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

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Sat Jan 11 20:18:09 PST 2020

Replies in line below.

charghwI’ vaghnerya’ngan

rInpa’ bomnIS be’’a’ pI’.

> On Jan 10, 2020, at 4:23 PM, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name> wrote:
> ...
>> 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'.
That was pretty much what I intended to convey with “I destroyed my life because of her — not.”

We had this grammatical argument years ago, and I’ve already conceded that this grammar is possibly correct. Meanwhile, you can be grammatically correct and fail to convey intended meaning.

>> 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.
I see it as very different from the canon example that first suggested that this grammar works. A Klingon mother manipulates her child into eating everything served him by suggesting that if he doesn’t, then {batlh bIHeghbe’.}

A Klingon would not misinterpret this as “You will honorably not-die,” because, whether you like it or not, Klingon culture heavily contrasts American and Western European culture in terms of in the attitude concerning death. Klingons know that we will all die and they are quite open about it. There is no option to honorably not die. You can live honorably, but that’s not the same thing as honorably not dying, because YOU WILL DIE. There is no option to not die. All lives end.

Humans speak most often in euphemisms to avoid the topic entirely. “My uncle passed away. He is no longer with us.”

Ask a human how they wish to die, and the response is typically quite different from a Klingon. A Klingon would quite comfortably suggest {batlh jIHegh vIneH.} A human would more typically evade or redirect the conversation.

So, when a mother suggests, {batlh bIHeghbe’}, it’s obvious her message is, “The path between you and an honorable death is THROUGH MY COOKING. If you don’t eat what I feed you, you will die ignominiously. Your relatives will spit at the mention of your name. You will be shunned by your superiors. NOW EAT!”

If you tell me {ghaHmo’ yInwIj vIQaw’be’}, my natural response is a mixture of {nuqjatlh?} and {nuqneH?}

There’s no time stamp, so I don’t even know whether you are talking about the past or the future. I consider the past and reject it. You are here. You are alive. You’ve obviously not destroyed your life. Why bother me with something so obvious? What is it supposed to mean to me?

I consider the present. This isn’t the middle east. She’s not handing you an explosive vest. You aren’t dressed as a samurai. She’s not handing you a short sword. There is no evidence that suggests that she is the cause of you destroying your life, so again, you seem to be telling me something obvious.

So, perhaps it is the future. She will not be the cause of you destroying your life. Again, I wonder what your motive is. How is this supposed to involve me?

If you were telling me that she is the cause of you not destroying your life, you would, perhaps, be explaining to me that you have great trust in her. That might suggest that if I have a mission that would involve three people, perhaps I should consider her to join you and me for dangerous work, because she can be trusted.

But, you’ve told me that’s not what is intended to be conveyed, so again, {nuqjatlh?} and {nuqneH?}
>> 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.
If he’s saying that he dodged a bullet, then perhaps his focus on being concise has trumped his interest in being understood.
> Two: My alternatives also simply state things that are not the case, but you don't have a problem with them.
I don’t have a problem with them because they explain the nature of the negation. It involves refusal. That’s why the difference between {-be’} and {-Qo’} is so important here. Your translations were clear. Your motive was clear. The relevance for me was clear. None of that was true of the original. You told me he dodged a bullet. He just told me that a bullet didn’t hit him. Given that he does not appear to have a bullet wound, your statement tells me something I didn’t know, but his version doesn’t.
> 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.
Klingons are rude. And your point is...?
> -- 
> SuStel
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