[tlhIngan Hol] {vaj} connecting {-meH} clauses

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Thu Oct 28 07:48:03 PDT 2021

On 10/28/2021 10:25 AM, mayqel qunen'oS wrote:
> ghunchu'wI':
>> Second, if you can't translate {vaj} as "thus",
>> you're probably using it wrong. I think you're using it wrong.
> You're right. After reading the replies of you and SuStel, I
> understood why {vaj} can't be used this way.
> And your comment reminded me something which someone had written to
> this list quite some time ago, regarding the use of klingon words with
> multiple meanings.
> Someone had said, that whenever there's a klingon word with multiple
> english meanings, then one way to see if you're using it correctly is
> to check whether *each* of  its' english definitions would make sense
> for the purpose you want to use it.

That's true, but it's a little more than just substituting in each of 
the words in the gloss to see if the sentence is still grammatical. What 
you need to do is see what concept all of the words have in common and 
understand that as the meaning of the Klingon word.

So when you see a gloss like *vaj*/so, then, thus, in that case,/ the 
important thing to see is that what these glosses have in common is 
coming to a conclusion based on some prior statement. That's what *vaj* 
means, regardless of how you translate it into English.

> So, (in our current case of {vaj}), unless it can be translated as
> "thus" too, then its' use is obviously wrong.
> However some time later, in another thread someone had suggested that
> this approach can only be applied to klingon words with multiple
> meanings which "overlap" each other; i.e. {vaj}, {Haw'} "flee/get
> out", {tur} "carry out, conduct (a mission), perform (duties)", etc.
> But when it came to klingon words with multiple definitions which
> don't overlap, then one could use such a word to express only one of
> its' english definitions, and context would clarify what exactly it is
> that he actually means.
> For example {ghargh} "serpent, worm"; there's no "overlap" between a
> serpent (e.g. snake) and a worm, meaning that a creature can't
> simultaneously be both a snake *and* a worm. But two people could use
> the {ghargh}, one to say {'up gharghmey}, and another {mughIj
> gharghmey} with the context clarifying that -in the first case- it is
> worms which one finds disgusting, while in the second case the speaker
> is describing his fear of serpents.

You're missing the point that serpents and worms have a number of 
characteristics in common. Their shape and their movement are similar.

Did you know that the modern English word /worm/ used to mean /serpent, 
snake, dragon, reptile?/ That's why you'll sometimes hear dragons called 
/worms/ or /wyrms. /(Dragons were also depicted as snake-like more often 
back then than they are now.) The word /worm/ (formerly spelled /wurm/ 
or /wyrm/) used to mean exactly what the Klingon word *ghargh* means.

So there /is/ overlap between serpents and worms. I believe Okrand has 
even commented on this word, saying that originally he meant *ghargh* to 
mean anything like a serpent or a worm, just like the Old English word, 
but that when writers for /Star Trek: The Next Generation/ writing the 
episode "A Matter of Honor" wanted a word for their newly invented plate 
of worms, they found *ghargh,* coached the actors to mispronounce it as 
/gakh,/ and failed to notice the comma in the gloss, coming up with the 
new thing called /serpent worms./ Okrand later retrofit this mistake as 
*qagh,* accounting for both the mispronunciation and the wrong meaning. 
I don't have a citation for this information.

> Anyways, I don't know how many people would actually agree with the
> above way of approaching "multiple meaning klingon words", but I'm
> sharing this because I find it to be an interesting approach, which
> has helped me on numerous occasions make a choice as to which klingon
> word I'd use and how.

It's a good way to approach it, provided you remember that you're not 
just substituting words but looking for the central concept that all 
parts of a gloss point to.

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