[tlhIngan Hol] difference between someone somebody and vay'

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Tue Mar 30 09:27:05 PDT 2021

At the core of this apparent difference in English, we simply don’t know almost nothing about formality in Klingon.

One assumes that Clipped Klingon is not formal. One assumes that the honorific {-neS} is formal. One assumes that labeled slang is informal.

That’s about all that I personally feel safe to assume about formality in the Klingon language, except where context suggests formality.

In the third movie, after Kruge had disintegrated his first gunner for blowing up a ship he was ordered to target “engines only”, and disobeyed to the point of saying that destroying the ship was just a lucky hit (probably an informal reply), I’m pretty sure that when he later gave an order to his replacement gunner and asked him if he understood (probably formal), that gunner’s reply, {HIja’ qaH} was probably pretty formal.

Also, Kruge’s “You will be remembered honorably” to Valkris was probably formal. Her bow while acknowledging that she understood was also fairly obviously formal.

Still, it’s situational more than choice of grammar or vocabulary that usually implies any level of formality, so far as I can tell most of the time. {qaH} is probably used formally, most of the time. There’s a hint there.

As I understand it, Japanese is, in terms of the minimalist syllable structure and straightforward grammar, one of the simplest languages on Earth, but the subtleties of formality make it remarkably difficult for outsiders to master. I could try to learn Japanese and make all kinds of assumptions about formality and probably be wrong most of the time.

While some may be bothered by the “crap” about Klingon being an alien language, … well… it’s an alien language. Why are you learning an alien language if you don’t like dealing with crap about an alien language?

charghwI’ ‘utlh
(ghaH, ghaH, -Daj)

> On Mar 30, 2021, at 11:00 AM, Lieven L. Litaer <levinius at gmx.de> wrote:
> Am 30.03.2021 um 15:09 schrieb SuStel:
>> Okrand wasn't looking for every synonym for /somebody/ when he wrote
>> that gloss. Since /somebody/ and /someone /are more or less
>> interchangeable, he just included one of them.
> I found one canon example showing that Okrand exchanged those words
> without thinking of the difference:
> naDev vay' DaSov'a'?
> Do you know anyone here? (CK)
> If there were an important difference, this should be "Do you know
> ANYBODY here?"
> --
> Lieven L. Litaer
> aka the "Klingon Teacher from Germany"
> http://www.tlhInganHol.com
> http://klingon.wiki/En/ConversationalKlingon
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