[tlhIngan Hol] The problem with po'

Lieven L. Litaer levinius at gmx.de
Wed Mar 25 08:28:28 PDT 2020

Am 25.03.2020 um 14:24 schrieb Will Martin:
> Primarily, the idea of the glosses in the vocabulary list is to point you toward a meaning to a word that might not have an exact equivalent in English

In addition to that, we have noticed that there is no regular pattern in
the usage of brackets and additional words.

Sometimes, an addition can make the use of a word clear, but without
limiting it to that specific term. For instance, "grammatical term" was
added to "rover" because that's how it was used in the book.
Nevertheless, a {lengwI'} surely also is a "traveler".

> so we call it a “serpent worm” in English,

THAT was a lookup error by some TNG-authors :-) The definition clearly
has the comma, and the comma-less version was retconned in the addendum
of TKD.

> Consider {voD}.  [...]

One other nice example I remember of my first qep'a' was the usage of
{ghaj}, where a native English speaker asked a native German speaker in
a restaurant {nuq Daghaj?}. The German Klingonist was confused, because
he literally understood "What do you possess?", while the English
speaker was thinking of the English way where "have" can be used meaning
"eat": "I'll have a Pizza".

That's why {ghaj} is defined as "have, possess". It's ONE meaning,
defined by two words.

And this is an important point when learning languages, any language.
You cannot always see one word by itself, it's the idea that is
important. (I can report from experience, roughly speaking nine languages)

> That’s the problem with translating dictionaries.

Oh, yes, definitely. While I had the honorable mission of correcting the
German TKD, I stumbled over so many words of which I really had no idea
of how to translate them, just because the English definition was ambiguous.

As a sidenote, two years ago, somebody asked for a Klingon word for "be
stuck". Maltz provided us with five different words, all translated as
"be stuck" plus some explanation. Translating this for the Klingon Wiki,
I noticed that in German, there is no general term for all these five.
Each one has its own word, and although the English form is "be x", the
German version is not always an adjective.

Lieven L. Litaer
aka the "Klingon Teacher from Germany"

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