[tlhIngan Hol] -lu'wI'

Felix Malmenbeck felixm at kth.se
Tue May 26 12:39:04 PDT 2020

I could perhaps imagine a case where you wish to imply that the subject is inconsequential, or perhaps perceived as inconsequential by themselves or others.

You might imagine a case where a security railing at a train station failed, and somebody was injured by a train that was being driven at high speed.

In such a case, the bulk of the pity goes to the person injured, and the bulk of the blame goes to those in charge of security measures at the station ... but what consideration does that leave for the train driver?

Such an accident is bound to have a strong emotional impact on them, even if it wasn't actually their fault - they just happened to be the person by whom the train was being driven.

Or you might consider the case of a mother, who feels that nobody cares about them since the baby was born; all the focus is on the baby that was born, not on the person by whom it was birthed.

Perhaps you could have a poem where you talk about the glory of an action that is undertaken, only to turn things about in the second half by focusing on the situation of the formerly unmentioned agent of the action.

For example, you could start the poem off talking about why {Heghlu'meH QaQ jajvam}, and then finish off by talking about the {Heghlu'wI'}. This could be done in support of the maxim (by highlighting the indeterminate identity of the {Heghlu'wI'}) or in order to satirize it (by implying that the {Heghlu'wI'} is commonly overlooked).


From: tlhIngan-Hol <tlhingan-hol-bounces at lists.kli.org> on behalf of Will Martin <willmartin2 at mac.com>
Sent: Tuesday, May 26, 2020 20:42
To: tlhingan-hol at kli.org
Subject: Re: [tlhIngan Hol] -lu'wI'

Trying to imagine a setting in which {-lu’wI’} could make sense, even in a poetic fashion, I flashed on “the sound of one hand clapping”. We don’t know that Klingons clap hands. There’s no known vocabulary to describe it.

But what about “The Sound of One Head, Butting”. The head that made that sound might be called {paw’lu’wI’}…

I know it’s a stretch, but hey. What is poetry for, if not to stretch?

charghwI’ vaghnerya’ngan

rInpa’ bomnIS be’’a’ pI’.

On May 23, 2020, at 9:18 PM, Jackson Bradley <j.monroe.bradley at gmail.com<mailto:j.monroe.bradley at gmail.com>> wrote:

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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