[tlhIngan Hol] using chegh without an object

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Thu Feb 18 12:25:50 PST 2021

Just to be clear:

I never put anything in the New Words List without citing the source. That’s the whole point of the list — to be an index to words that are listed in official sources. The sources are scattered, but the New Words List points to all of them from one place. The New Words List is never the official source of any Klingon word.

I just checked my own database, which reflects the New Words List as it existed when I maintained it. It lists {chegh} as “return”, not “return (to)” with the source being TKD. Unless there’s a difference between the E->K / K->E sides of TKD or some later source appends or changes the definition, TKD words were not placed in the New Words List. I did list words that exist in both TKD and the Addendum, since people looking up a word in TKD might think they are done and not double check the Addendum, never learning about the expanded definition.

TKD is full of OLD words, not NEW words, hence the title New Words List. I’m the guy who came up with that title, and I did it for a reason.

This suggests that I’m not the person who put {chegh} in the New Words List.

So, looking at the New Words List, the source is listed as NEWS. The “Works cited” list at the bottom of the page doesn’t have a listing for NEWS, so I can’t tell you who put this word on the list or what work it cites. I’m as clueless as you on this.

As for “prepositional relationships”, I’m not a professional linguist. I don’t even play one on TV. I’m an amateur enthusiast. I use the best terms I know. You are probably right. I should be talking about locatives.

I was simply trying to explain that nouns have a lot of different roles in a sentence. While there’s an obvious difference between a verb’s direct object and the object of a preposition in terms of grammar, there is no global rule that dictates whether a specific verb can use a specific noun as its direct object, or if that noun would require a preposition (in English) or a Type 5 noun suffix (in Klingon).

The Moon goes around the Earth.

The Moon orbits the Earth.

The Moon orbits around the Earth.

These all mean exactly the same thing. There is not so much as a shade of meaning difference among them.

The verb “go” requires the preposition. Omitting it completely changes the meaning of the sentence.

The verb “orbit” doesn’t require the preposition.

{chegh} is apparently something akin to the English “orbit”, while its gloss “return” is not.

Most verbs don’t have a location as the direct object. {chegh} does. The English word “return” is a lot more complicated.

In particular, without canon to clarify, the gloss is insufficient to differentiate between “I return to the ship” and “I return a book to the library”. More accurately, the former could also be stated as “I return myself to the ship” and the latter could be stated as “I cause the book to return to the library.”

That’s a common feature of many verbs in English. It exists in Klingon, but so far as we know, it’s more common to be like {vIH} where the subject is always the object in motion, unless we add the suffix {-moH}, where we split the roles of the noun causing the motion and the noun in motion. Without {-moH}, they are one and the same.

But we have other Klingon verbs where the one causing the motion is always the subject of the verb and we have to use {-‘egh} to indicate that the one causing the action of the verb is also the one performing the action.

And the gloss doesn’t always indicate which of these three cases are true:

1. The one performing the action is subject and we use {-moH} to refer to the one causing the action to occur.

2. The one causing the action is subject and we use {-‘egh} to refer to the one performing the action to be the same one who is causing it.

3. We don’t know if it’s case 1 or 2 or if either one is fine. Let context decide.

Myself, being foolish enough to wish that Klingon could be a language in which things can be said more clearly than in English, I’ve always favored definitions that made it clear which of the three cases apply to each verb, but it’s a fool’s goal. I’d love for case 3 to be forbidden, but if wishes were fishes…

It’s not my language. I just get to use it. Happiness is easier to achieve if I’m content with just that.

charghwI’ vaghnerya’ngan

rInpa’ bomnIS be’’a’ pI’.

> On Feb 18, 2021, at 1:44 PM, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name> wrote:
> On 2/18/2021 12:41 PM, Will Martin wrote:
>> Many verbs have direct objects. They also can have prepositional relationships to objects. Some prepositional relationships are explicit, meaning that you use an actual preposition with the object. Other prepositional relationships are implied in the verb.
> There's no such thing as an implied prepositional relationship. The word preposition simply means comes before. In English, prepositions express the relationship a noun has with other things (not necessarily a verb — the secret of the weapon). A noun's relationship to other things can also be expressed in ways that don't use prepositions. This doesn't make them "implied prepositional relationships." This makes them relationships that aren't expressed with prepositions.
> I can express a relationship with a preposition: I give the book to the officer. I can express exactly the same relationship without a preposition: I give the officer the book. The relationship of the officer to the book or the giving or me is not prepositional, it's indirect object. (And I say phooey to anyone who claims the object of this preposition is not also an indirect object. Your grammar is antiquated.)
>> My classic example is, “The Moon orbits the Earth." The Moon also goes around the Earth. “Around” is a preposition explaining the “go” relationship between the Earth and the Moon. 
>> “Orbit” is a verb that has that relationship built into its link to its direct object. The Moon doesn’t go the Earth. It goes around it. While you can say the Moon orbits around the Earth, this is really poor English because the “Around” doesn’t tell you anything. It’s redundantly redundant. The “around” is implied by the word choice “orbit”.
> The moon orbits around the Earth is perfectly acceptable English, and you'll find plenty of astronomers saying orbit around.
>> So, {chegh} is kind of like “orbit”. It has a direct object with an implied “to” prepositional relationship built into it. Meanwhile, the English word “return” does NOT have this prepositional relationship built in. I don’t return the ship. I return TO the ship. It would mean something extremely different were I to say I return the ship.
> If you want to get your terminology right, say that chegh has a locative sense built into it. It imparts a locative meaning to its object. TKD explains this phenomenon to us.
>> So, when Okrand tries to give a gloss definition for {chegh}, he has to add the word “to” to the gloss. {chegh} doesn’t mean “return”. It means “return to”.
> Okrand glossed chegh with "return." When he was asked about it later, he posted a message that "chegh 'return' means 'return to a place.'" He has never glossed it "return (to)"; that was done by someone else (possibly yourself, this gloss comes from the KLI's new words list). The other person's gloss is correct, but Okrand is often not so precise as you're suggesting.
> The inherent locative meaning of certain verbs is often not expressed in Okrand's glosses, and we have to infer or discover them. At the time we heard Chang say DaH machegh, we did not have any evidence that chegh could take the destination returned to as its object.
>> Meanwhile, you could say the Moon orbits. You don’t have to say what it orbits, if context makes that clear.
>> Similarly {jIchegh} means “I return.” Technically, it does mean “I return (to),” but since I’m not mentioning what the object is that I’m returning to, the better translation omits the word “to”. That’s why the gloss puts “to” in parentheses. It’s optional.
> In general, Okrand does not put words in parentheses in his glosses because they're optional to the translation or to help the translator choose the best translation; he does so to distinguish different meanings of a word.
>> You put the word “to” in your translation if there is an explicit object. You don’t put the word “to” in your English translation if there is no explicit direct object.
> If appropriate. juH vIchegh I return home. naDev chegh HoD The captain returns here.
>> In the scene in question, everybody knows where the speaker is returning to. He doesn’t need to mention it. He probably could have said either {wIchegh} or {machegh}.
> wIchegh We return to it makes as little sense in the Klingon in this context as it does in the English. Sure, you can work out what he means, but it's not how you'd say it.
> -- 
> SuStel
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