[tlhIngan Hol] action based language

Steven Boozer sboozer at uchicago.edu
Mon Nov 9 07:16:16 PST 2020

I couldn't find any obiter dicta from Okrand about being "verb-centric" (though my search was a quick one).  

I imagine the phrase comes from the early days of the tlhIngan-Hol list in the 1990's when the known vocabulary of Klingon was much more restricted than it is now, requiring us to be more imaginative in our translating.  Recasting a sentence to focus on a verb when a "necessary" noun was lacking was, and still is, good advice.

Nowadays we have much more vocabulary and canonical examples to draw on.  So much so that I am still updating my notes with the seven and a half pages (!) of new words and expressions from qep'a' 2020.  And just last week I stumbled over the words provided or vetted by Okrand from the OZ and Hamletmachine translations.  (Remember the good old days when we were happy with only three or four new words revealed at a qep'a' which we analyzed and discussed to death?)


------------------------------Original Message------------------------------
From: Lieven L. Litaer
Sent: Monday, November 9, 2020 8:47 AM

Am 09.11.2020 um 15:17 schrieb SuStel:
 > I don't tell people that Klingon is verb-centric. I focus more on  > strategies of translating prepositions, adjectives, and genitives into  > constructions that exist in Klingon.

That's an interesting point, and I'm curious to see how others argue about this.

What I have observed is that many newbies come with phrases based on nouns like "My love for you is strong" and then we suggest them to rephrase it like "I love you very much".

And then I recently started to wonder why we do that. Is it really the case that there are more verb-centric expressions or constructions than nouns? Or did we really just make that up many years ago, when we were missing so many words?

(I actually noticed that after a detailed word count showed that we have about twice as many nouns than verbs; although 10% of them are names and transliterations.)

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