[tlhIngan Hol] meaning of an {x-mo' verb-be'} sentence

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Fri Jan 10 12:31:17 PST 2020

I never said he should not translate his musings into Klingon. I merely explained that a Klingon probably would have either expressed it more clearly (as with your two excellent suggested alternatives), or, if the context was so obvious that misspeaking this badly would still convey clear meaning, that a Klingon like myself would not bother speaking at all since everybody already knows what he intended to say.

Let's get back to the original example, which you appear to wish to defend as acceptable, even if everybody, and I do mean EVERYBODY, agrees that your suggested alternatives are better.

His English sentence was: "I won't destroy my life because of her.” He admitted it was ambiguous and he made it clear that he did NOT mean that she was the cause of him not destroying his life, then he attempted a word-by-word-without-reference-to-the-underlying-meaning translation of the original, ambiguous English sentence.

He picked the wrong negative suffix, since {-be’} utterly fails to convey the willful refusal to perform the action of the verb. It implies a passive lack of action. Both your translations used {-Qo’}, instead, and you were right to do so.

The Klingon version he proposed was {ghaHmo', yInwIj vIQaw'be’}.

The only way this works as a translation other than what he has explained he does NOT want to express, is to interpret it as “I destroyed my life because of her — not.”

I know that we’ve established in years past on this list that though the negative rover, {-be’} most commonly applies primarily to the syllable that immediately precedes it, it can more rarely have a grammatical scope beyond the verb itself to include everything preceding it in the sentence. I won’t fall into the trap of overlooking that or forgetting that. It’s a past argument that you won, and I’m not interested in repeating the argument, fantasizing some other outcome.

All you get out this uncommon parsing is, “It is not the case that I destroyed my life because of her.” 

That’s kind of vague, don’t you think? If it’s not the case that he destroyed his life because of her, then what exactly is the case? What is he saying?

“I destroyed my life because of her,” is a false statement. So, what is the true statement?

I think this fully qualifies as vague, wittering, and indecisive, hence my aversion to the translation.

I like it, not.

charghwI’ vaghnerya’ngan

rInpa’ bomnIS be’’a’ pI’.

> On Jan 10, 2020, at 1:59 PM, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name> wrote:
> On 1/10/2020 10:07 AM, Will Martin wrote:
>> I never said he couldn’t say it. I just gave my opinion, as a cultural Klingon, about whether or not he should.
> So you were saying that mayqel, who has on many occasions insisted that he is not pretending to be a Klingon, should not translate his musings on his ex into Klingon?
> I'm sure I missed the part in Power Klingon where we're told that Klingons do not think about past relationships.
> -- 
> SuStel
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