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

De'vID de.vid.jonpin at gmail.com
Thu Feb 11 14:04:42 PST 2021

On Thu, 11 Feb 2021 at 19:49, Will Martin <willmartin2 at mac.com> 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.”

I think you have been misled by the English translation. In English, "the
fire is hottest" can have one of two meanings: (1) "the fire is hottest
among other things" and (2) "the fire is at its hottest (e.g., than at any
time or place)". According to the description of the superlative in TKD, at
least, it seems that {qul tuj law' Hoch tuj puS} can only have the first
meaning and not the second.

<A Q {law'} B Q {puS}... says "A's Q is many, B's Q is few" or "A has more
Q than B" or "A is Q-er than B"... To express the superlative, that
something is the most or greatest of all, the noun {Hoch} is used in the B

The example, {la' jaq law' Hoch jaq puS} "The commander is boldest of all",
means that "The commander is more bold than anyone else" and not "The
commander is at his boldest". What you claim about the meaning of {qul tuj
law' Hoch tuj puS} is *dis*similar to the superlative in {SoH Dun law' Hoch
Dun puS} "You are the most wonderful", "You are more wonderful than anyone
else". If it *were* similar, it would mean "the fire is more hot than
anything else" (as I believe), and not "the fire is (at) its hottest" (as
you seem to think).

If you look at all the other canon instance where a comparison is made with
{Hoch} in the B position, they are comparing A to everything else (of its
class), i.e. A is Q-est among other things, and not claiming that A is at
its most Q:

DujvamDaq tlhIngan nuH tu'lu'bogh pov law' Hoch pov puS.
jonlu'meH wo'maj pop tIn law' Hoch tIn puS.
noH ghoblu'DI' yay quv law' Hoch quv puS.
SoH rallaw' law' Hoch rallaw' puS.
tlhIngan qorDu' pong potlh law' Hoch potlh puS.
tlhIngan wo' yuQmey chovlu'chugh Qo'noS potlh law' Hoch potlh puS.

It's certainly possible that the "A Q {law'} {Hoch} Q {puS}" *can* mean "A
is at its Q-est" (in addition to "A is Q-est than anything else"), but
that's not supported by any evidence that I know of. It's also possible
that Dr. Okrand, in looking to translate "the fire is (at) its hottest",
forgot (or deliberately ignored or is implicitly extending) the explanation
of the construction given in TKD. But going strictly by what's known, {qul
tuj law' Hoch tuj puS} does not mean what you think it means.

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.

In {DujvamDaq... nuH... pov law' Hoch pov puS}, it's not talking about one
(set of) weapon(s), and the place where it is best is on this ship. It's
talking about this ship's weapons, which is the best (i.e., better compared
to any weapon on another Klingon ship).

Now, it's possible that {DujvamDaq nuH pov law' Hoch pov puS} could, in
some context, be talking about one weapon, and the place where it is best
is on this ship. It's also possible that {qIbDaq SuvwI''e' SoH Dun law'
Hoch Dun puS} could, in some context, mean that the place where you are the
most wonderful warrior is in this galaxy (i.e., you wouldn't be as
wonderful a warrior in other galaxies as in this one).

Maybe the intended meaning of the sentence is to talk about "ONE fire, and
the place where it is hottest is at someone else's face", but if that's
what it means, then the "A Q {law'} Hoch Q {puS}" formula is doing
something quite different than either how it's explained in TKD or in other
canon sentences using this construction.

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