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

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Wed Aug 25 09:12:30 PDT 2021

I just had a new thought about a recent thread.

If a Klingon might misquote a direct quotation, but would never express an indirect quotation, what exactly is an indirect quotation?

The knee-jerk difference one suspects as a speaker of a language that has accepted grammatical constructions for both direct and indirect quotation is to think that indirect quotation paraphrases what a person has said, focusing on the intent or meaning of the quote, while direct quotation is a word-for-word reenactment of original speech, but that misses the potential higher level of understanding of a language that doesn’t have a grammatical form to represent indirect speech.

The grammatical difference is all about the person of the subject and objects of the verbs in the quotation.


Imagine that SuStel says to De’vID, “I will not leave until charghwI’ arrives.”

Now, charghwI’ says one of the following to De’vID:

1. SuStel said, “I will not leave until charghwI’ arrives.”

2. SuStel said, “I’m waiting for charghwI’ to show up.”

3. SuStel said that he would not leave until I arrive.

4. SuStel said that he’s waiting for me to show up.

Grammatically, both 1 and 2 are direct quotations. One is accurate and the other is paraphrased, but grammatically, both are “direct”.

Both 3 and 4 are indirect quotation. The First Person subject of 1 and 2 became a third person subject in 3 and 4, and the third person object of 1 and 2 became a first person object of 3 and 4.

Either grammatical construction can accurately or inaccurately depict the original speech. The word “Direct” doesn’t imply “word-for-word”. It more simply refers to whether the “Person” anchor of the retold speech is kept to the grammatical context of the original, or modified to apply to the grammatical context of the current speaker, retelling the story. So, when we say that Klingon only supports direct quotation, it doesn’t imply anything about it being “word for word”.


charghwI’ ‘utlh
(ghaH, ghaH, -Daj)

> On Aug 18, 2021, at 10:44 AM, Will Martin <willmartin2 at mac.com> wrote:
> ...
> 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.
> ...

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