee) is an identifier. A characteristic, like “stupid” is not an identifier.

Remember that “to be” is expressed two DIFFERENT ways in Klingon. {jIH} has to do with identity. tlhIngan jIH. charghwI’ jIH.

We don’t say, *QIp jIH* because the verb {QIp} already includes the verb “to be”. We just use the usual prefix {jI-} with descriptive verbs of being, like {QIp}.

So, to answer {‘Iv jIH?} or {jIH ‘Iv?} we use the pronoun as the identity-related verb and the noun (a role or a name) to replace the question word. {tlhIngan jIH} or {charghwI’ jIH}.

If the answer would be {jIQIp} or {jIQIpbe’}, then the question has to be {jIQIp’a’?}

That’s just how the grammar works.

In English, we have one “to be” verb for identity or to link a subject to an adjective. In Klingon, the adjective IS THE VERB. You don’t use both forms of the English “to be” in a single Klingon sentence, and you don’t confuse which kind of “to be” question you are asking in Klingon.

Does this help?

charghwI’ vaghnerya’ngan

rInpa’ bomnIS be’’a’ pI’.

> On Jan 8, 2020, at 9:22 AM, mayqel qunen'oS <mihkoun at gmail.com> wrote:
> Suppose someone wants to say:
> "what am I ? stupid ?"
> And suppose that the cookie monster, forbids him to say: {jIQIp'a' ?}, and be done with it, so he *has* to find a way to translate the "what am I ?".
> How should he say it ? Should he say: {nuq jIH} ? Or should he say {'Iv jIH} ?
> I'm troubled by this, because the way I *feel* the klingon {QIpwI'}, is it being more of an {'Iv} rather than a {nuq}.
> But reading {'Iv jIH}, I would expect to read something like {(name of a person) jIH}, rather that {QIpwI' jIH}.
> I don't know.. Perhaps I'm (overly) influenced by greek/english on this..
> ~ mayqel qunen'oS
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