[tlhIngan Hol] How to say *Doctor Who*, *do*, restrictiveness of adjectives and some other short questions

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Fri Jul 22 07:36:53 PDT 2022

On 7/22/2022 7:43 AM, luis.chaparro at web.de wrote:
> qaStaHvIS jarmey vorgh, poH vItlh vIghajpu'be', 'ach tetlhvam QInmey Daj vIlaDtaH. DaH 'op poH vIghajqa' 'ej jIghel vIneH:
> 1. Is *vItlh* correct here?

Yes, although I don't know whether Klingons talk about "having" time. 
You might instead say *vItlhbe' poH*/the period of time was not a lot./ 
I'm not saying they don't way *poH ghaj;* just that I don't know if they do.

> 2. Aspect again: Are *vIghajpu'be'* and *vIlaDtaH* in this context correct? If I didn't want to present the action of reading as continuous, could I also have used *vIlaDpu'*?

I'd use *vIghaj* instead of *vIghajpu'.* You're not saying you performed 
an act of having and finished it. You're describing your state over a 
period of time. That calls for no perfective.

*vIlaDtaH* is fine here. "Continuous" doesn't necessarily mean the 
activity occupied every moment over the period of time. *jIlaDtaH* 
doesn't preclude the possibility of getting up for a snack and then 
going back to reading, for instance.

> 3. I want *tetlhvam QInmey Daj* to have a non-restrictive meaning, i.e. all messages are interesting and I've read them all. For a restrictive meaning I would have used a relative clause. Is this how it works in Klingon?

Verbs acting like adjectives can probably be interpreted as restrictive 
or non-restrictive depending on context. I don't know if anyone has 
surveyed all canonical examples of verbs acting like adjectives to 
determine if there is a pattern.

This is easy enough to clarify, however. *tetlhvam QInmey vIlaDtaH. 
Daj.*/I've been reading this list's messages. They were interesting./

> 4. Can *ghel* take an object, for example: *'op Dochmey vIghel vIneH*?


> 5. *'op Daq* = *some place*, *'op Daqmey* = *some places*, right?

No. *'op Daq* and *'op Daqmey *both mean /unspecified number of places./ 
I don't believe we've been told that *'op* does the same plural thing 
that *Hoch* does, and if it did, that's not what they would mean anyway. 
In English, /some place/ (or /someplace/) means "a place that is not 
clearly identified," while /some places/ means "unspecified number of 

> 6. I always forget to ask about it: How do you actually say in Klingon *do* in the sense of *What do you do at weekend* (asking for plans) or *Today I haven't do anything* (just relaxed)?

You pick a more specific verb. *ta' */accomplish/ is a common one for 
your examples: *ghInjaj jaj wa' je veb nuq Data'?*/What will you 
accomplish next Saturday and Sunday?/ *DaHjaj pagh vIta'pu'.* /I haven't 
accomplished anything today./

But there are other ways to translate /do/ that might be more 
appropriate in different senses.

> 7. Just out of curiosity: How would you say in Klingon *Doctor Who*? If we suppose that *Qel* could be something like a title and titles come in Klingon after the name, then we could say something like *'Iv Qel*. But then I realised that's an English thing, I mean, using *who* when asking for someone's name if you only know the title or a part of the whole name. In Spanish we use *who* (*quién*) when asking for people, but we use *what* (*qué*) when asking for the name in those situations (*¿El Doctor qué?*). So I just wanted to know if we have some information about who Klingons do that.

I've often wondered this myself. There are some difficulties here.

First, is the word *Qel* really appropriate? The Doctor isn't a 
physician, which is what I believe the word *Qel* refers to. He has a 
doctorate, or multiple doctorates. In early stories it was supposed that 
he had a PhD in everything, while later there is some indication that he 
(barely) received a doctorate from the Time Lords when he attended the 
Prydonian academy. Modern /Doctor Who/ plays on the physician idea of 
the word in the sense that they call him a "doctor of war" — that is, he 
fixes things when things go bad — but I find this bit of retroactive 
continuity silly. So I honestly don't think *Qel* is the right word for 

Also, in the world of /Doctor Who,/ the Doctor's name isn't "Doctor 
Who." His name is never spoken; he is simply known by his title, 
"Doctor." So there's little point in deciding whether the word *Qel* (or 
whatever substitute you use) acts as a title or not, because it'll never 
be attached to anything.

In the real world, the title /Doctor Who/ is actually a verbless 
question: "Doctor Who?" It's a fill-in-the-blank that basically means 
the same as "What is the Doctor's name?" But the question *'Iv Qel?* 
means /Who is the Doctor?/ Not quite the same thing.

So, unfortunately, translating /Doctor Who/ is a mess.

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