[tlhIngan Hol] {-Daq} and {-bogh} and {Sumbogh} and {Hopbogh}

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Mon Feb 7 08:07:40 PST 2022

Yep. I see it two ways:

I see: an animal, which is near the street.

I, in the street, see an animal, which is nearby.

In either case, the animal is near the street. The ambiguity is all about where I am seeing from. I could be on another planet, viewing a screen showing a camera shot from a remote drone, yet there I am, seeing an animal near the street, or I can be standing in the street, viewing an animal near me (coincidentally, the animal is near the street).

This is a problem for any verb that involves two or more locations. Sight and hearing involve the location of the subject and the location of the target of vision or the origin of the sound. {ghoS} and its ilk involve the location of the traveler and the destination, and/or the path or course, and also of any vehicle involved. Targeting involves the location of the weapon or guidance system and the location of the target.

Most verbs happen at a place, and the grammar is simpler and less ambiguous.

Does Klingon allow you to use two locatives? We know you can when they are nested, as in “Kansas City, Missouri” or {Qo’noSDaq juHwIjDaq} “In my home on Kronos”, but can I say this in Klingon: “Standing in the street, I saw an animal near my house.” It is simple as a dependent and a main clause: {tawDaq jIHtaHtaHvIS juHwIjDaq Sumbogh Ha’DIbaH vIlegh.}

Okay, weird idea: Change the Head Noun. {Ha’DIbaH vIlegh tawDaq jISumbogh}? “I, who am near the street, saw an animal.” Now, we don’t know where the animal is, which is a new problem. {tawDaq Sumbogh Ha’DIbaH vIlegh juHwIjDaq jIHtaHbogh.} “I, who am in my house, saw an animal, which is near the street.” See how complicated this can get?

We don’t really have the mechanism to apply two separate locatives to the same verb, except for the special directional verbs that take locations as objects. {DujwIjDaq Qo’noS vIghoS.} I’m in my ship and I’m going to Kronos. Both the ship and Kronos are locations that involve the actions of going.

Can we do this with vision? Can I say, “I saw an animal in the street from my house,”? {juHwIjvo’ tawDaq Ha’DIbaH vIlegh.} Does this work?

Maybe. Do Klingons see vision as happening from a place to a place? Maybe, instead of seeing vision as something like an arrow shot from the seer to the target, Klingons trace the direction of light and see from the target to the viewer. Vision is then more like taking than like giving. That’s an alien idea to us, but hey, Klingons are aliens, right?

What about that earlier example? “On Earth, I saw an image of an animal on Kronos.” {tera’Daq Qo’noSDaq Ha’DIbaH ‘oHtaHbogh vIlegh.} We still have to introduce a second verb for this to make sense. Could we just say *tera’vo' Qo’noSDaq Ha’DIbaH vIlegh*? Again, it depends on how Klingons see vision and directionality, since seeing from a place to a place is an arbitrary, abstract concept because vision doesn’t actually have mono-directional action. The source and the target interact through the sense of vision.

On a human scale of time, vision is instantaneous and does not have the duration of light’s travel from the target to the viewer. In the absolute sense of time, the action of vision involves light traveling from the target to the viewer. In human languages, we reverse the direction, similar to the way we named the + and - sides of electric flow before we discovered that electrons are actually flowing FROM the minus side TO the plus side, in the opposite direction of our abstract models of electricity. The weird part, of course, is that after we made that discovery, we continue to draw diagrams and graphics and videos showing electrons flowing the other way, just as we continue to see vision traveling in the opposite direction of the light involved in vision… plus there are even newer theories about electric flow that get weirder, involving fields around the wire instead of flow directly in the wire so that in extreme cases of extremely long circuits with wire of the two sides of the circuit very near each other, electric flow is induced on the far side of the circuit well before the speed of light would explain any electrons getting from the source to the target.

But I digress…

The point is that the concept of location is more complex than it might seem. Most cases are simple, but we can come up with cases that become too complicated for simple grammar to convey reliably, at which point clarity relies on breaking out the various locations involved to different verbs in multiple clauses and/or sentences, and as always, we can fall back on Okrand’s advice in TKD that it is always acceptable to translate a single English sentence into multiple sentences in Klingon, for clarity’s sake.

Hmm. I did it again. Overthinking. Apologies. It’s just what I do, even though I often do it in areas of ignorance, deservedly corrected after the fact. At least my errors trigger instruction that others can find useful in their education of the language, so I can be useful, even when I’m wrong, triggering the instigation of more complete explanations of how the language works.


charghwI’ ‘utlh
(ghaH, ghaH, -Daj)

> On Feb 7, 2022, at 9:15 AM, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name> wrote:
> On 2/7/2022 7:10 AM, mayqel qunen'oS wrote:
>> However, we *can* say {tawDaq Sumbogh Ha'DIbaH vIlegh}. And here we'd have two possible meanings:
>> (Although I'm not sure if the relative clause is the entire {tawDaq Sumbogh Ha'DIbaH} or just the {Sumbogh Ha'DIbaH}).
>> 1. "I see the animal which is near the street". Meaning "I see an animal, and that animal is near the street".
> In this interpretation, the relative clause includes the tawDaq. It is an animal which is near the street, not just an animal which is nearby.
>> 2. "I see at the street the animal which is near". Meaning "I'm at the street, and while I'm there, I see the animal which is near". Near where? Near me (because of the deixis crap which governs the use of {Sum} and {Hop}).
> In this interpretation, the relative cause does not include the tawDaq. It is an animal which is nearby, not an animal which is near the street.
>> And I don't know why, but I get the impression that case number 2 is an exception to the "rule" that the subject of {Sum}/{Hop} is whatever is being near/far the {-Daq}ed noun.
> It's not a rule; it's just what the words mean. tawDaq Sum Ha'DIbaH: the animal is in the state be nearby, and that state occurs at the street. The key is understanding that a locative tells you where the action takes place, not where the subject is when the action takes place. Most of the time, the subject takes place where the action is: ropyaHDaq Haq HaqwI' A surgeon performs surgery an in infirmary, but with Sum and Hop, the meanings of the verbs make it clear that the action of being nearby or being far away takes place where the subject is not. It's not special grammar. It's just what the words mean.
> Your interpretation number 2 is not an exception. There, the locative tawDaq is not the location of the being nearby; it's the location of the seeing. The seeing, performed by you, occurs in the street. The being nearby, performed by the animal, occurs, by implication, at your location. At your location, the animal is nearby. The locative is not part of the relative clause at all.
> -- 
> SuStel
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