[tlhIngan Hol] expressing "twice as much" the {-qu'} doubled

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Fri Apr 2 14:29:57 PST 2021

On 4/2/2021 9:48 AM, mayqel qunen'oS wrote:
> {tlhIngan Hol vIparHa', 'a black speech vIparHa'qu'}.
> "I love black speech more than klingon".

Why not translate /Black Speech/ as *Hol qIj?*

> "very/more" 'oSbe'bej {-qu'}; laDwI'vaD emphasis yajmoH mojaqvam 'e' 
> vISov. 'a "emphasis" majatlhtaHvIS, ghurbogh vay' wIDel, qar'a'?

*-qu'* is what is known as an intensifier 
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intensifier>. /Very/ is just one example 
of an intensifier; /really/ is another. See the page I linked for a 
whole bunch of examples. /That tea is very hot; That tea is ridiculously 
hot; That tea is terribly hot; That tea is totally hot; That tea is 
excessively hot; That tea is insanely hot /— all of these mean//*tujqu' 

*-qu'* doesn't mean /more;/ that meaning just comes implicitly from the 
comparison you made between Klingon and the Black Speech. I like 
Klingon, but I really like the Black Speech, so obviously I like the 
Black Speech more. The /more/ comes from the combination of /but/ and 
/really,/ but it's not actually stated.

> jIqon: {pIj bISuvvIpchoHba'}; nuq jatlh mu'tlheghvam?

/You obviously often become afraid to fight./

> 1. Often you are obviously, afraid to fight.
> 2. Obviously, often you are afraid, to fight.

What happened to the /begin/ part?

> 3. You obviously, often begin, to be afraid to fight.
> 4. Obviously you begin, that you are often afraid to fight.
> 5. Obviously you begin to be afraid to often fight.

I feel fairly confident that Klingons would consider this to be 
splitting hairs. When you've got a real context, the exact meaning of 
the sentence will be clear. It doesn't necessarily mean exactly one or 
exactly all of these things; it carries all of these meanings, but the 
precise interpretation is left to the context to unlock.

I think this is typical of Klingon grammar. It only gives you what you 
need to understand the sentence. It's not as precise as many other 
languages. I consider this one of its strengths: if you're paying 
attention, you can get across your exact idea while using only very 
broad strokes.

Consider the following:

*DujDaj ra' HoD.*

A simple, easy to understand sentence, right? Are you sure?

/A captain commands his (own) ship.
A captain commands her (own) ship.
The captain commands his (own) ship.
The captain commands her (own) ship.
//A captain commands his (someone else's) ship.
A captain commands her (someone else's) ship.
The captain commands his (someone else's) ship.
The captain commands her (someone else's) ship.
A captain commands his (own) ships.
A captain commands her (own) ships.
The captain commands his (own) ships.
The captain commands her (own) ships.
//A captain commands his (someone else's) ships.
A captain commands her (someone else's) ships.
The captain commands his (someone else's) ships.
The captain commands her (someone else's) ships.
Captains command his (someone else's) ships.
Captains command her (someone else's) ships./
//The captains command his (someone else's) ships.
The captains command her (someone else's) ships.//

That's a lot of things this sentence could mean! English is more 
exacting than Klingon in this way, but give the Klingon sentence a 
context, and there's no question what it means.

Vixis has just been promoted to captain and has taken command of a ship. 
One of her new subordinates starts questioning her orders. She shouts at 
the subordinate, *HItlhochQo'! HoD jIH! DujDaj ra' HoD. qara'DI', 
bIlobbej. cholobbe'chugh, HIchDalvo' qavo'.* Now there is no question at 
all exactly what the sentence means.

> {cha'logh bIHoSghajqu'choH}
> mu'tlheghvam mughlu'taHvIS, wej DuH tu'lu':
> 1. Twice you become, very powerful.
> 2. You become very, powerful twice.
> 3. You become powerful, twice the {-qu'}.

/You become very powerful, twice./ Any further attempt to plug different 
bits of the sentence together for specialized meanings falls under what 
I called splitting hairs. If you can provide a context that would make 
some other combination make sense, I'd be willing to consider it.

For what it's worth, those times we've seen things like *batlh 
bIHeghbe'*/You will die without honor,/ I don't think this is the rover 
being applied to the adverbial so much as the rover being applied to the 
entire sentence. It's not *batlh[-be'] bIHegh<-;//*it's *[batlh 
bIHegh]-be'.* It's simpler than you're trying for.


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