[tlhIngan Hol] law' puS with the -taHvIS and type-9 clauses preceding each element

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Thu Feb 11 11:14:02 PST 2021

I see a lot of assumptions going on about what this Klingon sentence — 
not the English translation — means.

Let's check that by first noting that the comparative/superlative 
/literally/ means /A's Q is many; B's Q is few./ It doesn't follow basic 
sentence syntax, but that's okay: we're told that comparatives and 
superlatives have their own construction.

*reH latlh qabDaq qul tuj law' Hoch tuj puS*

So what is the scope of *reH?* What is the scope of *latlh qabDaq?*

We know that *latlh qabDaq* cannot be attached to *qul* because a type 5 
noun suffix cannot be anywhere in a noun-noun construction but at the end.

We can suppose both *reH* and *latlh qabDaq* belong to the space before 
sentences: *[reH] [latlh qabDaq] [qul tuj law' Hoch tuj puS].* This 
would mean /Fire's hot is many, and all else's hot is few; this is true 
always and on another's face./

We might also suppose that the *reH* remains before the main sentence 
but that *latlh qabDaq* modifies something else, and *qul* just gets in 
the way because of the odd syntax. It might be attached to *tuj:* 
/fire's hot-on-another's-face is many, and all else's hot is few; this 
is always true./ Or it might be attached to *law':* /fire's hot is many 
///on-another's-face, /and all else's hot is few; this is always true.

Given the odd syntax of the comparative/superlative, the unexplained 
nature of observed modifiers outside of that construction, the fairly 
non-literal nature of the proverb (What the heck does it MEAN that the 
fire is hotter on someone else's face? What fire? Hotter than what? 
Hotter than another fire?), and the very fact that Klingon proverbs are 
prone to containing grammatical exceptions, I don't see how we can draw 
any solid conclusions.

On 2/11/2021 1:48 PM, Will Martin wrote:
> I completely disagree about the scope of {latlh qabDaq} in the 
> sentence {latlh qabDaq qul tuj law’ Hoch tuj puS.}
> Look at the superlative part of this sentence. What does it mean? It 
> means, “The fire is hottest.” This is similar to the superlative in 
> {SoH Dun law’ Hoch Dun puS}. “You are the most wonderful.”
> Where is the fire hottest? It’s hottest on someone else’s face.
> We aren’t saying “[The fire at someone else’s face] is hottest.” We 
> are saying “[The fire is hottest] at someone else’s face.”
> We aren’t talking about a bunch of different fires, and the hottest 
> one is at someone else’s face. We are talking about ONE fire, and the 
> place where it is hottest is at someone else’s face.
> charghwI’ vaghnerya’ngan
> rInpa’ bomnIS be’’a’ pI’.
>> On Feb 11, 2021, at 10:17 AM, De'vID <de.vid.jonpin at gmail.com 
>> <mailto:de.vid.jonpin at gmail.com>> wrote:
>> On Wed, 10 Feb 2021 at 18:23, Will Martin <willmartin2 at mac.com 
>> <mailto:willmartin2 at mac.com>> wrote:
>>     In the canon example {qIbDaq SuvwI’’e’ SoH Dun law’ Hoch Dun puS}:
>>     The suffix {-‘e’} lets you know that everything being said
>>     happens with the filter that you are talking about warriors in
>>     the galaxy. That is what extends the comparison to both sides of
>>     the comparison.
>>     As for warriors in the galaxy, you are the most wonderful. Maybe
>>     there are more wonderful warriors somewhere else, but the bounds
>>     of this comparison falls within the topic of the whole sentence,
>>     which is warriors in the galaxy.
>>     This is not grammatically similar to {reH latlh qabDaq qul tuj
>>     law’ Hoch tuj puS}, since there is no {-‘e’} but I’d argue that
>>     it would be normal to interpret the locative to apply to the
>>     entire comparison.
>> Both of those sentences involve the suffix {-Daq}. But also, both 
>> {-'e'} and {-Daq} are type-5 noun suffixes. Drop the {SuvwI''e'} from 
>> the first sentence and the {reH} from the second and the sentences 
>> become grammatically parallel:
>> {qIbDaq SoH Dun law' Hoch Dun puS}
>> {latlh qabDaq qul tuj law' Hoch tuj puS}
>> But in the first sentence, {qIbDaq} applies to the entire comparison. 
>> In the second, it appears to apply only to the first half.
>>     My reasoning is that the normal comparative is dirt simple:
>>     X [adjectival] law’, Y [adjectival] puS.
>>     The superlative is similar, replacing X or Y with {Hoch}.
>>     There are extensions of this grammatical construction, but each
>>     one of them is a little bit special. The best exceptions are the
>>     least special, requiring the least mental stretching to interpret.
>>     The simplest is to preface the entire comparison, as in the two
>>     examples considered up to this point:
>>     [Context for the comparison that would appear at the beginning of
>>     a normal sentence] [Comparison].
>>     Slightly more special would be:
>>     [Context for the first side of the comparison] [First side of the
>>     comparison] [Context for the second side of the comparison]
>>     [Second side of the comparison].
>>     It’s okay to have a sentence that is that second degree of
>>     special, but it’s not really so common that it is sufficiently
>>     anticipated that if there is no second context given, one would
>>     assume that the context applied only to the first half.
>> The whole point of this discussion is whether or not this is okay. I 
>> think it is, but earlier, others have stated that they think it 
>> isn't. If you think it's okay, I'm not the one you need to justify 
>> this to.
>>     Consider:
>>     {juHlIjDaq SoH Sub law’, juHDajDaq SoH Sub puS.}
>>     You are bolder at your house than you are at his house.
>> I would tentatively accept this as grammatical, but using grammar 
>> which is implied by canon examples but never explained. IIUC, others 
>> would not accept it and would consider it aberrant grammar.
>>     If I just said:
>>     {juHlIjDaq SoH Sub law’ ghaH Sub puS}.
>>     At your house, you are bolder than he is.
>>     Why would you expect this example to mean “You are bolder in your
>>     house than he is [perhaps even outside of your house],”? The
>>     context of the comparison is “in your house”.
>> I wouldn't expect it to mean that (without additional context), but I 
>> couldn't rule out this meaning (you're bolder in your house than he 
>> is in general), either.
>>     There is no reason to anticipate an omitted context for the
>>     second half of the comparison. For that, I would have said:
>>     {juHlIjDaq SoH Sub law’ Dat ghaH Sub puS.}
>>     If you give one scope, that stretches to the whole comparison. If
>>     you give a second scope, then the context has significant meaning
>>     for the comparison, because it’s really the two contexts that are
>>     being compared.
>>     Does this make sense to you?
>> Yes, perfectly. But my point is that the sentence {reH latlh qabDaq 
>> qul tuj law' Hoch tuj puS} suggests the scope of the {-Daq} is not 
>> necessarily the entire comparison.
>> Do you not see that the intended meaning of this sentence seems to 
>> contradict your analysis? The comparison here is not between just 
>> things on someone else's face, it's between something (a fire) on 
>> someone else's face and everything else (including outside of someone 
>> else's face).
>> --
>> De'vID


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