[tlhIngan Hol] Use of *-'e'* with adverbials

janSIy . kenjutsuka at live.com
Wed Oct 20 12:52:22 PDT 2021

jatlh luis.chaparro:
> 1. paq'e' yIje' - Topic - As for the book, buy it - Context: We're speaking about several
> things, I've mentioned the book before and now I want to speak again about it and say
> something new about this matter (you should buy it).
> 2. paq'e' yIje' - Focus - Buy THE BOOK - Context 1: You aren't sure if you should buy the
> book or the movie and I want to encourage you to buy the book, not the movie /
> Context 2: You've misunderstood me, you think I've said: *Buy the movie*, but I've
> meant the book, not the movie, so I repeat my sentence emphasizing *book*.

Clearly, Klingons do not see this as an important distinction.  The grammar does not distinguish any difference in meaning there and a Klingon would probably claim that you are trying to create fine distinctions that are unnecessary.  Either way, you're drawing focus to the book, whether it is something new in our conversation, a limitation to just one of the things from our conversation, or a correction of something from our conversation.  There is no need to describe this with two different grammatical descriptions.

For a Klingon the question is much more one of whether the paq'e'​​ is the intended object of yIje'​​ or not.  Imagine we are at a store which sells different types of media.  On a display table are four options.  There are 1) a book, 2) a film, 3) a special pack including the same book with a lot of extras, and 4) a special pack including the same film with a lot of extras.  You are trying to decide if the extras are worth it and ask me, lo'laHghach yap ghaj'a' vey?​​  To which I respond, paq'e' yIje'​​.  Now, do I mean, "Buy THE BOOK," or "As for the book, buy it," ("it" being the paq vey​​ and my suggesting intended to convey "The one with the book is worth it").  Because it's not clear, my answer is a poor answer, but that happens sometimes in natural speech, so let's break it down.  An English linguist might be tempted to break this down as saying that if I intended "focus" I would mean "Buy THE BOOK," but if I intended "topic" I might mean "Buy the book one (i.e. set)."  But I suspect that a Klingon would not consider that to be the distinction and just ask if paq'e'​​ was intended to the object or a noun providing context in addition to the assumed object (which would be the previously mentioned vey​​).

> 3. paq'e' DaH yIje' - Topic - As for the book, buy it now - Same as above with adverbial.
> The version *DaH paq'e' yIje'* is not possible as topic.
> 4. DaH paq'e' yIje', paq'e' DaH yIje' - Focus - Buy THE BOOK now - Same as above with
> adverbial.

Again, I suspect that a Klingon would not really see a significant difference between the intended meanings here.  They all draw attention and specificity to the paq'e'​​.   I think the more important difference for a Klingon would be that movement of the paq'e'​​ in front of the DaH​​.  DaH paq'e' yIje'​​ would mean, "Buy THE BOOK now!"  paq'e' DaH yIje'​​ would mean, "THE BOOK, buy it now!"  It brings extra focus and attention to it by fronting it, but I don't think a Klingon would say it is acting in a different grammatical capacity, just that extra attention has been brought to it by moving it to the front.

> 5. paq'e' (DaH) 'ay' wa'DIch yIje' - Topic - As for the book, buy the first part (now) - Since
> we already have an object, *paq'e'* cannot be focus.

Here the paq'e'​​ is not acting as either the subject or the object and is clearly acting as extra context for the sentence.  But that is not because a Klingon might categorize it as "topic" instead of "focus", but rather that it is something extra in the sentence and not one of the standard arguments.

> 6. paq'e' (DaH) 'ay' wa'DIch'e' yIje' (?) - Topic and focus (?) - As for the book, buy THE
> FIRST PART (now) - buy now the first part, not the second one or the complete book

Same as for 5, I think.  It feels a little like overkill to say that both nouns are important and need to be the fopic* of the sentence.  It's not grammatically incorrect and I have no problem at all with multiple -Daq​​ nouns, but somehow multiple -'e'​​ nouns feels like overkill and will probably get rolled eyes from me.

*fopic - it's a word I made up to say that Klingons think of the word as both focus and topic without any distinction.  It's not a real word and it is not broadly understood.  I used it here more for the humor of recalling my silly word from another email.  You are welcome to use it, but you should define it when you do and explain that it is not a real word.

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