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

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Thu Aug 19 10:45:37 PDT 2021

My wild guess at why the exceptional {‘e’ neHbe’ vavoy} exists is that the expression is already exceptional, since she’s already using {‘e’} to represent something someone ELSE said.

It’s probably similar to my own use of uppercase for the word “else” in the previous sentence. She doesn’t want it to be unclear what her dear father did not want, without having to repeat it herself, especially since, if I remember correctly, the {‘e’} is not representing a single sentence, but more like a paragraph. Context makes it clear when someone utters a sentence that they immediately follow with {neHbe’ vav’oy}, all spoken by the same person, but if you just say {neHbe’ vav’oy} as your only utterance, intending to refer back to what the previous speaker said, some may follow you, while others are likely to ask {nuq neHbe’ vavlI’’?}

Meanwhile, my understanding was that {ja’} could take nouns (in particular people or languages} as objects, but I didn’t remember canon showing it taking quotations as objects. I know it can be used as the speech verb in the sentence pair with a quotation as one sentence and the speech-verb-sentence as the other member of the pair, but grammatically, they are independent. One is not the object of the other. That’s why the order of the two sentences is completely unimportant.

DuneH HoD. qaja’ta’.

qaja’ta’. DuneH HoD.

It means, “I told you, ’The captain wants you,’” regardless of what order the sentences are presented. The quotation isn’t the object of {ja’}.

I won’t be remarkably surprised if you present canon contrary to this because I know how careful you are and I respect your encyclopedic memory of canon. I’ll just be disappointed in Okrand for yet more problematic canon.


charghwI’ ‘utlh
(ghaH, ghaH, -Daj)

> On Aug 19, 2021, at 9:00 AM, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name> wrote:
> On 8/19/2021 7:56 AM, mayqel qunen'oS wrote:
>> I'm sorry, SuStel, I've to ask again on this matter, and don't misunderstand me; I'm not trying to find a way to write nested quotations. In fact, even if I could use them in klingon I wouldn't, since the whole "he said that she said that they said.." gives me a feeling of old grannies gossiping in the village.
>> But it seems that I've stumbled here on something I ignored, so I'd like to clarify this further.
>> 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.
>> jIH:
>> > I'm afraid I can't understand this; doesn't the {'e'} of a sao serve as a noun?
>> SuStel:
>> > '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.
>> What I was about to ask next, was this:
>> Ok, but we *can* write {ghaH vIja'pu'} for "I've told him". Isn't {ghaH} a pronoun too? So why can't we say too {'e' yIja'}?
>> The only explanation which came to mind, was that pronouns such as {jIH}, {SoH}, {ghaH}, etc can function as nouns too, something which the {'e'} of a sao can't do. The {jIH}, {SoH}, {ghaH}, etc are pronouns and can be nouns too, but the {'e'} can only be a pronoun.
> You are mistaking my description of observed canon for a rule. I'm not saying "the rule is that the object of ja' can be only a noun or a quotation." I'm saying we've only ever seen actual nouns or actual quotations as the thing ja' is referencing, with no sign of the standard sentence-as-object construction anywhere in sight.
> The rule is stated in TKD: "Similarly, with verbs of saying (say, tell, ask, etc.), 'e' and net are not used. The two phrases simply follow one another, in either order."
> So we have the basic rule, and we haven't seen any exceptions to the rule. We've seen nouns be the object of ja' and we've seen ja' work with quotations.
> neH has a similar rule, but we've seen an exception to it in Star Trek VI, where Azetbur says 'e' neHbe' vavoy. So I'm not about to state that it's impossible that ja' can have an exception to it as well. But we haven't seen this exception so far, so I'm also not about to state that exceptions occur.
> The bottom line: don't use 'e' with quotations.
> -- 
> SuStel
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