[tlhIngan Hol] Beginner's text and questions

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Fri Jul 23 13:27:01 PDT 2021

In line below:

> On Jul 23, 2021, at 2:28 PM, luis.chaparro at web.de wrote:
> SuStel:
>> I suspect you actually mean either wej Hogh rej CádizDaq maghIQtaH be'nalwI' jIH je Three weeks ago, my wife and I were vacationing in Cádiz or qaStaHvIS wej Hogh vorgh, maghIQtaH be'nalwI' jIH je During the last three weeks, my wife and I have been vacationing in Cádiz.
> I actually mean the last one, but I used *ret* because I found this example on *boQwI'*: *qaStaHvIS cha' tup ret jIQuch*, with *ret* meaning *be most recent*...
>> This is a little tricky because we don't fully know all the rules involved, but I think you probably want to use leghlu'meH to match up with the lupoQlu'.
> Ok. I've read in the *Klingon Grammar Addenda* by Terrence Donnelly that *when the subject of the purpose clause is indefinite, you can indicate this with -lu' or by 3rd person zero-suffix and no stated subject noun*. I thought it was something commonly accepted. So, you are suggesting I should always use *-lu'* in such constructions, or maybe only in this case because I was using *-lu'* with *poQ* (as a matter of style)?

SuStel said “This is a little tricky because we don’t know all the rules involved,” because we like to say that Klingon lacks an equivalent to an infinitive in human languages, except that {-meH} clauses inconsistently appear to be just that. The infinitive lacks a subject or object, as in “to learn”. We don’t know who is learning. We don’t know what is being learned. The infinitive form of the verb “learn” is “to learn” and it doesn’t tell us.

Almost everywhere in Klingon, you always indicate at least a subject (even if it’s an indefinite subject) with every verb. No visible or audible prefix just means third person subject. {-lu’} makes it clear we all know there’s a subject. We’re just not revealing who it is.

But with {ghojmeH taj}, we know that the purpose of the knife is “to learn”. We don’t say anything about who is learning or what is being learned. It’s pretty clearly infinitive. It’s a to-learn knife.

Okrand never fully explained this, and casually looking at examples, it looked like if a verb with {-meH} applied to a noun, giving the purpose of the noun, it was infinitive, but if it gave the purpose of a main clause (in other words, gave the purpose of a verb), then you had to use a prefix or {-lu’}, like all other uses of verbs in the language because the canon examples clearly are not infinitive.

Anyway, a more complete collection of canon includes examples of apparent infinitives giving the purpose of clauses and obvious not infinitives giving the purpose of nouns, so if there are actual guidelines for dealing with these two different personalities of verbs with {-meH} applied, Okrand has not clarified the rule or given us canon that makes it clear.

This is definitely one of the least clearly defined areas of Klingon grammar, but we get by, anyway.

charghwI’ ‘utlh
ghaH, ghaH, -Daj

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