[tlhIngan Hol] nuq'e' / 'Iv'e'

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Fri Nov 20 13:55:48 PST 2020

I’ve always been curious as to why the sentence wasn’t {nuqDaq puchpa’ ‘oHtaH?}

The answer would be to point down the hall and say {nIHDaq puchpa’ ‘oHtaH} (sung to the tune of “Theeeere’s a Bathroom, On The Right”, a.k.a. “There’s a Bad Moon On The Rise”).

It seems weird to answer {nIHDaq ‘oH puchpa’’e’.} It’s just different from all the other “to be” sentence structures. It would be like saying {maH tlhIngan’e’} instead of {tlhIngan maH.}

{nuqDaq} is not the thing that is synonymous with bathroom. It’s the place the bathroom is being. We usually handle that with {X-Daq ‘oHtaH.} We usually use {-‘e’} when we have a pronoun between two nouns, neither of which is a locative.

charghwI’ vaghnerya’ngan

rInpa’ bomnIS be’’a’ pI’.

> On Nov 20, 2020, at 11:48 AM, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name> wrote:
> ...Consider: you're in an unfamiliar place and you need to pee. You approach someone who looks like they belong there and ask them, nuqDaq 'oH puchpa''e'?
> Clearly, puchpa' is not "old information" in the sense that it is part of the previous context. puchpa''e' itself establishes the old information, and the comment nuqDaq 'oH states the new content. The "old" information comes about by the speaker essentially saying "Let's talk about the bathroom" before asking "Where is it?" (Well, "before" in this case actually means "after" in Klingon grammar. It's more like Where is it? The bathroom, I mean.)
> So I think maybe you're overanalyzing it. I feel pretty sure that Okrand wasn't thinking very hard about the order of pronoun-based sentences, especially in the early days. I suspect that DevwI' ghaH 'Iv'e' and 'Iv ghaH DevwI''e' are pretty much equivalent.
> Regarding your example of cats, I don't see why limiting the interpretation of the latter sentence to "the animals" is a problem. I think you're mentally adding or removing English articles to Klingon words where they don't exist. Ha'DIbaHdoesn't mean just the animal or an animal or animals in general; it means all of those at once. Ha'DIbaH bIH vIghro''e' As for cats (in general), they are animals (a type); as for the cats (that we're talking about), they are animals (a type); as for cats (in general), they are the animals (that we're talking about); as for the cats (that we're talking about); they are the animals (that we're talking about). vIghro' bIH Ha'DIbaH'e' As for the animals (the ones we're talking about), they are cats (in general); as for the animals (the ones we're talking about), they are the cats (the ones we're talking about). You've got fewer interpretations the latter way (not including science fiction stories about all animals being cats in disguise or some such), but those interpretations are still valid, and nothing you can do outside of providing context can distinguish which interpretation you intend.
> I mean, in English, if I say I want water, do I mean water in general, or a water (as in a cup or bottle of water) or some water(an unspecified quantity of water)? All of them at once, really; the distinction isn't important. Sometimes context will give you a reason to choose one of those specifically. It's the same with your Klingon vIghro' and Ha'DIbaH, only in Klingon you don't have the choice of being more specific, you can only supply context.
> -- 
> SuStel
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