[tlhIngan Hol] Meaning of *ghaytanHa'*

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Thu Sep 16 07:36:35 PDT 2021

On 9/16/2021 10:12 AM, Will Martin wrote:
> Interesting.
> I was seeing {QapDI’} functioning as a time stamp, and as such, like 
> the adverbial, it was one of those things at the beginning of the main 
> clause. The precise sequence isn’t strictly defined. I haven’t noticed 
> examples of other stuff, like time stamps, coming before adverbials, 
> so I was expecting the adverbial to start the sequence, then the time 
> stamp, then the main clause, with everything at the start of the 
> sentence (adverbial and time stamp) applying to the main clause.

Well, remember that "time stamp" is not something explicitly defined for 
us. Okrand discusses "time elements" in section 6.7 in the Addendum, but 
he seems to be talking about noun phrases that refer to times, not every 
phrase that refers to a time.

It's perfectly clear that you can have expressions of time in places 
other than the beginning. *cha yIbaH, qara'DI'*/Fire the torpedoes at my 
command!/ Subordinate clauses are allowed to follow independent clauses, 
even when they express times. If /when I see you/ is not time-like 
enough for you, I could also say *cha yIbaH**, wa'logh 
Qoylu'pu'DI'*/Fire the torpedoes at one o'clock!/

Actual time elements of the kind described in TKD are apparently also 
part of the clause to which they are attached, as they "precede the 

In theory, and for the moment ignoring copulas, comparatives, and 
superlatives, the complete clause structure of Klingon appears to be:

<time elements> <adverbials and syntactic noun phrases> <object> <verb> 

When dealing with multiple independent, purpose, or subordinate clauses, 
you apparently shove complete clauses next to each other; you don't 
splice clauses inside other clauses.

This is not a rule that Okrand has stated; it appears to be the case 
based on canon. Some people are less strict about it than others. 
Qa'yIn, for instance, likes to splice in parenthetical phrases. He might 
write something like *DaHjaj, jISoptaHvIS, vIghro' vIyach.* What he 
means is to combine the independent clause *DaHjaj vIghro' vIyach*/Today 
I pet a cat/ and *jISoptaHvIS*/while I was eating./ Personally, I would 
resist splicing clauses like this, and I would move the subordinate 
clause to the end: *DaHjaj vIgho' vIyach, jISoptaHvIS.* But we have no 
information on what Klingons would have to say about splices like this, 
other than a general lack of it.

> So, if {ghaytanHa’ QapDI’} is a dependent clause… “Unlikely, when he 
> wins” becomes the time stamp for {SuvtaH}.
> And I become confused. It sounds more like “Unlikely, when he wins, he 
> continues fighting.” So, he probably doesn’t continue fighting when he 
> wins. So, I guess he quits fighting when he wins, right?

You're still doing the parenthetical insertion in your English thinking, 
applying the /unlikely/ to the /he continues fighting/ instead of the 
/he wins./

> I don’t really see that as “When he unlikely wins…” and even less as 
> “When he is unlikely to win…” Sorry. I just don’t see that. I could 
> chop it up in a word salad and toss it into the air and pick out that 
> meaning, if I really, really wanted to, but I can’t see it simply 
> meaning that.
> Let’s drop the {-Ha’} just to make it simpler.
> {ghaytan QapDI’} “Likely, when he wins…” is not the same as “When he 
> likely wins…” and I’m pretty sure the the former is the more typical 
> interpretation.

*nom Sop*/He eats quickly.
/*nom SopDI'*/He eats quickly, and when that happens.../

*ghaytan Qap*/He is likely to win.
/*ghaytan QapDI'* /He is likely to win, and when that happens.../

Adding *-DI'* just means /and when the sentence that I'm attached to 

You just have to step away from the way English phrases things and see 
the meaning only in the Klingon that appears.

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