[tlhIngan Hol] using chegh without an object

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Thu Feb 18 12:55:48 PST 2021

On 2/18/2021 3:25 PM, Will Martin wrote:
> 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.

It cites this newsgroup post: klingonska.org/canon/1999-07-19b-email.txt 

> 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.

Sure there is. /Orbit/ (and /orbit around/) generally refers to an 
elliptical or circular path, usually but not exclusively caused by 
gravitational attraction. The word can be used to talk about, say, 
walking around someone, but it usually isn't. /Go around,/ on the other 
hand, doesn't imply an ellipse, circle, or gravity.

It is true that all three of those sentences can refer to the same 
state, but it is /not/ true that there is no semantic difference between 
them. The sentence with /goes around/ does not by itself express the 
concept of an elliptical path caused by gravity; the other two do. Only 
context tells you that in the first sentence.

/The dog goes around the Earth.
The dog orbits the Earth.
The dog orbits around the Earth./

In the first sentence, we might be talking about a dog that sails in a 
ship around the planet. Or we might be talking about a dogstronaut. The 
other two sentences are almost certainly talking about a dogstronaut.

> 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…

That was obviously never a design goal of Klingon, nor do I see any 
reason anyone would think of it as something to strive for. Klingon is, 
in general, more vague than English. Its vocabulary is much smaller, 
even with all the additions in recent years, and not, I think, simply 
because we haven't discovered all the words yet. English is an 
extraordinarily large language, having borrowed from many sources, and I 
don't see any reason to think that Klingon has done this. Klingon's 
syntax is far more strict and limited than English's, making it less 
expressive. Klingon is prone to dropping words, leaving behind sentences 
that only make sense in context. Klingon grammarians themselves only 
define three parts of speech, giving the last the telling name of 
/leftovers. /Expecting perfectly glossed words, complete with 
descriptions of its arguments?

No, the strength of Klingon is not its clarity, it is its punch. It is 
brisk. It doesn't delve into great detail. It is utilitarian. It is not 
a language of precise rules; it is a language of "good enough."


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