[tlhIngan Hol] {'e' qa'} "instead of" with the {qa'} bearing suffixes

De'vID de.vid.jonpin at gmail.com
Sat Nov 20 17:05:53 PST 2021

On Sat, 20 Nov 2021 at 23:20, Will Martin <willmartin2 at mac.com> wrote:

> There is only what has been given to us an idiomatic construction that
> appears to be *Sentence As Subject* using the one verb {qa’}. It apparently
> works like:
> [simple sentence]; [simple sentence] ‘e’ qa’.

While the examples used to illustrate the idiom used simple sentences, I
don't see that it's necessarily restricted in that way. mayqel's original
sentence which started this thread (*{pu' DIlo'; yan DIlo' 'e' qa'}) had a
simple sentence in both places. The problem with it wasn't that the two
sentences taking part in the idiom were complex. The problem was that the
{'e'} in {'e' qa'} can only refer back to a sentence, and adding {-chugh}
turned {pu' DIlo'chugh} into a subordinate clause.

For example, I doubt that anyone would fail to understand this sentence,
despite the fact that both halves are complex:
{jIQamtaHvIS jIHegh; jItortaHvIS jIyIn 'e' qa'}

There's no problem here, because the replacement is happening between the
independent clauses ({jIHegh} replaces {jIyIn}), which the subordinate
clauses happen to modify. The trouble mayqel's sentence ran into was that
it tried to replace a part of the subordinate clause.

Okrand hasn’t tended to use semicolons before, so it should alert you to
> how special this is.

Okrand has always tended to use semicolons to join two independent
sentences (in Klingon) which are thematically related (and would be one
sentence in English). For example, KGT has an entire section on "Similes"
of the form {[be verb]; [noun] rur} meaning "as [be verb] as [noun]", e.g.,
{bIr; bortaS rur} "cold as revenge". What the semicolon alerts us to here
is that {[sentence1]; [sentence2] 'e' qa'} would be one sentence in
English: "[sentence1] instead of [sentence2]".

> That idiom we were given didn’t have {-chugh} on any of the verbs. You
> keep trying to add it. It’s probably a bad idea to add any dependent
> clauses to any part of this idiom, unless we get a canon example or an
> explanation that clears the way.

That seems excessively conservative. The idiom we were given didn't have a
lot of things on any of the verbs. Nothing was mentioned about any
restrictions on the complexity of the sentence {'e'} can refer back to.

There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with using {-chugh} with {'e' qa'}
if the {'e'} refers back to an entire sentence:
{bIjatlhchu'chugh qanaD; bIjatlhHa'chugh qaHoH 'e' qa'}

Maybe this works, though I have my doubts, and nobody but Okrand can tell
> you, “Yes, this is how it works with {-chugh}.
> We went through this with Comparative instructions. Okrand, in that case,
> did expand on how complex [X Q law’ Y Q puS] could get, but we would not
> have been justified in assuming that this would be the case until Okrand
> opened the way.

We did go through it with the comparative construction, but I think you're
drawing the wrong lesson. In that construction, it was originally
unspecified how complex the {X} and {Y} slots could get. The examples from
TKD all had simple nouns. If someone were to say, the construction seems to
be of the form {[simple noun] Q law' [simple noun] Q puS}, they would've
been unjustifiably conservative. It turns out that basically any noun
phrase is allowed in the "noun" slot. In the same way, I think any sentence
can go into the "sentence" slots in the {'e' qa'} idiom - the key being
that they must be sentences, not subordinate clauses. (Of course, there
might be stylistic or comprehensibility considerations if the sentences are
too complex, but that's not a problem with the grammar.)

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