[tlhIngan Hol] Additional question about SAOs

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Thu Oct 1 11:52:37 PDT 2020

On 10/1/2020 2:25 PM, Luis Chaparro Caballero wrote:
> Hi,
> I've been thinking about the example SuStel gave to me in order to explain how SAOs should be understood as one singular idea.
>> You should think of sentence-as-object constructions as if they were single ideas. A Klingon who says *paq Daje'pu' 'e' vISov* isn't saying two separate
>> things; it's just one idea. Consider the sentence *romuluSngan HoHpu' tlhIngan 'e' vIleghbe'*/I didn't see the Klingon kill the Romulan./ The idea here
>> isn't that the Klingon killed the Romulan AND that I saw it. We don't know if the Klingon actually killed the Romulan; all we know is that I didn't see
>> any such act. It's one idea.
> If we want it to be two different ideas, that is, an assertion about a fact AND an assertion about my perception, then we need something like a conjunction, right? *... 'ach 'e' vIleghbe'*.

This is a controversial idea. I don't think a conjunction is a magic 
element that transforms an SAO into two ideas. I think it's context that 
will tell you whether you've got one idea or two.

When you state

*S 'e' V*

S isn't automatically an indicative statement on its own. In 
*romuluSngan HoHpu' tlhIngan 'e' vIleghbe'*/I didn't see the Klingon 
kill the Romulan,/ we are not necessarily making the claim that 
*romuluSngan HoHpu' tlhIngan*/the Klingon killed the Romulan/.//Maybe 
it's true, but our full statement isn't saying that. Maybe the Klingon 
didn't kill the Romulan, and that's why we didn't see the Klingon kill 
the Romulan.

So how can you tell whether the first sentence of the SAO is meant to be 
indicative or subjunctive? Context. If the captain tells me that a 
Klingon on the planet surface killed a Romulan while I was down there 
then asks me to describe the battle, I might say *romuluSngan HoHpu' 
tlhIngan 'e' vIleghbe'.* We know the first sentence of the construction 
is true, and it's also true that I didn't see the killing.

Maybe saying *'ach 'e'...* or *'ej 'e'...* or whatever might be valid. 
I'm pretty sure we haven't see any such thing in canon. I wouldn't 
object to it if there were no obvious alternatives. There usually are. 
Let us suppose I witnessed the battle, but the captain hasn't heard what 
happened. I might say *romuluSngan HoHpu' tlhIngan. may' vIleghpu'.*/The 
Klingon killed the Romulan. I saw the battle./ Now we are unambiguously 
saying two separate things, and we are not risking using controversial 

> But if we say in Klingon:
> *Huch nIHpu'. 'e' vIlegh.*
> since punctuation or a pause when we're speaking makes no difference, the meaning of this sentence is always: „I saw that he stole the money“.

And you can avoid the problem by using a noun instead of the 
pronoun.*Huch nIHpu'. wanI' vIleghpu'.*/He stole the money. I saw it 

Klingon is not very careful about designating exactly what is a complete 
sentence and what isn't. Often concepts just get jammed together, and 
it's considered grammatical. Each of the three forms of 
sentence-as-object are examples, and there are other examples in canon 
of words being used in rapid succession to complete an idea. Don't worry 
so much about punctuation, just use it to clearly show which words 
belong to which clauses. If you've got two separate ideas, try not to 
jam both of them into a sentence-as-object construction. Don't just 
translate words, translate concepts.


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