[tlhIngan Hol] Klingon Word of the Day: lo'laHbe'

De'vID de.vid.jonpin at gmail.com
Wed Jun 1 05:02:46 PDT 2022

On Tue, 31 May 2022 at 16:43, Steven Boozer <sboozer at uchicago.edu> wrote:

> SEE:
> lo'             use,  worth,  mode (n)
> lo'             use,  make use of (v)
> lo'Ha'                  waste (v)

These seem to include definitions which are not "canon". The noun {lo'} is
defined in the Addendum to TKD as "use". The "mode" definition comes from a
message to this mailing list on 2018-02-17:

But where is "worth" from?

I don't think {lo'Ha'} means "waste" but rather "misuse". {HoS lI'
Dalo'Ha'chu'} only means "You are a total waste of good energy" because of
the suffix {-chu'}. A more literal translation would be "you perfectly
misuse useful energy".

> vIlo'laHbe'
> They are useless to me.
> I cannot use them. TKD
> leghlaHchu'be'chugh mIn lo'laHbe' taj jej
> A sharp knife is nothing without a sharp eye. TKW
> lo'laHbe'; chetvI' chIm rur
> worthless as an empty torpedo tube KGT

> lo'laH                  be valuable (v)
> lo'laHghach     value (n)
> lo'laHbe'ghach          worthlessness (n)

In Section 4.2.9 of the Addendum to TKD, it's clearly implied that {lo'laH}
is constructed from {lo'}:
    {lo'} <use> (noun) ({lo'} <use, make use of>)
    {lo'laHghach} <value> ({lo'laH} <be valuable>)
    {lo'laHbe'ghach} <worthlessness> ({lo'laHbe'} <be worthless>)

He somewhat contradicts this in a message to the startrek.klingon newsgroup
on 1998-02-23:
<On the other hand, you're right about {lo'laH} "be valuable." It is a
simple verb in its own right (though it's an unusual two-syllable one), not
the verb lo' "use" plus Type 5 suffix -laH "can."  It is likely that there
is some sort of historical connection to the verb + suffix form, but, if
so, it is just that -- historical.>

The note about the historical connection might've been there to justify the
mention of {lo'} in TKDA 4.2.9. He was replying to someone (named Neal)
who'd primed him with this question: <Are entries in the dictionaries which
are verbs with an attached suffix, such as <chenmoH> "create (v)" and
<ja'chuq> "discuss (v)", words in themselves? Or are they merely examples
of usage, as I suspect? (With the exception of <lo'laH>.)> So the question
he was answering already contained the implication that {lo'laH} was a
single word.

My own pet theory about this is that when Dr. Okrand was writing the
Addendum, he confused himself when he looked at {vIlo'laHbe'} "They are
useless to me" and mistook {lo'laHbe'} to mean "be useless". He might've
mixed up {lo'} and {lI'}, because {lI'laHbe'} means "cannot be used", which
*would* basically mean "be worthless". Obviously, once the 2nd edition of
TKD came out, people noticed that {lo'} + {-laH} does not make "be
valuable", and he had to retroactively declare {lo'laH} to be a simple verb.

Will Martin told this story (in a message to this mailing list dated
<I don't remember the setting. Likely others were present. Okrand told the
story of how {lo'laH} became a separate verb from {lo+laH}, meaning "be
valuable" instead of "He can use it". He said that he found that he had
used it adjectivally, and given the choice between allowing all adjectives
to use {-laH} or making {lo'laH} a separate root verb, he chose the latter.
He didn't mention where he had used {lo'laH} adjectivally. It could have,
theoretically, been in a line in a movie that was cut, or otherwise been
something he had done that never made it to publication. I don't know. But
it was something that he considered to be something that, at the time, he
couldn't be rid of.>

(Was anyone else present who recalls the setting?)

In any case, Dr. Okrand subsequently used {lo'laHbe'} with the "be
worthless" meaning in the sentences from TKD and KGT quoted above.

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