[tlhIngan Hol] -lu'wI'

Jackson Bradley j.monroe.bradley at gmail.com
Sat May 23 18:18:25 PDT 2020

Hey folks!

Big bummer about the qep'a', but I remain hopeful that the positives of a
virtual conference will make up for the obvious negatives. People who can't
usually join due to financial or time constraints may get the opportunity
to participate in whatever the forthcoming programming is. mapIlHa'be'jaj!

Working on a project with Kyle Dillion, we brought a question to Maltz
regarding the controversial *-lu'wI'. *Basically, we wanted to know if this
was a grammatically sound construction.

This is what Dr. Okrand had to say:


Regarding *-**lu'wI'* —

I checked with Maltz. He said that for poetry (and maybe other literary
forms), this sort of thing may occur from time to time, but it's not
considered "normal" grammar. This is because the meaning of *-**lu'wI'* (from
a Klingon point of view) is odd (but therefore occasionally appropriate for
poetry and such).

Leaving -*lu'* aside for a while…

-*wI'* is defined in TKD as "one who is, one who does, thing which is,
thing which does." In all cases, the subject of the verb (to which *-**wI'* is
attached) is the doer or the "be-er," the one who performs the action (if
it's that kind of verb) or carries or exhibits the characteristic (if it's
that other kind of verb). The noun formed by adding *-**wI'* is equivalent
to the subject of the verb to which *-**wI'* is attached (as far as meaning
goes — not getting into fine points of grammatical description).

*yItwI'* "walker" (the subject of *yIt* is the *yItwI'*)

*qIpwI'* "hitter" (the subject of *qIp* is the *qIpwI'*)

*wochwI'* "tall one" (the subject of *woch* is the *wochwI'*)

When *-**lu'* enters the picture, things change. The subject of a verb with
*-**lu'* is "unknown, indefinite, and/or general." Thus, *qIplu'* is
"someone/something hits (someone or something)" or, conventionally but not
really literally, "(someone/something) is hit."

So *qIplu'wI'* would mean something like "indefinite hitter" or "unknown
hitter" or "essence of hitter" or some such  (if it means anything at
all).  It doesn't refer to the person (or thing) being hit because a *-*
*wI'* noun is the perpetrator or instigator of an action (or carrier of a
trait), not someone (or something) affected by an action.

There may be instances (again, particularly in poetry) where the imagery or
notion of an "unknown/indefinite/vague hitter" makes sense, though I can't
conjure one up right now (and Maltz doesn't want to try).

As for how to say "the hit one, someone who is hit" or "the one who is
loved" --

This reminds me of a (pretty funny) book and movie from years ago called
"The Loved One" (about the funeral industry in LA). Here, the phrase "the
loved one," of course, is a euphemism used by the funeral director for "the
deceased person," but the implication is that "the loved one" was loved by
whomever the funeral director is talking to (or negotiating with) about the
funeral — the deceased person is "the one you love(d)." Points to -*bogh*,
I guess.


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