[tlhIngan Hol] Beginner's text and questions

Will Martin lojmitti7wi7nuv at gmail.com
Wed Feb 16 19:18:46 PST 2022

In early days, I was complaining because the word glosses didn’t specify whether verbs were transitive or intransitive. English dictionaries do this for a reason. Why not TKD?

During the interview, Okrand tended to wince when I pushed to figure out transitivity. SuStel figured this out before I did, with greater clarity. I’m not sure whether as a practical measure to give Okrand more wiggle room for future translations so that a smaller vocabulary could go farther, or whether it was some kind of grammatical principal that he wanted the language to have, but the simple truth is Klingon grammarians don’t think about transitivity like we do. Verbs can take an object or not. Stative/Adjectival/“to be” verbs generally don’t take objects, unless you add {-moH}, and certain verbs tend to be associated with certain objects or with certain types of object, but even then someone could come up with an utterance that works, even though it doesn’t fit the patterns we’ve seen with that specific verb before, blah, blah, blah.

So, on one hand, it is better to back off from trying to come up with any general rule defining when verbs can or cannot take objects… except for special verbs which are actually more rigid than their English equivalents, like {vIH}/move, because in English, when I move the pie, the pie moves, but in Klingon, {chab vIvIHmoHDI’, vIH chab}. {vIH} never takes an object, unless you add {-moH}.

That’s a special thing you have to learn about {vIH}.

Certain verbs require special study, like:


Aaaand sometimes these things you have to learn about verbs change, since by the glosses in TKD, the object of {jatlh} was the utterance, while the object of {ja’} was the person you spoke to, but eventually canon made that distinction… less distinct.

So, instead of thinking, “I’m looking for the general rule about verbs and objects, and the exceptional verbs that don’t follow those rules,” in Klingon, it is better to think, “I’m going to learn the exceptional verbs that have rules that apply to them in terms of what objects they take or don’t take.” The rest of the verbs? Don’t get too fixated on patterns you may think you see. There are trends, yes, but those trends are not reliable rules.


charghwI’ ‘utlh
(ghaH, ghaH, -Daj)

> On Feb 16, 2022, at 7:47 PM, DloraH <seruq at bellsouth.net> wrote:
> While I may have been quoted as saying that in 2006, the signing took
> place in the 90's.  That's why at the time of that quote I no longer
> remembered what he had said.
> So in that second quote, from Okrand to charghwI', where he says he has
> used it that way, he may likely have been referring to when he signed
> my KGT... and/or he also used that phrase signing other books.
> - DloraH
> On Wed, 2022-02-16 at 15:21 +0000, Steven Boozer wrote:
>> As to whether {yIn} “live” can take an object :
>> (DloraH, 1/2006):  [Okrand] signed my KGT {tlhIngan yIn DayIn}. I
>> don't remember now what he said afterwards, but I remember taking it
>> as a hint that this was not completely grammatical but could be said.
>> (Okrand to charghwI', HQ 7.4 [12/1998]):  For example, I've used the
>> word {yIn} transitively. "You live a Klingon life." That's perfectly
>> acceptable in Klingon. It's perfectly acceptable in English, too, but
>> it is not obvious from the short definition in the dictionary that
>> that would be an okay thing to do.
>> … but I couldn’t find another example however.  WRT to {tIv} “enjoy”
>> :
>> (Lieven 12/12/2013):  [Maltz] said he has been asked before about
>> “Merry Christmas” and “Happy New Year”.  He thought they were silly
>> things to say (and, of course, there are no traditional Klingon ways
>> to say these things), but he said that if you have to say “Happy New
>> Year”, you could say {DIS chu' yItIv} or {DIS chu' DatIvjaj} or {DIS
>> chu' botIvjaj} or the like.
>> I agree with De’vID that {SIQ} “endure” would seem *le mot juste* :
>>    yIn nI' yISIQ 'ej yIchep
>>    Live long and prosper! (RT)
>>   'oy' DaSIQjaj
>>   May you endure the pain! (PK; a good thing to Klingons)
>>   yIn DayajmeH 'oy' yISIQ.
>>   To understand life, endure pain. (TKW)
>>   QIt ghaHvaD yIn Hegh je vIghojmoH ‘ej ‘oy’ SIQ ghaH
>>   And teach him life and death, the slow and painful way! (PB)
>> Finally note the difference between {tu’be’lu’} :
>>    QuvlIjDaq yIH tu'be'lu'jaj
>>    May your coordinates be free of tribbles! (PK)
>>    vaSvamDaq tuq veng je quvvaD Heghqangbogh
>>     SuvwI’ tu’be’lu’’a’
>>    Is there nobody in this hall prepared to die for the honor
>>     of your tribe and city? (PB)
>> and {tu’lu’be’} :
>>    SuvwI'pu' qan tu'lu'be'
>>    There are no old warriors. (TKW)
>>    'Iw HIq yap tu'lu'be'
>>    Sufficient bloodwine does not exist.  (qep'a' 2014
>>    Secrecy Proverb)
>> --
>> Voragh
>> ______________________________________________
>> From: tlhIngan-Hol On Behalf Of De'vID
>> On Wed, 16 Feb 2022 at 13:41,
>> <luis.chaparro at web.de <mailto:luis.chaparro at web.de><mailto:luis.chaparro at web.de <mailto:luis.chaparro at web.de>>> wrote:
>> 'ewrop DIvI' 'oHtaH'a' 'ewrop DIvI''e'?
>>    [ ... ]
>> poH nI' bov chep wIyInpu' 'ewropngan.
>> As always, I would appreciate any help / correction in order to
>> improve my Klingon. I also have four short questions:
>> 3. Can we put other suffixes between *tu'* and *lu'* when meaning
>> *there is/are* like in *tu'choHlu'pu'*?
>> Yes. {tu'lu'} is just the verb {tu'} plus the suffix {-lu'}, and (if
>> it makes sense) verb suffixes can go in between. The only canon
>> example I found was {QuvlIjDaq tu'be'lu'jaj} which has the rover {-
>> be'} between them.
>>     [ … ]
>> Also, I'm not sure that you can {yIn} a {bov chep}. I think {SIQ} is
>> the right word, even though in English "endure" is usually used for
>> negative experiences. Or maybe one could use {tIv}, though I don't
>> know if Klingons would "enjoy" a prosperous era in the meaning of
>> {tIv}.
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