[tlhIngan Hol] action based language

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Mon Nov 9 13:34:53 PST 2020

I honestly think the hardest thing for new students is that instead of learning a few Klingon words and trying to figure out meaningful things they could say with them, and then build their vocabulary and grammatical complexity to say more and more interesting things, they so often want to start with a specific Terran sentence or poem or song or short story or novel or the Complete Works of Shakespeare and take each sentence as if it were the only way that sentence could possibly be expressed in its original language, and then translate each of those words and rearrange them a little to make it come out Klingon, as if that’s the only Klingon translation that could possibly mean what the original meant.

Most beginning Klingon students don’t fundamentally understand the task of translation.

Explaining that many noun-focused statements can more readily be expressed with verb-focused translations is just one example of the kind of letting go of the ineffective word-for-word encoding process that many students leap at.

It’s an important lesson, but it is one arrow in a quiver.

I think it’s good to point to the simple example that there is no way to ask the question, “Which pie do you want?” as a question in Klingon, though you can express the same meaning with the command, “Choose your pie!” There is no sacred, immutable grammatical expression in the first version of the sentence that must be carried forth to the translation, which is the second version. It’s not important that an English question becomes a Klingon question.

The important thing is that the meaning is understood. Both the English and the Klingon evoke the same response based on the same information. Both statements involve pies. You are going to get one of them, assuming that you answer the question or respond to the command.

Add that the English version is a little more polite, leaving open the possibility that you might not want a pie at all, or maybe you’d like both of them, or maybe you’d like to discuss your feelings about each one as you publicly share your inner thoughts as we all go through the decision together, while the Klingon version is rather more in your face. Here’s your mission. Choose your pie, and don’t waste my time, dammit!

Welcome to Klingon culture, as revealed by the Conversational Klingon audio recording.

Klingon has {-ghach}. You can obviously translate a lot of these noun-focused expressions into noun-focused Klingon. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

I think THAT’S the biggest foundational step for new Klingon speakers. Grab some words. Learn enough basic grammar to say stuff with them. Imagine another scenario or topic of interest and learn some more words. Learn some more elements of grammar. Rinse, repeat.

Start with an idea to translate, instead of starting with specific words arranged in a specific sentence in one language, with the laser-focused intent to turn those same words and grammatical construction into the one and only equivalent Klingon sentence.

If you can get students to handle THAT, then they will speak better Klingon sooner, and will likely go farther with the language.

charghwI’ vaghnerya’ngan

rInpa’ bomnIS be’’a’ pI’.

> On Nov 9, 2020, at 3:28 PM, Lieven L. Litaer <levinius at gmx.de> wrote:
> Am 09.11.2020 um 21:13 schrieb Steven Boozer:
>> Lieven (aka our "Klingon Teacher from Germany"), have you noticed a
>> similar fixation on missing nouns by German-speaking newbies?
> Yes, that's what I wrote in my initial message, where I said that many
> Terran languages have that problem.
> As a side note, I was not focussing on verbs that can be used as nouns
> nouns, such as "drink" or "sleep". The obervation was a lot more that
> people tend to use "real" nouns which describe an action. Here are ome
> examples that we would be able to translate using verbs:
> "What is the definition of xyz?"
> --> "how is xyz defined"
> "What is your preferation?"
> --> What do your prefer?
> "My intention is to..."
> --> "I intend to..."
> "This is my final decision."
> --> I have decided.
> "The Exploration of space..."
> --> "to explore space..."
> "The preparation of the food is complete"
> --> "I have finished cooking"
> And so one. I'm sure there are more cases like this, where we would
> recast this using a verb.
> And then, suddenly, I just remembered a nice canon example:
>  "My death sentence was commuted"
>  {vImuHlu' net wuqHa'.} (ENT)
> THERE! noun --> verb
> (I'll check if I find more canon proof for this.)
> --
> Lieven L. Litaer
> aka the "Klingon Teacher from Germany"
> http://www.tlhInganHol.com
> http://klingon.wiki/En/Noun
> _______________________________________________
> tlhIngan-Hol mailing list
> tlhIngan-Hol at lists.kli.org
> http://lists.kli.org/listinfo.cgi/tlhingan-hol-kli.org

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