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

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Sat Jan 11 06:55:03 PST 2020

On 1/11/2020 9:11 AM, Alan Anderson wrote:
> On Jan 11, 2020, at 8:28 AM, SuStel<sustel at trimboli.name>  wrote:
>> Unless you've got some kind of direct evidence as to what a Klingon would do, it is not a valid criticism of the things someone wants to say.
> I think you’re referring to his suggestion that context strong enough to override an otherwise obvious meaning of a phrase is strong enough to make the phrase itself unnecessary. I offer this “direct evidence” in support of the proposition:
> DS9 “Way of the Warrior” shows Martok presenting a Daqtagh to Sisko, saying the single word {SoHvaD}. He did not think it necessary to say anything further about how the former owner of the knife had been executed for failing to follow orders. That was obvious, at least to someone familiar with the cultural context of the situation.
> Basically, if a thing need not be said in order for it to be understood, it is appropriate not to say it.

But there's no evidence at all that somebody would have advised Martok 
not to have said a fuller sentence, or that Martok would have censored 
himself if he'd considered it. There is no evidence that Martok's choice 
or lack of words is dictated by the cultural context; he simply picked 
one of the many ways of expressing himself open to him. Cultural context 
makes the meaning obvious to Martok and probably other Klingons, but 
letting context speak for itself is not the same as avoiding saying 

If a list member were trying to create a similar situation in a 
Klingon-language text, and chose to have the Martok-equivalent say 
*puqloDwI' muHlu'pu'. yItlhap!*, there is no evidence that the author of 
the text has made the Klingon say the wrong thing. The cultural context 
is still there, but the Klingon is being a little more — but not 
completely — explicit about the meaning. We would have no basis to 
criticize the author for not having his Klingon say only *SoHvaD.* There 
is no "a Klingon wouldn't say that" here.


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