[tlhIngan Hol] where the adverb refers and {tlhoS}

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Fri Aug 27 13:55:17 PDT 2021

On 8/27/2021 4:08 PM, Will Martin wrote:
> Looking at your evidence, which I appreciate because I’m personally 
> very bad at gathering evidence, I expected to see Okrand doing exactly 
> what you want him to be doing, showing that an adverbial can be 
> meaningfully translated as applying its meaning to a noun instead of a 
> verb or a whole sentence.
> Meanwhile, when I see this canon example, quite honestly, I don’t see 
> him doing what you say he’s doing. I see him doing what I love to do 
> when translating Klingon: He’s recasting an expression in order to say 
> something that the grammar of the Klingon language doesn’t support.

Of course he's doing that. His doing that is exactly what sets up the 
context for *vabDot* that demonstrates my point. If he weren't doing 
that, I wouldn't have an example to show you. I chose that example 
/because/ he did that.

> The English translation that you present as evidence that adverbials 
> can point to something other than a verb is a result of very masterful 
> recasting

Er, uh, I couldn't go so far as to call it /masterful./ It's a good 
translation. Anyone who translates without doing that sort of thing 
probably doesn't produce a good translation.

> of what we would say in a single sentence in English into a pair of 
> sentences in Klingon because Klingon doesn’t support applying an 
> adverbial to a noun the way that adverbs can be applied to nouns in 
> English.
>> *Qo'noS romuluS je boSuqlaH. vabDot tera' Qejjbogh DIvI' ram 
>> boSuqlaH.*/ Kronos, Romulus, and even the puny Federation's precious 
>> Earth are all up for grabs./
> The literal translation is more like “You can acquire Kronos and 
> Romulus. You can even acquire Earth, which the unimportant Federation 
> cherishes."
> By repeating the first sentence's verb in the second sentence with a 
> new subject and the adverbial, the grammatical link between the 
> adverbial and the verb can be implied to apply to the subject, since 
> that’s the thing that’s different between the two sentences.  When you 
> say you can acquire A and B, and then you say you can even acquire C, 
> what is different between “acquiring” and “even acquiring”? Well, C is 
> different from A and B, obviously.

You're missing the point and looking at it exactly backwards. Qa'yIn was 
merely struck by the realization that when translating Klingon, in which 
the adverbials /must/ come before the sentence, you could end up with an 
adverbial in lots of different places in the English sentence, including 
apparently modifying nouns, even though adverbs are usually said to 
modify most things /except/ nouns.

No one is saying anything about Klingon adverbials modifying nouns; 
we're just discussing how Klingon adverbials are fixed in position, 
while their translated English adverbials can move around the sentence, 
and the Klingon adverbials are not locked into a translation that only 
puts the English adverbial in front of the verb or adjective.

> You had suggested that given context, the adverbial could apply to any 
> non-chuvmey word in the sentence. It could apply to the subject or 
> object. Like this is a normal thing that could be done in any Klingon 
> sentence.

No, I suggested that the meaning expressed by the Klingon adverbial can 
be translated into an English adverbial that modifies the nouns of the 
sentence instead of the verb.

Dare I say that Klingon is not a code for English, so word-for-word 
translations are not required? Klingon adverbials modifying Klingon 
sentences need not be translated as English adverbs modifying English verbs.

> Meanwhile, in the lone sentence {vabDot tera’ Qejbogh DIvI’ ram 
> boSuqlaH}, {vabDot} applies to {boSuqlaH}. It does not apply to {tera’}.

It applies to the entire sentence. If it applied only to *Suq,* then it 
would mean /even acquire/ (in addition to doing other things). That's 
not what the *vabDot* is doing in the sentence. It is expressing /even 
Earth/ (in addition to those other planets).

> We get the meaning of it applying to {tera’} outside of Klingon 
> grammar by this recasting device of repetition of the verb.

Yes! Out of context, the Klingon *vabDot tera' boSuqlaH* can mean /You 
can acquire even Earth (in addition to other planets), Even you (not 
just those other guys) can acquire Earth,/ or /You can even acquire 
Earth (in addition to all those other things you can do with Earth)./ In 
English, you can move the /even/ around to be more precise than Klingon 
can be, though even English (heh) is not unambiguous. /Even you can 
acquire Earth/ can only be the "not just those other guys" variety, but 
/You can even acquire Earth/ can be the "in addition to other planets" 
variety or the "in addition to all those other things you can do with 
Earth" variety.

