[tlhIngan Hol] does the {'e' qa'} express a preference supplemental

De'vID de.vid.jonpin at gmail.com
Fri Dec 3 02:44:22 PST 2021

On Thu, 2 Dec 2021 at 13:50, mayqel qunen'oS <mihkoun at gmail.com> wrote:

> [quoting SuStel]

tlhIngan Hol vIghoj 'e' vImaS; vulqangan Hol vIghoj 'e' vImaS 'e' qa'.
> I prefer to learn Klingon instead of Vulcan.

Literally, "I prefer that I learn Klingon. It replaces that I prefer that I
learn Vulcan." That is, "I prefer learning Klingon instead of learning

> So far so good. I understand your reply, and everything is clear. But
> what I've just wondered is this: Why can't we express the "I prefer to
> learn Klingon instead of Vulcan" by just placing a {'e' vImaS} after
> the {'e' qa'}? I mean like this:
> {tlhIngan Hol vIghoj; vulqangan Hol vIghoj 'e' qa' 'e' vImaS}

The problem here is that the {'e' vImaS} is too far away from the {tlhIngan
Hol vIghoj}, so that it sounds like {tlhIngan Hol vIghoj} is a statement of
fact, not a preference. One is inclined to interpret this literally as "I
learn Klingon; I prefer that it replaces that I learn Vulcan" (i.e., you're
learning Klingon, and you prefer that this was instead of Vulcan, maybe
rather than instead of something else like Romulan or something). It's very

Since I knew the meaning you were going for, you want the sentence to be
interpreted like this: "I prefer that: I learn Klingon; it replaces that I
learn Vulcan". And I think it can mean that in retrospect, but the fact
that one has to think about it should tell you that the construction is
confusing. It's a "hindsight" sentence.

Why don't you just use the noun form of {'e' qa'}? {tlhIngan Hol vIghoj 'e'
vImaS; vulqangan Hol ('e') qa'} "I prefer that I learn Klingon; it replaces
Vulcan". Here, it's clear what {vulqangan Hol} is replacing, since
{tlhIngan Hol} is the only other noun explicitly in the sentence.

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