[tlhIngan Hol] {je} "too" with doubly {-bogh}'ed nouns

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Thu Jun 2 07:58:33 PDT 2022

On 6/2/2022 10:16 AM, Will Martin wrote:
> In elementary school, I was taught that “A sentence is a group of 
> words representing a complete thought.”
> Note: That was complete bullshit. The boundaries of a sentence are 
> arbitrary, and depending on the thought, an entire multi-volume book 
> might be required to represent it, or one sentence might convey a 
> bunch of complete thoughts. I mean, what is a complete thought, anyway?

Here we go again with the effing /arbitrary/ thing again. The boundaries 
of a sentence are not arbitrary; writers and linguists have been 
perfecting the ideas and techniques of writing for millennia. I 
mentioned your ideas about what the word /arbitrary/ means to a bunch of 
English lit types, and they thought you were nuts.

"A sentence is a group of words representing a complete thought" is not 
the full picture, but it isn't complete bullshit, either. It is a good 
starting point for writing. A complex sentence may represent a complex 
thought, full of subtlety and conditions, but it's all still tied 
together as a unit. A "single thought" may contain multiple distinct 

You wanna see a complex sentence that is, in fact, a single thought? 
Here's the first line to /The War of the Worlds:/

    No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth
    century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by
    intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that
    as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were
    scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a
    microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and
    multiply in a drop of water.

What's the complete thought? It is it is unbelievable that our world 
could be watched by an intelligence more advanced than ours. It 
describes the detachment with which we were being watched, when we were 
being watched, sets up mankind as someone who also watches lesser 
beings. All of the details are in support of the thought. That's why 
it's "complete."

Can writers do a poor job of this? Sure. What you learned in school was 
not just linguistics; it was a simplified guide to writing /good/ English.

In Klingon, the situation is rather different. We can't pile on so many 
clauses and still claim to be writing good Klingon. But if we're 
translating /The War of the Worlds/ or other texts contemporary with it, 
when it was popular to build very long sentences in English, we must not 
only translate ideas, but we must also change the complete thoughts of 
the English into smaller thoughts in Klingon. And if we wish to preserve 
the point of the text, we must fine a way to tie those smaller Klingon 
thoughts together in ways that go beyond simple translation. I've had a 
go at translating this line into Klingon, and while I can translate 
individual concepts into Klingon sentences, making sure they all tie 
together to /mean/ the same thing as the original is quite a different 

Good Klingon is structured very differently than good English. That 
doesn't make structure arbitrary; it makes it language-specific.

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