And you can see clearly the difference in the English if you stress 
certain words:

/You can even acquire EARTH (in addition to other planets).
You can even ACQUIRE Earth (in addition to all the other things you can 
do with Earth)./

Again, just so we're clear, I didn't stress those words because I'm 
suggesting that using an adverbial in Klingon involves any kind of 
stressed or emphasized element. I'm only stressing them to show where 
the focus of the unexpectedness lies.

> Essentially we are making three statements:
> You can acquire Kronos.
> You can acquire Romulus.
> You can even acquire Earth.
> Two of these acquisitions are identical. One is different, qualified 
> by {vabDot}. The other two don’t get {vabDot}.

Yes. Because acquiring the EARTH (notice the stress) is unexpected, 
while acquiring Kronos or Romulus are not. The focus is on the 
difference in the nouns, not the verb.

> So, outside of Klingon grammar, we mark Earth as different from Kronos 
> and Romulus because the first two just get acquired, while the third 
> one EVEN gets acquired.

Yes, "outside of Klingon grammar." INSIDE Klingon grammar, we can't 
distinguish whether we're noting Earth as different, acquiring as 
different, or you as different. We can only tell through context. This 
is the *qaleghpu' je* ambiguity that TKD discusses.

> You’d have a stronger argument if the example somehow used context to 
> make the lone sentence mean “You can acquire even Earth,” but this 
> example doesn’t really go that far. It says, “You can even acquire Earth.”

No it doesn't. YOU said that. The example says "Even the puny 
Federation's precious Earth."

> Your last paragraph is much more convincing.
> The use of {je} as an adverbial is very exceptional in Klingon.

*je* is not classified as an adverbial by Federation linguists. They 
classify it as a conjunction. Klingons only call it a *chuv.* Just so 
we're clear on the terminology and not taking as evidence things that 
aren't evidence.

> Step 1: {je} and {‘ej} are both conjunctions, and like {qoj} and 
> {joq}, one is the other spelled backwards, and one applies to nouns, 
> following the nouns, but the other applies to verbs, and precedes the 
> second verb.
> Step 2: Take the noun version, and apply it to verbs, but place it 
> like you would for a noun, after the word it modifies.

This is not how you analyze grammar. This is more like numerology.

> Given how exceptional it is, it also gets exceptionally ambiguous 
> translation. Is it really modifying the verb, or could it modify the 
> subject or object as well?
> In the past, we’ve glossed past this and assumed that the English 
> ambiguity of “too” applies fully to the Klingon adverbial {je}.

NO, NO, NO! We're TOLD how the ambiguity works. *qaleghpu' je* can mean 
/I and others saw you/ (that is, the context is something like: 
*Duleghpu' chaH; qaleghpu' je*), or it can mean /I saw you and others/ 
(that is, the context is something like: *chaH vIleghpu'; qaleghpu' je*).

> So, it’s stretching things a bit thinner to take this uncertainty 
> surrounding {je} and assume it also applies to {vabDot} and {tlhoS}, 
> and then we should go hunting through our list of adverbials and see 
> how many others we can assume might apply to subjects and objects 
> instead of just verbs.

No no no again. Nobody is assuming that Klingon *je* works exactly like 
English /too./ Where did you get that? We are working with Klingon *je* 
EXACTLY as its described in TKD.

> I’m not declaring myself The Voice of Authority here, declaring that 
> you are all wrong and I’m all right. This is simply a difference of 
> opinion among people who are unusually good with the language. You’ve 
> made your case that you think {vabDot} and possibly other adverbials 
> can generally be used to apply to verbs or subjects or objects, given 
> sufficient context,

Wrong. You do not understand what I have said, 'cause that ain't it.

Adverbials like *vabDot* don't apply to subject and objects. They apply 
to sentences. They are adverbials. Adverbials go at the front and tell 
how the activity of the sentence proceeds. It's not specifically tied to 
the verb or any other single piece of the sentence; it's tied to the 
whole sentence. That's why it goes in the front.

There are times when you can figure out which word the adverbial 
directly applies to. In sentences like *nom yIghoS* it's obviously 
referring to the verb. But in some sentences, it's not, as canonical 
sentences show. So the interpretation of adverbials is not so cut and 
dried as saying "adverbials modify the verb."


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