[tlhIngan Hol] do the filler words express the "asking hmm" too?

Steven Boozer sboozer at uchicago.edu
Wed Mar 3 06:45:17 PST 2021

Hu'ma                 uh,  umm

(qep’a’ 2019):  Sometimes {Hu'mI}  and sometimes shortened to {Hu}.  Another pause vocalization is just a low-toned {ghghgh}.
maj                       Good!
nuqjatlh               What did you say?  Huh?
toH                       So!  Well!  Huh?  What?
qar'a'                    Isn't it?  Isn't that so?  Right?
va                          [Phew!  Pha!  Alas!]

From: SuStel
On 3/3/2021 7:58 AM, mayqel qunen'oS wrote:
There are two types of "hmm".

1st type:
What do you want to eat?
hmm.. I'll have the qagh.

2nd type:
So, what's it gonna be? hmm? will you eat the qagh?

I think that we could say with certainty, that both {ghghgh} and {Hu'ma/Hu'mI/Hu} express the 1st type of terran "hmm".

But do they express the 2nd type too?

Merriam-Webster gives three senses of hmm: (1) "used to express the action or process of thinking," (2) "used to emphasize that one has asked a question and is awaiting an answer," and (3) "used to request repetition or clarification of something just said."

Your first example is sense 1; your second example is sense 2.

MW defines both um and uh as "used to indicate hesitation."

Okrand likes Hu'ma and ghghgh to um and uh.

Therefore, I would work from the assumption that Hu'ma and ghghgh could only be used for your first example insofar as one is hesitating while they're thinking, but it would be an imperfect fit, because the Klingon words taken out of context do not imply pondering, while hmm does. And I would assume that Hu'ma and ghghgh do not match senses 2 or 3 of hmm at all. That is, to me, the most obvious place to start.
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