[tlhIngan Hol] {'e'} of a sao and quotations

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Wed Aug 18 07:44:49 PDT 2021

In the interest of clarity, without disagreeing:

{‘e’} is special, and it’s easy to be confused about it. If you are confused about it, maybe you are too new to its use for a brief comment to clarify its role.

It is a Pronoun. It is special in that it can only be used as the Object of a Verb, so it can only be used with Verbs that can take an Object.

It links two sentences, in that it is part of one sentence, and it represents the preceding sentence. We’ve learned in canon that the speaker of the preceding sentence doesn’t need to be the same person as the one saying the sentence with {‘e’}, and to some degree, it can refer to a preceding paragraph or topic of conversation.

In addition to all that, it is specifically NOT used to link a verb of speech to a quotation.

The examples of quotations we’ve been given simply have the pair of grammatically independent sentences next to each other with the quotation either preceding or following the sentence with the verb of speech.

There may be other ways to express quotations, but these are the rules we’ve been given and we haven’t seen good examples in canon to expand on our resources for expressing quotation. We’re not sure that Klingon has grammar to express an indirect quotation. We have only been given means of expressing direct quotation.

American Sign Language is similar, in that when story-telling in ASL, the signer positions herself to represent the person who is being quoted and signs as that person, and shifts to other positions to represent other people; the positions becoming recognizable identities.

In other words, when it comes to quotation, a Klingon may be inaccurate (giving an inaccurate direct quotation), but he is never approximate (giving an indirect quotation). We simply have no approved grammar for indirect quotation.

So, you can translate, “Tell the captain that I said, 'The enemy has arrived,’” You can’t translate, “Tell the captain that I said that the enemy had arrived.”

And, to be honest, we have not been given Klingon grammar for nested quotations, which is what you are asking about. We can guess, but until Okrand tells us, it’s never more than a guess.

And given the nature of the effect of language on the mind, likely it would come out as something like, “The enemy has arrived. The captain must know that I told you. I command you.” It’s another example of how often English sentences are best broken down into multiple Klingon sentences held together via shared context.

If you like complex sentences in English, you should get used to this technique when writing or speaking or translating in Klingon. It is an essential technique, and Okrand has specifically recommended it in TKD.

All that is easy to say in Klingon.

{pawta' jagh. qaja’ ‘e’ SovnIS HoD. qara’!}


charghwI’ ‘utlh
(ghaH, ghaH, -Daj)

> On Aug 18, 2021, at 9:02 AM, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name> wrote:
> On 8/18/2021 8:33 AM, mayqel qunen'oS wrote:
>> SuStel:
>>> The real question is whether you can say 'e' yIja' tell that.
>>> It seems that the answer is no. Whatever you want to report about is either a noun or a quotation.
>> I'm afraid I can't understand this; doesn't the {'e'} of a sao serve as a noun?
> 'e' is a pronoun. It stands in for a sentence, not a noun. When I said "either a noun or a quotation," I meant exactly that.
> -- 
> SuStel
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