[tlhIngan Hol] {‘e’ qa’} revisited

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Fri Nov 26 05:10:37 PST 2021

The idiom {‘e’ qa’} obviously exists to extend {[noun] qa’ [noun]} to be able to also allow {[sentence]; [sentence] ‘e’ qa’}. I’m not arguing against the use of it as I portray some kind of huffy pseudo-authoritarian whose sensitivities are violated. My lip doesn’t curl. My hackles aren’t upraised. I’m just mildly confused and amused as to why it is so important to get really good at using an idiom that appears to be wholly unnecessary, while it is awkward to get right, especially if it is even mildly extended in complexity.

I awoke this morning wondering why bother with this awkward grammatical exceptionalism for one verb when pretty much everything that can be stated through the idiom can more simply be stated through more conventional grammar.

We’ve gone back and forth over exactly how to use the idiom to say, “If we use phasers instead of swords, we win,” for instance. {yaD DIlo’chugh maluj, ‘ach pu’ DIlo’chugh maQap.} Alternatively, {yaD DIlo’be’chugh ‘ach pu’ DIlo’chugh, vaj maQap.}

To cut down on redundancy, it could be {yaD qa’bogh pu’’e’ wI’o’chugh, maQap}, making the assumption that we can translate “phasers which replace swords” as “phasers instead of swords” given the way we translate the idiom for whole sentences as “X instead of Y” instead of the more literal “Y; X replaces that.”

It’s pretty clear that the {‘e’ qa’} version presented on this list doesn’t exist in order to express anything in particular. It exists in order to figure out how to use the idiom.

In most cases {[negative sentence] ‘ach [sentence]} covers it without using the language’s only approved example of Sentence As Subject.

So, why use the idiom? I can only imagine that one wants an expert grasp over the idiom as a matter of style.

And that’s the part that makes me most curious. Really? You really want to develop well honed skill at the use of a combination of words in Klingon that any Klingon speaker who has not participated in this specific discussion or who has forgotten the discussion will probably find more confusing than any of several simpler alternatives? As a matter of style?


Whatever floats your boat. 

Just don’t wag your finger too hard at anyone who responds {nuqjatlh?} Their failure to remember the idiom (or to have ever even heard of it) is not remarkably unreasonable.

More information about the tlhIngan-Hol mailing list