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

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Fri Jan 10 13:23:27 PST 2020

On 1/10/2020 3:31 PM, Will Martin wrote:
> 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.

My suggestions simply avoid an area of grammar which we're not sure of. 
They're not better expressions. If the grammar works the way mayqel was 
assuming, which it might, then his sentences are better for being more 
concise. But it's not clear whether the negation can cover the 
cause-noun he provided, so I reworded it to avoid that question. This 
has nothing to do with what is "more Klingon" to say.

> 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 did consider the underlying meaning, which is why he asked the 
question in the first place. He was wondering whether the negation 
covered the entire phrase or just the verb. And I said the answer to 
that is unclear, so here's an alternative to avoid the problem in the 
first place.

> 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.

Sure, but the question was not about whether *-be'* or *-Qo'* was the 
proper rover to use. I silently changed it precisely because that wasn't 
the answer to the question.

> 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.”

It also might works as a translation if the *-be'* can be applied to the 
entire phrase *ghaHmo' yInwIj vIQaw'.*

We've seen *-be'* apply to more than just the immediately preceding 
element. *batlh bIHeghbe'* /You will die without honor /(not /You will 
not-die honorably/) appears in /Power Klingon,/ and there may be a 
couple of other examples of this sort of thing. mayqel's problem is 
exactly the same question. Is this *[ghaHmo' yInwIj vIQaw']be'*? To 
answer the question by avoiding the problem, I reworded it. It has 
nothing to do with what a Klingon would do. A Klingon would know the 
answer to the grammatical question of the scope of *-be'.*

> 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?

No, I don't. Not at all.

And you don't occupy some special position to declare that Klingons 
would find it so.

> 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.

Three things.

One: Saying something is not the case does not oblige one to say what is 
the case. mayqel is expressing that he dodged a bullet. In so doing, he 
doesn't have to tell anyone how great his life has been instead. 
Question of grammar aside, mayqel has expressed something as precisely 
as he meant to. Klingons are allowed to say that some things didn't happen.

Two: My alternatives also simply state things that are not the case, but 
you don't have a problem with them.

Three: Accusing people or their writing of being "vague, wittering, and 
indecisive" is RUDE. Especially by turning it into a catchphrase. It's 
not funny.


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